GOP senator warns of ‘anarchy’ and ‘violence’

While the Senate debates the bipartisan budget plan, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime deficit hawk, outlines his annual Wastebook which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending,  Dec. 17, 2013.
While the Senate debates the bipartisan budget plan, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime deficit hawk, outlines his annual Wastebook which points a critical finger at billions of dollars in questionable government spending, Dec. 17, 2013 | J. Scott Applewhite/AP

MSNBC – Rachel Maddow Blog

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele appeared on MSNBC yesterday, and when host Alex Wagner asked what kind of advice he’d give his party’s leaders in Congress, Steele offered some sound advice. “The first would be, ‘Get a grip,’” he said.
Steele’s comments came to mind after reading this report published last night by USA Today.
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.
“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see – hopefully not – but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”
The far-right senator went on to say, “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president … then why should it apply to me?”
It’s hard to know what to make of such an odd perspective. If Coburn is correct, why weren’t there similar outbursts of anarchy and violence when Presidents Reagan and Bush took very similar executive actions? If the masses are so deeply concerned about separation of powers and the often-ambiguous lines surrounding executive authority, wouldn’t we have seen instances of pandemonium before?
As a practical matter, I’m not even sure how this would work. The Obama administration has limited resources, so it appears likely to prioritize deportations for criminals who entered the country illegally. So, in Coburn’s vision, anti-immigrant activists will become violent, perhaps literally rioting in the street, until more unobtrusive families are broken up?
Brian Beutler reminded Republicans overnight that “just because right-wingers are blind with rage doesn’t mean Obama’s immigration action is illegal.”
It turns out that the laws on the books actually don’t say what you might think they say. Other presidents have discovered this, too. And since nobody wants to write a “maybe I should’ve asked some lawyers first” mea culpa column, they shifted the debate from the terrain of laws to the murkier terrain of political precedent, norms, and procedure. […]
What’s new is that Republicans have perfected a strategy of rejectionism with the help of a media amplification infrastructure—Fox News, Drudge, Limbaugh—that the left hasn’t adopted and doesn’t yet enjoy. Rather than simply fight to reverse the policy in Congress and on the campaign trail—as liberals do when Republicans weaken environmental enforcement—the right can also now scream “Caesar!” without reference to any objective standards, and get a full hearing.
“Get a grip,” indeed.

Coburn Suggests Taking Care of The ‘Frail Elderly’ Is Unconstitutional Because ‘That’s A Family Responsibility’

Sometimes the GOP’s myopia on what’s happening outside of their millionaire lives is so frustrating that one wonders how Washington gets anything done.  They must know that it can’t be all about them and their billionaire corporate buddies…or do they?

Think Progress

Last week, ThinkProgress reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. Turns out, he’s not he only one. At a town hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appeared to embrace Perry’s claim that providing for America’s seniors is unconstitutional:

QUESTION: With more and more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the horizon, I’m really worried about protecting our frail elderly in the Medicare and Medicaid facilities. So I would like to know how Congress proposes to balance the budget and still make sure our frail elderly in these facilities are protected and have trained care staff.

COBURN: That’s a great question. The first question I have for you is if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.

Watch it:

The answer to Coburn’s first question is Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.

While Coburn’s first question reveals his need to actually read the Constitution before he pretends to know what’s in it, his second question betrays his utter disconnect from the reality ordinary American families face. The annual cost of nursing home care in Tulsa is $47,815.00. So Coburn apparently thinks that it is a family’s responsibility to either wipe out their savings or face crippling debt in order to ensure that their parents and grandparents are cared for.

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Sen. Tom Coburn Tells Town Hall: “Don’t Catch Yourself Being Biased By Fox News”

Could this be a sign of things to come from some moderate Republicans?  Are they tired of the hardline and divisive politics that has plagued our country since the election of Barack Obama?   I suppose time will tell, but I’m feeling rather optimistic after reading about Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) response to some town hall questions and demonstrations of angst.

Here is the audio:  

News Hounds   –We watch FOX so you don’t have to:

Color us surprised.  Senator Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate, has publicly knocked Fox News and told his constituents at a Town Hall meeting not to believe everything they see or hear on the “fair and balanced” network. It was part of an effort to tamp down angry rhetoric at a town hall meeting. I think Coburn deserves our kudos for it.

