Oklah. GOP Senator takes own constituents hostage, demands budget cuts or no tornado aid

You have to give Oklahoma Republican US Senator Tom Coburn high marks for consistency, if not compassion.

In the face of a major tornado disaster in his home state, that has taken the lives of 24 Oklahomans, including at least 9 children in a devastated elementary school, Coburn says he won’t support disaster relief for his home state unless the budget is cut elsewhere.

Yes, Coburn is taking his own constituents hostage as budget-cutting human shields.

It’s not the first time Coburn has taken hostages. Last winter, Coburn joined Oklahoma’s other far-right GOP Senator, Jim Inhofe, in voting against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

Tom-Coburn-tornado-aidAnd in repeated budget stand-offs with the President the Republican party has routinely taken unemployed Americans, and the credit worthiness of the entire United States (and thus the entire US and world economy), hostage as a bargaining chip for the Tea Party ideologues that now control the GOP.

I suppose one could try to argue that Coburn’s cold-hearted ideological consistency in the face of 9 dead children is refreshing. But I’d call it heartless.  And it’s systematic of the larger problem the Republican party is having at the national level.  They just don’t like people.  And it’s starting to show.

One thing is clear, this isn’t about the deficit.  How many Republicans asked for our wars to be paid for up front?  Show of hands, don’t be shy.

oklahoma-tornado-7Republicans don’t really care about spending money like a (or for a) drunken sailor, so long as it’s for tax cuts and the Defense Department.  Then after their years of massive spending bankrupt us – like Reagan did, and then Bush II – suddenly the Republicans are deficit hawks, asking us to cut all of our programs while leaving theirs in tact.

So while I can appreciate Coburn claiming that the deficit is a problem, it would come across as more sincere if his party hadn’t caused the deficit in the first place.  I’d have gladly not invaded Iraq if it would have meant saving a trillion dollars right off the top, and possibly a few trillion more down the road when we factor in the overall impact on the economy (according to Joe Stiglitz).

We wouldn’t need to be holding a back sale every time Mother Nature hiccuped (and we can thank the Republicans for their climate change trutherism as well)  if the Republicans would stop spending a trillion on this war and another trillion on that tax cut.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that 71% of the national debt happened under Republican presidents.  The NYT has a wonderful chart making it crystal clear just how much damage the Republicans have caused to the deficit – note how much damage George W. Bush caused all by his lonesome:

Source: NYT

Source: NYT

So as far as I’m concerned, if GOP Senators want to hold hostage tornado aid for Oklahoma and Kansas (the other state hit by the tornadoes), two red states that voted for Mitt Romney in November, they’re certainly welcome to try.

But I’d challenge Senators Coburn and Inhofe to tell these people they’re not worth it, then see how long they remain in office.



Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • ThinkingIsGoodForYou

    Fuzzy math (they didn’t count the wars in the budget, remember? remember all those “emergency spending bills”?) + the near-depression economy caused by Bush II + failure to address the near-depression economy with an adequate stimulus (partly Obama’s and Dems fault for rolling over too easily, but mostly due to republicans and DINOs in Congress). Also, there was a projected budget surplus when Bush II came in, remember? So if he put us 9T in the hole; even if you erroneously give Obama all the blame for the next 8T of debt, Bush II still owns the larger piece.

  • I will say if Coburn did not have a good reason for this then that makes him an ass but I stand by my previous statement about GOP as a whole.

  • The National Debt was $9 trillion when Bush left.. It is $17 trillion now.. how again is this the republicans fault? Obama is Mr Tax and Spend and Republicans are Cut taxes and slow spending? Where do you get your information from?

  • OK Coburn.. Lets cut the massively profitable Oil and Gas subsidies as a start? Then trim the gluttonous defense budget. We don’t need more tanks and outdated fighter jets.

  • samizdat

    Yep, they’ll send him back, for many of the reasons BeccaM laid out previously, and more.

  • All I can say is that if the people of Ok vote Coburn in again as Senator, after his rejection of aid for the people of Moore, then he is the true Representative of Ok, and I won’t argue the point because they voted him in..I can’t believe this. And these are the type of Republicans who want to cut entitlements.. With their attitude I can see why they (FDA) open a Horse slaughterhouse in NM, so all Americans can/will have the option of cheap horse meat, which in their small minds will brings down the CPI..That’s the Republican thinking nowadays.

