Monday, May 21, 2012

Middle Man

I think I've disagreed with physician-senator Tom Coburn on pretty much every issue. And yet there he was on The Daily Show sounding damn reasonable. On the idea that fiscal sanity must include both cuts to government spending and raising of taxes, I'm there and always have been. In quoting Admiral Mullen as saying the debt is a greater danger facing us than war is, Coburn even seems to suggest that he -- perhaps alone among Congressional Rs and certainly not including The Rominee -- would consider cutting defense spending!

So why is it that, in real life, the obvious things he says are as foreign to our political process as breathing under water? Tom Coburn, a Republican!!, says something that's been at the heart of democracy until Newt Gingrich was Speaker, until RWS™ and Fox "news" replaced thought with bile, at which point it died and was interred with its own bones; namely, that we need to compromise, to meet somewhere in the middle. That in a democracy no one gets everything they want. And, coming from a current Republican, it's so shocking that one can't believe it. What's his game, one asks. Because there's no one else on his side of the aisle talking like that. Not, most certainly, any of their leaders. When Barack Obama began his presidency by reaching out, they made damn sure no massively-elected black guy was gonna get to go all reasonable on us. Damn sure.

If I can disagree with Tom Coburn MD on everything but still see that, if he's serious, he accepts the need to let some things go, as do I, then it still must be (in theory) possible to have politicians who'll commit to finding solutions to our nearly unsolvable problems. So why should what he said be so jarring, so unheard in these times?

Because for the last few decades voters (and by voters I mean Republican voters) have preferred to elect those of the scorched earth (environmentally speaking, quite literally) persuasion. On the right, voters clearly don't want representatives who'll compromise on anything; having been fed vitriol and lies in a steady stream from their preferred media gods, who'd expect anything else? If the other side literally hates America, is taking away your freedoms, aiming to kill your religion, how could compromise even be a consideration? It's a fight to the death.

And, as Dr Coburn suggests, death it will be.

[... Time passes....] A few days after I wrote the above, there appears another quote from the good doctor:

If President Obama is president again, those problems are still there and we have to solve them. He knows that. We’ve had conversations where he’s told me he’ll go much further than anyone believes he’ll go to solve the entitlement problem if he can get the compromise. And I believe him. I believe he would.

So, while others on his side of the aisle are constantly creaming their camos over the Kenyan terrorist America-hating Nazi socialist Muslim, a very conservative senator who actually works with the president credits him with plans to address deficits honestly and, by implication, in ways that would worry the left more than the right; and finding middle ground in ways teabaggRs never have and never will. Coburn, in other words, among the most conservative of senators, sees Barack Hussein Obama as honest and trying to do the right thing. I must be dreaming.

What's hilariously ironic about the garment-rending of the conspiracists who think if reelected Obama will reveal his inner terrorist Muslim Kenyan Nazi America-hating Bible burning gun confiscating true self is that to anyone who observes the real Obama -- as opposed to the insane RWS™ version -- it's apparent the opposite will happen. If reelected, we'll see the pragmatic centrist but left-leaning person he's always been liberated from needing to cater to anyone, and acting on his often-stated commitment to workable budgetary balance, very much in the middle. Take my word for it: far lefties will be more pissed than righties -- although the crazy wing (i.e., pretty much the entirety) of the current Republican party would accuse him of treason if he rescued a burning flag, single-handedly took out Mullah Omar, and personally carried every atom of uranium out of Iran.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was half-asleep when I saw the interview and I had to back up the TiVo to the beginning of the segment, because I couldn't believe that was Tom Coburn actually making sense about something. Thanks for reminding me I wanted to watch the extended interview.

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