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.
And 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.
Republicans 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:
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.