Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn will seek to offset federal aid to victims of a massive tornado that blasted through Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday with cuts elsewhere in the budget.
“That’s always been his position [to offset disaster aid],” a spokesman told the Huffington Post Monday night. “He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort.”
Coburn, who intends to retire in 2016, joined his fellow Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) last year in supporting an amendment that would have substantially cut a package of $60 billion dollars intended for reconstruction of the East Coast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. […]
I’m sure I don’t understand the Hayekian position on disaster aid offsets, but it sounds like another “running the government budget like a family checkbook” nonsensical piece of “common sense” channeled through an Eisenhower-era daddy: “Son, since Dad had too many old fashioneds and ran the Edsel into a tree, we’re going to have to wait to buy that new television set, so you’ll just have to watch the Roy Rogers show at your friend Billy’s house.” And don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining by trying to claim that there was some principle behind the Sandy cuts besides “libruls live there”.
I’ll say this for Coburn: at least he’s consistent, unlike that asshat Cornyn who took a similar position on Sandy relief, but lined up at the trough for relief dollars when that fertilizer plant blew up.
The truly principled, principled, thing to do would be to offset disaster spending in Oklahoma only with other federal spending in Oklahoma. Maybe a deduction from everyone’s social security check. Something tells me the Senators from Oklahoma won’t propose that, though.
Coburn’s and Inhofe’s homes are just fine. No need for disaster relief for their state.
I would mind this not much at all if “offsets” didn’t mean “We’ll cut anything except military spending and my pet projects and if it might ruffle a single feather of rich person, forget it because jobs. By the way does anyone know if poor people really need to eat every day?”
Yeah, what both @JasonF and @jibeaux said.
Coburn’s and Inhofe’s homes are just fine. No need for disaster relief for their state.
Isn’t this just another place where Republican “principles” exist only in the small space where they know for a fact that the Democrats won’t let those principles kill someone? Coburn must know for a fact that Obama and the Dems are too humane, or too pussy, to jack him and Inhofe up against the wall and go to Oklahoma and say “We would give you money, no strings attached, tomorrow but your two Senators are refusing to help you unless they can make sure that some other people, some other place, get their throats cut.”
I realize that the game Inhofe and Coburn are playing is very deep–the “offsets” for Sandy that they wanted didn’t come from Oklahoma specifically but from generic places in the budget where they would hurt the most people. And now the offsets that they want to help Oklahoma likewise don’t come from Oklahoma. So what do they and the people of Oklahoma ever have to lose by playing this game? They never really take the hit.
But I wonder how this plays locally, in the long and short run? My guess is that coverage of the role the Republican Senators are playing in what actually happens will be obscured by the local press and people in OK will continue to believe that “Obama’s government” screwed them over, whether that is true or not..
The offsets should come from other federal funding earmarked for OK. For example, drought relief, or ag subsidies.
And yes, I am being sarcastic, and in no way do I mean that should be the case.
Dr. Coburn: “Yes, I can cure your lymphoma, but I’m afraid I will have to offset that by infecting you with lyme disease.”
Odie Hugh Manatee
Senator Doctor Closed Runway Coburn wants the aid but wants to make everyone else pay for it by taking a cut?
Fuck him, let the tornadoes flatten the state.
@JasonF: Oh, Coburn wants the Federal dollars, he just wants to enjoy screwing somebody else at the same time.
Odie Hugh Manatee
If that’s the case, give him what he wants. The voters of OK have spoken!
If he gets what he wants and the voters are smart, they will change their tune in the next election. :)
1) For emergency disaster funding, his miserly stance is the equivalent of calling for everyone else’s water to be shut off to make up for water used to put out a fire.
2) Coburn apparently had no such qualms with emergency funding year after year after year for war in Iraq.
I love this idea, Breezeblock, and I believe Jbeaux upthread also suggested it. I also think this offest thing could be nipped in the bud if the Governor of a state could not reqest aid if the Senators were refusing to support it when other Governors requested aid.
@Odie Hugh Manatee: Excuse me, but the closed runway incident was the other vile Oklahoma senator, Inhofe.
c u n d gulag
I’m starting to lose empathy for people who live in states where they elect sociopaths like these two in OK, or Scott, in FL.
But, then I remember that they don’t win by 100% of the vote, so, I feel sorry for those good people who have to share their state with their ignorant and stupid bigoted neighborss, who are only too happy to cut-off their own noses, if it’ll spite the faces of brown people, women, and gay folks.
Fine. Let’s take some time to nail down exactly where those cuts will come from before writing the check, instead of playing this oh-so-principled game of “we’ll cut something else later”. I’m sure the residents of OK will be just trilled to see Coburn bitch about Obamaphones and fruit fly research while their entire family is sleeping on Grandma’s pull-out couch.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Oops, it’s easy to get the idiots confused.