  • nicydunegev

    мy rooмαтe’ѕ ѕιѕтer мαĸeѕ $86/нr oɴ тнe ιɴтerɴeт. ѕнe нαѕ вeeɴ oυт oғ α joв ғor ѕeveɴ мoɴтнѕ вυт lαѕт мoɴтн нer pαycнecĸ wαѕ $14420 jυѕт worĸιɴɢ oɴ тнe ιɴтerɴeт ғor α ғew нoυrѕ. reαd мore oɴ тнιѕ weв ѕιтe Zap2­2­.c­o&shym&shy

  • No, they can’t and nor should they…We’re all in this together..

  • podon

    “We’ve got each other”: who is the “we” here? And are the “we” going to pay to rebuild the houses and businesses and lives. The real “we” are all of us, Americans: some of my tax dollars are helping to pay for relief in OK, and that’s just fine with me. I certainly do not begrudge it to the victims of a disaster–fellow Americans–like this one. Why would Oklahomans begrudge it to each other? It’s called the United States of America for a reason.

  • Zachary Smith

    My exact thoughts. Betcha both of those dingleberries are reelected if they run again.

  • condew

    Let Republicans handle the aid all by themselves, Democrats should just not let them trash Progressive programs to do it. The show should help unmask Republicans for the heartless creeps they are as they delay and try to steal money from other people whop need aid.

  • condew

    Coburn is betting he’ll get the aid because others will push it thru for him. I hope Democrats in office just sit on their hands when it comes to a vote and make Republicans push it thru with just Republican votes. Or not.

  • Yep

  • silas1898

    That was just the excuse. He really didn’t like how the Nazi’s were portrayed.

  • bob bear

    19 of the top 20 debtor states in America are Red Republican states!

  • bob bear

    You got to be looking in the mirror when saying idiotic with over 500,000 Oklahomans are on Federal assistance, you might as well say good bye to your state without the Fed!

  • bob bear

    More likely Obama used his Tornado machine!-))

  • bob bear

    They’re all the same, the South is full of Republican Governors who take Federal money in one hand, and give you the finger with the other!

  • bob bear

    Because the one common denominator these groups have on the Right is hate!

  • bob bear

    Well right winger, we all know your types have no clue about economics after blowing trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan!

  • bob bear

    If the citizens of Oklahoma suffer because these 2 right wing nuts are their Senators, they need to blame themselves, they voted them in!

  • Mike Smith

    That’s OK with me. Let’s not send any federal aid and let the good people of OK help themselves. They have each other and they have their well paid senators that they voted into office. Good luck with the the clean up.

    BTW (that stands for “by the way” since you seem to be a little slow when it comes to abbreviations) maybe the state of OK is not fit for human habitation at all, given the frequency of tornadoes in the state. Floydareturbo, you should consider starting a movement to relocate the entire human population of OK to another state – maybe someplace that is more nurturing to human life. Given that OK is a vast, empty, desolate wasteland, maybe God created OK for tumbleweed to exist, not people.

  • Coburn insists we have to cut one place to pay for Oklahoma disaster relief funds? Okay, let’s cut the defense budget. I’m sure there’s plenty of pork in its $700billion-plus budget.

  • ComradeRutherford

    There is no need to cut the budget anywhere else. The deficit has been dropping like a rock and should no longer be a motivation for enforced impoverishment.

    Senators Coburn and Inhofe need to be told in no uncertain terms that, “No, there will NO cuts elsewhere in the budget. You will simply have to vote against your own constituents.”

  • B.L.

    Coburn is right, Oklahoman’s can take care of our own without the Federal Socialist police powers.

  • dcinsider

    Yes, very odd indeed.

  • As far as I’m concerned, agitating for secession and seditious violence is treason.

  • ckg1

    They’ll probably re-elect him when his latest term runs out.

  • ckg1

    And you wouldn’t be wasting your time writing shitty takes on this blog. Oh, I’m sorry….LACK of shitty takes.

    BEGONE. RedState needs their village idiot back.

  • Naja pallida

    Not only did the people of West in interviews say they didn’t want federal aid, they also said they didn’t want federal regulations to prevent such disasters from happening again. Though, who knows how much those interviews were cherrypicked, but still. The idea that anyone thinks it is perfectly fine for a town to be leveled by what is most likely corporate negligence, because government is inherantly evil…

  • KingCranky

    It’s past infuriating when Capitol Hill legislators play pure politics with disaster relief.

    I live here in Texas, El Paso-a very blue enclave in a very red state-and we had flooding here back in 2006. Luckily, there were few-if any-deaths related to it, but the damage, the ruined family possessions left on corners & curbs for trash removal, was heartbreaking.

    I fully understand the fury at Senators like Coburn, but not everyone affected by the Oklahoma tornado yesterday voted for Coburn the last time he ran, those people shouldn’t have to be collateral damage in an attempt to hurt vile politicians who represent their state.