As CBS News reported, Coburn defended Nancy Pelosi from an angry Town Hall attendee by saying,

“I’m 180 degrees in opposition to the speaker — she’s a nice lady,” he said. The crowd could be heard responding unfavorably to his characterization.  “Come on now, she is a nice — how many of you all have met her?” continued Coburn. “She’s a nice person. She’s a nice person.”

“Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re not a good person.”

CBS also reported,

Coburn suggested that a woman who said “they can put us in prison” for not obtaining health insurance under the health care reform bill is misinformed.  “The intention is not to put anybody in jail,” he said. “That makes for good TV news on Fox but that isn’t the intention.”

 Politico reported,

“What we have to have is make sure we have a debate in this country so that you can see what’s going on and make a determination yourself,” Coburn added and then again warned the crowd against the myths perpetrated by Fox News. “So don’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don’t know what they don’t know,” Coburn said.

 Please consider thanking Coburn for being responsible and putting his citizenship over partisanship. You can contact him via his web mail.

This Is Why They’re Called “Crazies”…

A couple of days ago, we reported  that medical doctor and Senator, Tom Coburn (R-OK) asked this of the American people a few hours before a vote to end fillabuster of the Health Reform Bill:

What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.

Most newscasters and pundits on the left seemingly thought that  Coburn was talking about Senator Robert Byrd, a democrat who is 92 and in frail health.  Byrd had to be wheeled into the Senate to vote for what was the first of three procedural votes leading up to the passage of the Health Reform Bill.

Coburn actually went on Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren show to “explain” what he meant…well sorta:

Crooks & Liars:

Coburn: I wouldn’t back away from that. I’d love for everybody’s alarm clock that’s for this thing not to work. You know, the fact is that this is an epic change in our country. It’s a reduction in freedom in our country. It doesn’t reform health care, it just expands the mess that we have today.

Crooks & Liars coninues…

It would be a lot easier to take this denial at face value. But when you have some of Coburn’s fellow religious-right nutcases out there applying a Psalm wishing for someone’s death to President Obama, and otherwise ramping up the use of “imprecatory prayers” against political opponents, especially President Obama … well, let’s just say we all know what a dog whistle sounds like.

This is why Amato called out Matt Lewis yesterday for indulging in the “alarm clock” nonsense. Yeah, guys, we’re all that stupid.

But wait!  There’s more.  Here is a tearful caller who phoned into C-Span Tuesday morning to ask Senator Barrasso a question.  THIS is why we call them “the crazies”:


CALLER: Yeah doctor. Our small tea bag group here in Waycross, we got our vigil together and took Dr. Coburn’s instructions and prayed real hard that Sen. Byrd would either die or couldn’t show up at the vote the other night.

How hard did you pray because I see one of our members was missing this morning. Did it backfire on us? One of our members died? How hard did you pray senator? Did you pray hard enough

HOST: Senator Barasso, he was referring to Senator Inhofe, who was not part of the round of voting this morning.

BARASSO: The votes today, they needed 60 votes in favor of the bill. Senator Inhofe is opposed to the bill, and whether he was there or not didn’t make any difference. There was no way that Jim Inhofe was going to vote for the bill, the senator from Oklahoma. So that’s why he wasn’t there this morning.

HOST: Do you know where he was, senator, why he wasn’t able to make the vote this morning?

BARASSO: No, I don’t know.

More: /

This poor fool thinks Coburn screwed  it up and killed Inhofe by not praying hard enough!

You can’t make this stuff up!

Sen. Coburn: Pray That A Senator ‘Can’t Make The Vote Tonight’

So what exactly IS Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) saying here?  

The senate will vote for cloture on the health care bill late tonight or early Monday morning. 

From the sound of it, I wonder if “praying” that a Senator cannot make the vote tonight means “praying that some harm come to a senator?”  Thats probably a stretch, but even Sen. Dick Durbin, who interrupted  while Sharrod Brown had the floor, to issue a challenge to Sen. Coburn:

Think Progress: 

Durbin:  I have been trying to reach Sen. Coburn. … This statement troubles me, and I’m trying to reach him come back to the floor and explain exactly what he meant about a senator being unable to make the vote tonight. … I’m reaching out to Sen. Coburn. I’ll be on the floor for the next 45 minutes, and I hope that he will join me there.

Oh BTW…here is Coburn’s profile via The Rachel Maddow Show.