@NotMax: Wars pay for themselves. There are now thousands of dead soldiers that won’t be needing pay.
Someone needs to tie Coburn and Inhofe to the rubble that was once an elementary school for a few days. That way they will have time to meditate.
The something of something is long but it bends towards fuck the idiot GOP morans.
@c u n d gulag:
I keep seeing commentary that states (paraphrased) “don’t judge all the people of Oklahoma by the statements of our mouthbreathing Senator that got returned to office by 71% of those who voted”. I gotta say, it is difficult to hew the correct line.
Will Coburn and Inhofe vote “no” on a clean aid bill with no designated offsets?
Damn you TV for slightly melting the permafrost that encompasses my heart!
–That teacher hugging a student after this hideous tragedy —
@Odie Hugh Manatee: Sen. Coburn’s behavior is likely to make people resentful of these disaster-prone, sparsely populated red states. Coburn is perfectly entitled to make money his god, but he has no right to compel the rest of us to worship this god. The idea that others should suffer and sacrifice so that the people of his state can get federal assistance is just as abhorrent as refusing to provide aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. The fact that Coburn is consistently evil does not earn him any admiration from me.
@jibeaux: Yes! Why should we in Colorado lose federal money because of a tornado in OK? Maybe they should rethink this disaster thing and end some tax loopholes to put in a disaster bank. Problem is, the next Congress could raid the disaster bank for whatever.
@beltane: I’m guessing what he is trying to do is make voting against relief a possibility so that they can say both sides do it. The republicans took a beating in the media for sandy shenanigans. Probably because sandy affecting places where the media lived. But if they can get chuck shumer to vote against tornado relief, so much the better for them.
Obama doesn’t have to say anything. This is a ‘Please proceed, Senator’ moment. Constituent services have always been a major element of a congressman’s staying power. Even given the Obama hate, standing up on a national stage and declaring ‘Maybe my voters don’t WANT disaster relief!’ is a political death sentence. This is why ODS is much worse than Clinton hate. Congressmen are so completely frothing with hatred for the Kenyan Usurper that they’re committing political suicide to thumb their noses at him.
Wouldn’t a couple of “Possible Delay in Tornado Aid due to Coburn’s Demand for Offsets” headlines fix his principled stand?
Sometimes, when a guy is begging to be punched, you have to just punch him.
I also wonder if this is the game they intend to play all tornado season. That would be a great way to point out that the ebil fedrul gubbernmint isn’t always ebil.
And to call attention to the fact that one is playing bullshit brinksmanship games from the comfort of an intact, air conditioned home, far from the site of devastated lives.
@Suffern ACE: The Democrats should absolutely vote for tornado relief with no strings attached. However, they also should include a lot of sermonizing with the money. Americans are supposed to help each other out no matter what. Otherwise, we are no longer a unified nation but an assortment of mutually hostile entities shackled together in an abusive marriage.
I’m close to calling my Senators and tell them to vote no on OK relief, because those asshats voted no on Sandy relief.
Forum Transmitted Disease
@Todd: That’s where I run into a problem; it’s not like these guys pulled out their electoral victories by a slender margin, nor did they do it just last election cycle. The people of Oklahoma have inflicted these two dickheads on the rest of the nation for decades now, returning them repeatedly to office by overwhelming margins.
That’s fine, that’s their choice – but I’m not OK with pulling money out of my state, or some other state, or all the rest of the states, to pay for the disaster preparation that Oklahoma felt was a waste of money. My state pays not only all of its bills, but a lot of other states’ bills as well. If Oklahoma wants cuts to pay for their disaster relief then the state of Oklahoma can pay for all of it.
@beltane: The problem with the Democratic party is this: we’re already there. We just fail to acknowledge or believe it.
“Wouldn’t a couple of “Possible Delay in Tornado Aid due to Coburn’s Demand for Offsets” headlines fix his principled stand?”
The problem is which brave OK media outlet would run that story?
As long as our corrupt and asinine media are the messengers we are in trouble.
Perhaps Congress could actually earmark a much larger percentage of the budget as ‘Disaster Relief’, knowing full well that some ghastly catastrophe will happen (when, not if) – it’s called planning for the future. We really don’t need to continually react – we could tap into a reserve that already exists. I know, that takes all of the fun out of sticking the shiv into another part of the budget after the fact – but it seems far more rational than the way we are going about business now.
