To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Who Does Coburn Represent?



Congress has recessed in order for representatives and senators to flee back to their respective districts and states to assure voters they can’t live without the incumbent, and fend off usurpers claiming they can do a better job. Alas, it is the voters who will decide between rival political philosophies, the worthy, the nutty, misguided, well intended, smart, stupid and intellectually malformed.

In Oklahoma we have managed to rid ourselves of such decisions – we have Sen. Tom Coburn. Sen. Coburn will win hands down. This will remove all that nasty voting booth decision making and nail biting.

Even with Coburn’s victory assured there are some things a thinking voter can do. They can assess just who Coburn is and who he represents. This will do nothing to change the ballot count. It will, however, provide some piece of mind in knowing that you are not the one needing a 12-step program back to sanity.

Understanding what Coburn is about also provides a glimpse at his fellow travelers within the Oklahoma Republican Party. This ideology-quasi-religion-based group of campers has already earned the moniker “legislative Taliban.”

So, just exactly who does Coburn represent?

We know he is not particularly concerned about women. He blocked legislation for breast cancer research on ideological grounds; the funding did not fit his agenda.

We know disabled veterans are not high on his list; he blocked funding that would have provided home health care for the disabled.

We know native Americans and African American farmers are of little concern; he blocked legislation providing for payment to these groups based on mismanagement of their interests by government agencies.

We know public education for university students is of little interest; he is trying to prevent funding for students to learn the art of public debate on current issues.

We know the general health and wellbeing of the overall population is of no concern; he has been blocking legislation to improve the food delivery system.

So, what groups are of concern to the senator?

We know he loves Jesus, or at least so he says. This is where the answer may reside. He has been selling Jesus’ love to Oklahoma voters for sometime now, and business appears to be good. The conservative, God-fearing, Jesus-loving base has been returning the term-limit guy to office for 18 years.

The question arises, is the conservative Jesus base in love with the same Jesus that Coburn loves? The senator, as all may recall, is a member of the “Fellowship” group that lives in same house in Washington, and centers their lives around the group leader Doug Coe. Jim Inhofe is also a member of the group or “family” as the call themselves.

“Fellowship” is a term tagged to the group by those living on the outside the house at 133”C” St. SE and arguably closer to reality.

This group of political happy travelers remained largely unnoticed until one of their number, Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, got caught carrying on with the wife of a friend. He was actually one of three who got caught in acts of infidelity, but the one heretofore known to be closest to Coburn who was aghast that such would happen.

His immediate reaction was to offer the woman’s husband a sort of honor price for her, uh, services. Coburn, in true Christian honesty, declined comment, even when caught.

The other activities are a little more pragmatic. It would be fair to say that most Christians in Oklahoma have a mental image of Jesus something along the lines feeding the multitudes and preaching while holding small children on his knee.

Those images are not those of the Fellowship; they tend to sidestep the poor and downtrodden as mentioned in gospels of Matthew, Mark and John and go straight to the top, especially if the top is in the form of an African dictator who slaughters and starves his population with impunity and is willing to sign lucrative contracts with American oil companies. Dictators need love, too, especially after a hard day of terrorizing the population. And who better that the likes of Coburn, Inhofe and others to tell them Jesus loves them anyway, and oh yes we need your signature on this contract.

It might also be of interest to supporters that the “Fellowship” is no friend of democracy. Coe and thus Coburn believe God put certain people in charge and they don’t need approval for what they do, thus dictators find this Jesus message exactly what they’ve been looking for while sighting the gun barrel.

What makes this even more interesting is that while Coburn blocks legislation to help his constituency based on financial considerations, he and fellow senator Jim Inhofe see no conflict in having the government pay for their trips to Africa on behalf of the fellowship.

It appears the Fellowship is Coburn’s REAL constituency, the voters as just the poor mopes than keep him in business.

If Coburn is the most liked politician in Oklahoma, then think what it will be like in January when the GOP again takes over the Legislature. And, should Mary Fallin, who has shown a willingness over the years to embrace any conservative cause that will give her money and garner votes, the voters of Oklahoma will likely be left paying the motel bill while having to sleep in the car.

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

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.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.