Friday, August 31, 2007

Obama's Strange Senate Friend

To illustrate his bipartisan approach as President, Barack Obama last weekend named three Senate Republicans he would work with if elected--Dick Lugar, John Warner and Tom Coburn.

Lugar and Warner are Senate elders, but his choice of Coburn raises questions about Obama’s judgment and, after what the junior senator from Oklahoma did this week, some would say his definition of sanity.

In an editorial headed “Locked, Loaded and Loony,” the New York Times today decried the position of Coburn, a physician, who “stands alone in blocking final passage of a suicide prevention bill in fear that the government’s record-keeping on troubled vets might somehow crimp their ability to purchase handguns.”

In naming him, Obama conceded Coburn “is probably the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate” but added, “He has become a friend of mine.”

The loyalty of Obama’s friend to the gun lobby is surpassed only by his right-to-life fervor, which Coburn has expressed by favoring the death penalty for physicians who perform abortions, even in cases of rape, pointing out that his great-grandmother was raped by a sheriff and then gave birth to his grandmother.

Coburn has called gays “the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today” and condemned the TV showing of the Holocaust film, “Schindler’s List” because it portrayed "irresponsible sexual behavior.”

When they get together for friendly chats, they can always have a few laughs about the Republican nut case, Alan Keyes, whom Coburn endorsed for President in 2000 and who, during Obama’s run for the Senate, filled in when his Republican opponent dropped out after a sex scandal.

They have so much in common.

1 comment:

Ron Chusid said...

Obama mentioning Coburn is much more benign than comments around the blogosphere have made it seem. The two worked together to establish a searchable database of government spending. Obama's point was that he could find a way to work even with Coburn, who he also called the most conservative member of the Senate.