    Denying disaster relief to an area because we don’t like its politicians is just begging for a karmic payback.

    One other note about Coburn, back in 1997 he blasted NBC for running “Schindler’s List” during prime time, he felt the nudity reflected a sexual context.

    Lawmaker Criticizes “Schindler’s List”

    Unreal, to rip on that movie, for those reasons, shows a very unhealthy mindset.

  • Naja pallida

    Retiring… sated on the government teat, and slinking off to become a lobbyist… same diff.

  • BillFromDover

    Perhaps, ya can inform us hoi polli what is wrong with this graph?

    Did ya see where the source is the Dept of the Treasury.? What do they know about anything… right?

    Oh, and what does simply pointing out how the national debt was acquired have to do with needing to have a PHD in economics?

    Surely, ya jest?

  • Well, apparently there was a closeted gay minister living in Moor, whose closet of size 54 evening wear was found in the ruins of the school with his name in sewn on the labels.and that’s why Pat hates Oklahoma.

  • What happened? Did a house land on you?

  • de Tocqueville was right.

  • I guess you grumped that right out oft the park Grumperson.

  • “who just don’t believe in America as a country” Bingo! At some point they will cross over from free speech and opinion into treason.

  • BillFromDover

    Yeah, lets take another however many billions outta SNAP programs that feed the poor and hungry children so we can get the banks and big business back up and running in Moore ASAP.

    Better yet, why not just steal whatever funds are still left over helping the victims of Sandy, after all, aren’t we talkin’ Red need vs Blue need here?

    I can see being a fiscal hawk, but what do these guys have flowing through their veins, if anything?

    Then again, to take any other stance would open one to being named the biggest hypocrite in the history of forever, and first and foremost, are these slugs not politicians?

  • Rrhain

    That which is offered without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    You’re simply wrong.

  • Ford Prefect

    Agree. I didn’t really want to go there, but we can narrow it down even further to “poor people of color.” Also too, northerners, easterners, liberals and so on.

    Coburn is merely confirming the worldview of his polity. Others will say the exact same thing, for the same reasons. They can’t even ask for help without couching it in terms of their hatred for others. Nice people!

  • Justin

    Shitty biased article backed up by biased NYT graphs.. If you understood economics in even a basic way you would not be writing such worthless things.. At least you didn’t waste good paper.

  • Thanks. Also, it’s not just “someone else” going hungry or doing without. Their regressive leaders have convinced them that these “someones” are undeserving. That it’s the fine, upstanding and responsible Americans who are having their money stolen through taxes which are redistributed to lazy, dependent others.

    Romney made his 47% comment to a room full of plutocrats, but most of the Fox-watchers also believe it.

  • Ford Prefect

    Spot on:

    What he wants and needs is that disaster aid AND to keep throwing red meat to his base, which includes making sure other Americans have to sacrifice just so his state’s citizens can keep sucking down far more in per capita federal aid than the blue states.

    Precisely. They always say that. It always upsets “liberals” while it pleases RWers no end. They don’t merely want to be fed. They want to make sure someone else goes hungry in the process. Okies like this, which is why they keep voting for people like Coburn, et al. They get aid AND they still get to wage kulturkampf in the process. It’s a two-fer.

  • Here’s the thing — and bear with me, because it’s complicated.

    Coburn and his ilk were firmly against federal disaster aid when it went mainly to Blue states, esp. after Sandy. They said it was ‘fiscal discipline’ and all that, but we know it’s BS whenever it’s some spending priority of theirs. They’re still arguing for tax cuts and for spending increases in Defense, as well as holding the line on every single corporate subsidy. They weren’t just asking for off-sets for disaster aid, they called into question whether FEMA itself should even exist.

    In past years, their hypocrisy has long since been pointed out in how after the droughts, wildfires, derecho storms, and now these yearly super tornado swarms, they were usually right there with hat in hand.

    Let’s be clear here: Coburn isn’t asking the gov’t to forgo disaster aid to OK. He’s asking that other people’s programs be cut to pay for it. Moreover, he knows damned well his state is going to get the aid regardless because of us Americans are still compassionate people.

    What he wants and needs is that disaster aid AND to keep throwing red meat to his base, which includes making sure other Americans have to sacrifice just so his state’s citizens can keep sucking down far more in per capita federal aid than the blue states.

    Anyway, the real problem we have here is increasing numbers of regressives (I’ve stopped calling them ‘conservatives’ because they actually want to go back to the Robber Baron days, some of them to pre-Enlightenment social sensibilities) who just don’t believe in America as a country where we pull together when we need to, where we help each other when times are rough, regardless why or how.

