BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
The week began with Sen. Jim Inhofe’s boycott of hearings on a proposed climate bill, which by the way made it out of committee without goofy Jim.
Now, as we head toward Veterans Day on Wednesday we hear that our other GOP senate bad-boy-goof-ball is holding up legislation to aid wounded veterans and their care givers.
Sen. Tom Coburn actions are not surprising considering his track record on concern for the health of not just his constituency but human beings in general. It should be remembered Doctor Senator Coburn blocked funding for breast cancer research not long ago.
To block aid to wounded veterans is just a walk in the medical park for the man who rejects his elected title in favor of his professional title, Doctor. Conjures up the old joke: What do you call the guy who graduated last in his class from medical school? Doctor.
It’s not so much that Coburn is blocking the bill, or blocked the breast cancer bill, it is how he goes about such business that is rather disturbing. Coburn works in the shadows, hiding his darker deeds from public view while espousing to be a man of the people.
Coburn uses a Senate rule allowing a senator to block a bill with out revealing his name.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that while the senator was traversing the state rattling on about earmarks he was secretly saying he didn’t care how many wives, mothers, daughters and sisters suffered and died.
What was important was his political agenda, no matter how misguided.
So it is the man who attempted to negotiate a payoff to another senator’s mistress – which he denied and later research shows he played a greater part that he admitted – would deny benefits to those wounded veterans he helped create.
In the run up to the Iraq war, and the Afghanistan invasion, Coburn had no problem committing the U.S. military to stand and deliver, which they did with honor. But now, when it is time to tend the wounded, the senator not only will not stand and deliver, he hides behind his curtain of privilege to block the efforts of colleagues who do want to server the honorable wounded.
Frankly, it would be an affront to veterans everywhere if Coburn were asked to address any veterans group this Wednesday. Select any word to describe Coburn’s actions on Senate Bill 1963 such as, hypocritical, cynical, but the one that comes to mind is cowardice.
– Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer