To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Dingbat Delegation



It is a curious day indeed when, among Oklahoma’s Washington delegation, John Sullivan sounds sane. Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn have again displayed their posteriors to the national press, bringing the nation’s attention to bear on Oklahoma voters.

Sen. Coburn is attempting to stop health care legislation by requesting that each senator be required to read each piece of legislation offered for a vote and that each item be read into the record in full. Coburn told a press conference he asked for the reading because, “This reading will provide a dose of transparency that has been lacking in this debate.” The keyboard shudders when using “Coburn” and “transparency” in the same sentence.

While it would be good to think that each member of Congress and the 50 legislatures would read every bill that came to their respective floors, that’s just is not the case. It could even be argued that the wheels of government would grind to a halt, which considering the Oklahoma Legislature might not be a bad idea.

As honest men curse, women cry and children tremble we admire Sen. Coburn’s quest for transparency, a quality heretofore sorely lacking in the senator’s previous political behavior. Perhaps Sen./Dr. Tom is attempting to lead by example.

Example: Coburn routinely puts anonymous holds on legislation. He does it so often that when a hold is placed on a bill the Oklahoma senator is the prime suspect. His most recent example of TRANSPARENCY was a veterans’ health care bill he stopped until unmasked like a drug dealer in a school yard.

Example: When questioned about his part in covering up Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s adultery Sen/Doc ducked and dodged like a fleeing convict in the Atchafalaya. He still hasn’t come clean on his part in the payoff offer.

Example: He secretly held up a bill that would have funded research on breast cancer, until once again, unmasked.

Sadly, the evangelical Taliban throughout Oklahoma likes a senator whose idea of transparency is to deceive, hide, misinform and heap suffering and neglect on his constituency in the name of divine inspiration.

Surely there is a Republican in this state who can take on Coburn, expose his warts, and win a primary. Someone responsible, fairly honest and not beholden to the Taliban.

Then there’s Jim Inhofe. As Inhofe opined that he would cross the Atlantic to set the climate changers straight some thoughts occurred: For a moment think about the international press, of which there are thousands in Copenhagen for the conference. The question arises: “Who to interview when there are 80 heads of state, hundreds if not thousands of cabinet ministers, even more legislators, members of parliaments, heads of corporations and organizations, minions and lackeys? I know, I’ll skip Obama, Prime Minister Brown, President Sarkorsky and the others, I’ll interview Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.”

Right! The press would just clamor for a few words from Jim.

Then there’s John Sullivan, he is actually going to Copenhagen as part of the official delegation headed by President Obama. Sullivan has had the good sense to say he has an open mind on global warning. He has also had the good sense to stay far away from Inhofe and Coburn. Sullivan is still Sullivan, but compared to the other two he looks sane.

As far as Inhofe flying to the conference? Would you want to be locked inside a plane with Jim Inhofe for a transatlantic flight? Not without a parachute.

Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

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Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.