  • dcinsider

    Good point. Though fertilizer is natural.

  • Serena

    GOP Koolaid.

  • Serena

    Too bad they can’t. He’s retiring after this term.

  • Bingo.

  • FLL

    Sadly, you’re probably right. But it will be an eye opener for voters in other parts of the country to watch Republican senators and congressmen from Oklahoma throw their own neighbors under the bus.

  • Ford Prefect

    Tom Coburn demanding someone else “lose” so Okies can “win” resources is precisely what Oklahomans elected him to do. I’m sure his constituents are quite happy with his remarks, since he’s only validating their world-view.

    Yes, they want aid. And YES, they want that aid to result from making someone else’s kids go hungry. Coburn wouldn’t have said it if he thought it would be unpopular.

  • Krusher

    And apparently he’s not running for re-election. He says he’s retiring in 2016, according to WaPo.

  • Krusher

    Not going to happen.

  • Nate

    Yeah, but people are suffering and need help. Be better than Coburn but don’t let him forget it.

  • FLL

    I’m excited at the possibility that their constituents will wise up.

  • Nate

    You’re right. I stand corrected. Appears I overestimated him.

    Fire away. Rat bastard is too kind.

  • NorthAlabama

    my heart goes out to the victims of the OK tornados, and they should be eligible for any assistance the federal government can provide.

    that said, i must say i’m excited at the possibility that republicans will vote against relief for their own constituents following a natural disaster. that would be fun to watch as it plays out.

  • Oklahoma’s not the worst in this regard by far but they do suck up more federal money than they give back, $376 per capita according to Wikipedia. But that’s about usual for a Republican state isn’t it?

  • Tfill

    Actually the West, TX explosion was not a natural disaster, so am not sure they are eligible to get federal aide.
    Hope OK continues to find everyone. Glad the Red Cross is on site! Repub/baggers are heartless.

  • Grumpy Mc Grumperson

    These Oklahomans are now in the Professional Victim class. All they ever think about is themselves. And Obama called it a storm when everyone knows it was a tornado. Why is he trying to cover this up? Because he staged it to divert America’s attention away from the scandal dejour.

  • FLL

    This is one of the strangest, saddest stories I have seen yet. Since the days of the Roman Empire, disaster relief has been an expected function of government. Was Alexis de Tocqueville right when he said that people get the government they deserve? Do they get the congressmen they deserve? Who are these people? I looked at a map, and the town hardest hit by the monster tornado, Moore, is the large suburb on the southern edge of Oklahoma City. Moore is perhaps 15 miles from Edmond, which is the large suburb on the northern edge of Oklahoma City, the suburb where Anita Bryant still lives peacefully and runs Anita Bryant Ministries International, which has offered “deprogramming” for gay people. She lives there in Edmond peacefully, to this very day. And Senator Coburn holds his own neighbors hostage for his political agenda. Who are these people? Was de Tocqueville right after all?

  • samizdat

    Can I say it? Pleeeeeeese?

    This guy is a Class A, top notch,
    first rate D-I-C-K. Is there any way humans could be reduced to their
    constituent DNA, ‘cos Coburn doesn’t deserve his anymore. His
    constituents need to tar and feather this carpetbagging corporate tool.

  • KingCranky

    From Politico, which includes a statement from Coburn’s office.

    Tom Coburn wants offsets for Okla. aid

    Coburn is an absolute Rat Bastard.

  • KingCranky

    Coburn’s not leading by example, otherwise he’d eliminate, immediately, his own government paycheck and overly-generous congressional perks, involuntarily subsidized by the taxpayers.

    I notice he’s not screeching this “offset” crap in front of any actual victims in Moore and Oklahoma City, what a surprise.

    And great online ID, Johnny Carson’s tea party wingnut character. Here’s a clue, people laughed at, not with, Floyd R. Turbo.

  • MooseKnuckle72

    Maybe Coburn and Inhofe will graciously donate their annual salaries then to help compensate the government for the burden of helping the disaster victims.

  • nicho

    Drink your tea.

  • KingCranky

    Starting with all government salaries and congressional perks for Sens. Coburn, Inhofe, and their staffers.

    If Coburn and Inhofe don’t lead by example and immediately give up their paychecks and benefits, then they’re not serious, in the least, about reducing what they’d call “out of control government spending”.

  • samNH

    Or hold a bake sale.

  • Nate

    I’m as generally disgusted with Sen. Coburn as the next progressive, but where is the quote of him saying aid for *this particular disaster* should be offset? I’m not seeing it here and I haven’t seen it anywhere else, either.

