A good profile today in the NYT of obstructionist proselytizer Sen. Tom Coburn.
“As the health care overhaul heads to the Senate floor, Mr. Coburn is preparing for what he considers a career pinnacle of havoc. Enacting the proposal, he says, would be catastrophic, and so if precedent holds, he will try to hinder it with every annoying tool in his arsenal: filing amendments (he has done that 508 times since joining the Senate, second only to John McCain’s 542 in that period), undertaking filibusters and objecting strenuously.”
“And in a remark typical of how some members of the institution view Mr. Coburn, Jim Manley, a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said: “Senator Coburn relishes it when people call him Dr. No, but he is more appropriately called Dr. I Know Best. He has routinely blocked and delayed bills that have wide bipartisan support, often based on specious arguments.”
“Mr. Coburn was elected to the Senate with a reputation for outspoken social conservatism. He had denounced the “homosexual agenda” and said he favored the death penalty “for abortionists and other people who take life.”
Mr. Coburn has all the credentials a senator’s constituency could want – if we were living in the seventeenth century.
Of course, they can read the truth, regularly, from Paul Krugman, but, predictably, they choose to ignore it for their own prevaricating purposes.
“The odd thing about this group (Democrat centrists) is that while its members are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform, they’re having a hard time explaining exactly what their problem is. Or to be more precise and less polite, they have been attacking proposed legislation for doing things it doesn’t and for not doing things it does.
Thus, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut says, “I want to be able to vote for a health bill, but my top concern is the deficit.” That would be a serious objection to the proposals currently on the table if they would, in fact, increase the deficit. But they wouldn’t, at least according to the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that the House bill, in particular, would actually reduce the deficit by $100 billion over the next decade.
Or consider the remarkable exchange that took place this week between Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, and Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post’s opinion editor. Mr. Hiatt had criticized Congress for not taking what he considers the necessary steps to control health-care costs — namely, taxing high-cost insurance plans and establishing an independent Medicare commission. Writing on the budget office blog — yes, there is one, and it’s essential reading — Mr. Orszag pointed out, not too gently, that the Senate Finance Committee’s bill actually includes both of the allegedly missing measures.”