The obvious election-year theatrics of Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe were pretty much expected, but fulfilling low expectations doesn’t make it right.
Both Republicans, of course, don’t face reelection this year—Coburn has even indicated he won’t run again—and Oklahoma is about as sure to choose Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama as any state in the nation, but that hasn’t stopped them from using their offices recently to score GOP political points.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with supporting the presidential candidate of your own party, but when it’s done under the guise of official U.S. Senate business, well, it’s ugly and a waste of taxpayer money. Don’t expect the conservative corporate media here to do anything but praise the two Senators and ignore the fact they aren’t actually doing anything productive.
Recently, it was Coburn’s time to pretend he was actually doing something when he wasn’t. Coburn recently and rather dramatically lamented on the Senate floor:
America deserves better. It deserves better leadership. It deserves leadership based on bringing this country together rather than dividing this country. Not having a fiscal plan to solve the greatest issues in front of our country is an absolute failure of leadership. Where is the Senate majority leader's, where is the President's plan to solve our problems?
Of course, this is what Coburn probably hopes will be perceived as a bipartisan statement when in fact, it criticizes two Democrats—U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and Obama—for a “failure of leadership” and never mentions Republicans’ failure to compromise on legislation or their open-ended effort to oppose anything proposed by the president.
Coburn’s language not only seems numbingly shallow, it also only solidifies the partisan gridlock. It’s sheer political hyperbole, and its intent is to only increase votes for GOP candidates this election year.
The statement can be found on Coburn’s official web site. Ironically, right beneath it is a press release that explains why Coburn opposed a veterans jobs bill. Coburn’s rambling statement on the Senate floor included this typical GOP “wisdom”:
And are we really thinking about veterans when we don't solve the bigger problems, and we have manifest presence in this bill of the very problems we say we need to be addressing but yet we're making them worse with this bill? We're making the financial problems worse with this bill.
In other words, Coburn fails to connect with the personal job problems faced by veterans throughout the country, and he turns the issue into a GOP political harangue. Here’s something the Senate could actually pass without controversy, but Coburn won’t have any of it.
Then there was this from Coburn:
So on Monday mornings when I get to catch a flight to come back up here, I've noticed that I have an attitude problem. I don't want to come anymore. And the reason I don't want come anymore is because we're not doing anything to address the real problems that are in front of our country.
It’s all about poor Coburn, who doesn’t even want to come to work anymore because not enough senators want to do crazy with him. At least he HAS a job? What about the veterans? Again, Coburn turns a simple measure to help people get jobs into one of his Grand Political Statements. He helps block a non-controversial bill, and then later criticizes Democrats for “failure of leadership,” but he’s the one who isn’t doing anything but making political points. He’s the problem, not Reid or Obama.
Meanwhile, as I pointed out, Inhofe had a week of “crazy” recently that included criticizing Obama’s policies of “appeasement and apology” for recent protests in the Middle East, suggesting the president should cut off aid to Egypt if it didn’t provide our embassy protection and then, in a complete contradiction, criticizing Obama again for not recognizing Egypt as a strong ally.
Inhofe’s official statements and contradictions were obvious political tracts for the GOP, but the problem here is that he could do more harm than good for Republicans outside of Oklahoma and other red states. In Massachusetts, Inhofe was used by Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren as an example of why GOP-control of that political body would be a disaster. Warren is running against Republican incumbent Scott Brown. In a debate with Brown, Warren said:
Sen. Brown has been going around the country, talking to people, saying, you’ve got to contribute to his campaign because it may be for the control of the Senate. And he’s right. … What that would mean is if the Republicans take over control of the Senate, Jim Inhofe would become the person who would be in charge of the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s a man that has called global warming ‘a hoax.’ In fact, that’s the title of his book.
Inhofe is world famous and a lightning rod for his denial of the accepted science of global warming and overall climate change. As the Red, Green and Blue blog pointed out, “The Massachusetts Senate race has just become a battleground in the fight against climate change,” and it’s all about Inhofe, a role I’m sure he’ll gladly accept given his track record.
Don’t be fooled by the editorial page of The Oklahoman, Inhofe and Coburn are doing nothing right now but using their offices to support Romney and other GOP candidates whether these candidates like it or not. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it needs to be openly stated because of the adoration Inhofe and Coburn receive from the corporate media here.
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