    If his record is any indication he will gladly accept federal aid for this tornado, but continue to demagogue on other disasters. That hypocrisy is awful, but that’s a completely different issue from hanging his own constituents out to dry.

  • Jim Olson

    Fine. Take him up on it. NOT ONE PENNY IN FEDERAL AID. Let’s see how quickly he gets reelected.

  • It’s also “BTW” with no lower case.

  • floydareturbo

    A friend sent me your idiotic ravings. They are that. Sen. Coburn knows better than anyone that if the Federal gov’t sent a billion dollars, a few million would actually reach victims. The rest is siphoned off by bureaucrats and political cronies. Stick your federal aid. We’ve got each other and we’ve got Senator Coburn’s back in Oklahoma. Btw, proper state abbreviations aren’t that hard. It’s OK or Okla.

  • smkngman3

    I’m waiting for Pat Robertson to explain why God hates Oklahoma.

    “It may be a blessing in disguise. … Something happened a long time
    ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were
    originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third,
    or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They
    said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True
    story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal. Ever since they have
    been cursed by one thing after the other.” –Pat Robertson, on the
    earthquake in Haiti that destroyed the capital and killed tens of
    thousands of people, Jan. 13, 2010

  • Brian shaw

    I would modify that to “money is only for important people”

  • Hey, they voted for that asshat!

  • Unfortunately I’m sure that these idiots don’t regard these doings as hypocritical. Moaning that the government is stealing all MA TAX DOLLARS doesn’t mean that you can’t scam the system out of some money yourself. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s about getting some of your own back–that, I fear, is how it’s justified.

  • ComradeAnon

    Here’s a very simple solution; Just reduce future Federal funding to Oklahoma by the amount of disaster aid they get.

  • Sean

    More evidence that there really is nothing human about the Reichpublican party. No decent humanity anyway. The people of Oklahoma paid taxes, now they need it back. Give it to them or don’t tax them ever again. I am sure Sen. Coburn still enjoys receiving his tax payer subsidized pay check and benefits, repulsive leech.

  • dcinsider

    The people of OK can decide this one. If they are OK with the federal govmint leaving them alone after a natural disaster, and count on the kindness of strangers to provide aid, that is their choice. I hear that folks in the TX town that got flattened in the explosion prefer no federal government aid. However, if they believe that in a time of crisis, the American people, through our government should care for the victims of such horrible events, then they can call Senator Coburn and express their concerns.

    It’s their call. Either the federal government ain’t so bad after all, or they can take their chances with private aid and church based relief.

    Either way, my heart aches for them all.

  • A_nonymoose

    Part of me just wants to say, “fine, have it your way”, and let Oklahoma sort this out by themselves. You voted for these pricks, now live with it.

  • UncleBucky


    I knew it. ;o)

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Yes, they have their heads up their butts, so to speak. Ideology instead of function.

  • I guess not! At any rate they seem to care remarkably little about the effects their proposed legislation and policies will have on actual citizens. It’s all about posturing and histrionics without any concern for actual governance.

  • iamlegion

    “Money is More Important Than People”
    Republican Party Motto.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Actually, yes, they do. They don’t have a soul.

  • Oh for crying out loud–do the Republicans always have to act like a bunch of petty, vindictive children? Does every issue of policy have to be turned into an opportunity for some mean-spirited, grandstanding stunt.

  • sonoitabear

    Didn’t you know? Obama had the CIA and Pentagon turn on the secret weather-control system to create these tornadoes as a distraction from the “Worse Than Watergate/Worst Scandals In History” going on in Washington right now… Alex Jones said so; or will say so at some point…

  • Indigo

    Throw the bums out!

  • MyrddinWilt

    What these clowns will do is obstruct the bills granting emergency relief then claim credit for passing them.

  • Maybe he’s just saying ‘offset’ to save face. It’s OK though because two faces.

  • txiconoclast

    Somehow I have a feeling this tornado aid is going to be linked to Benghazi. I’m just waiting for the press release from Issa’s committee that they’re investigating the sudden appearance of tornadoes in relation to secret Benghazi documents.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    On the bright side, at least they’re consistent.

    Sadly, their constituents will not realize that these asshats are screwing them over and will vote for them again and again and again.

  • Leota2

    Basically these men are bastards. Supposed “christian” bastards.

  • Jackbutler5555

    “Tom Coburn (R-OK): Requested disaster aid after winter storms and for extreme drought. James Inhofe (R-OK): Boasted of obtaining disaster relief after severe storms and drought.”


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