Local media outlets will, and national media outlets will talk about it as a brave stance on deficit control. Unfortunately for the Very Serious Persons, they can lick conservative boots all they want, Oklahomies will hear ‘Inhofe is willing to vote against my disaster relief’.
Coburn & Inhofe:
Two ‘rights’ do make a wrong.
Never fail to use a crisis to shrink the entitlement state. Inhofe and Coburn have a good hostage (their constituents in OK), it would be a shame for them to fail in leveraging their misery to immiserate future generations.
Why stop at ‘bad’ when ‘colossally stupid and mean’ is achievable?
Has Pat Robertson weighed in yet on why this happened to such good god fearin’ folk? No? God’s Punishment is only for Those Others, and when you’re the one punished, make sure Those Others get it in the neck too. Heckuva system you’ve got there, assholes.
@the Conster: That’s why is so important to discriminate against Those Others. They need to be separated out so that the
God Fearin’ Folk can stay safe in times of natural disasters.
Not a mention of either of these fuckers from Obama.
Two ‘rights’ do make a wrong.
Someone asked the Sandy question on MSNBC just now. The answer: “That was differ!” Sputtered on about how the Sandy funding was full of pork and how “that’s not going to happen in Oklahoma!”
@jibeaux: (SIGH) BEAT ME TO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems like the only fair thing to do. Why should some children in New York lose a head start program because of a little wind storm in Oklahoma.
harry reid should set up a clean bill and make these fools vote against it
Gin & Tonic
Leaving aside the Senators, the congressman whose district this hit was on Rachel’s show last night, or was quoted on it, saying pretty much the right thing – “”I voted for Sandy aid because we are a country where people help each other, and I knew we’re just a tornado away from needing help ourselves.” I’m paraphrasing, but not by much.
I’d start a f_cking ‘Sandy Calendar’, and delay all aid to OK by the same time.
@YellowJournalism: You want to guess whether OK pays more in taxes than it gets back in spending or not?
I really hope that you are right and that the local outlets will call the Senators out on this.
Mike in NC
I was hoping that read “Coburn, who intends to expire in 2016” if not sooner.
Clearly they’re not saying Jeebus loud enough, and not giving enough money to Pat Robertson. It’s the only possible explanation.
@raven: There’s no upside, and a lot of potential downside, to Obama to mention it. He needs to be a focused and nonpartisan leader at moments of natural disaster. It’s Harry Reid and the Democratic caucus’s job to lambaste Coburn and Inhofe early and often. Often. Did I mention often?
Without a sense of irony or self embarrassment, that asshole Imhofe just excused his “no” vote on Sandy relief, because it was all loaded up with pork. “We’ll do it differnt (sic) in Oklahoma.” Somebody needs to “pork” that fucking hypocrite.
Just halve the salaries of OK Senators and remove all retirement benefits for the next 100,000 years.
@Gin & Tonic:
Tom Cole. Yeah, that was a surprise – he sounded normal.
Odie Hugh Manatee
@beltane: “The fact that Coburn is consistently evil does not earn him any admiration from me.”
He doesn’t need it from you, he has plenty of admirers in OK.
Mike in NC
I recall when the Oklahoma City Federal Building was destroyed by domestic terrorists the mainstream media started going on and on about the suffering in “The Heartland”, and that soon enough morphed into bullshit about “Real Americans” just a few years later.
@shortstop: The President wants to govern the entire nation. Since twenty-seven percent want him removed from office immediately, I say f..k em. I want the President to show some partisanship.
Must see video of the day… wonkette
f space that
I keep reading that “well they’re dicks but at least they’re consistent”. Did these jerks ask for the offsets when C+ Augustus was POTUS? Because if they didn’t they’re not consistent, they are just stickin’ it to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. I don’t recall and frankly I don’t care enough to Google it. Any politician with a R after their names is an execrable piece of human filth.
@YellowJournalism: Oklahoma’s population is quite a bit less than the combined population of the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens alone. Being that OK has a lot of weight to pull up with the very flimsy bootstraps they were given, they might want to think twice about insulting the people they are requesting money from.
Jack the Second
I know you can’t draw a line from any single extreme weather event (EWE) to anthropological global warming, but I would really, really love to see a carbon tax of (say) ~$30 / ton, fully earmarked for use in disaster recovery, hardening infrastructure against extreme weather events, and otherwise mitigating the end of the world as we know it.
@f space that: Coburn did for the OKC bombing.
Let’s just ignore these two assholes from one of the deepest of deep red state and focus on getting aid to these people. It’s not like we’re going to get anyone better even if we did leverage this into a loss for them. Sometimes you have to be the better person, which sounds like it sucks, but in the end being a better person is pretty rewarding in its own right.
@f space that:
Consistency is overrated as fuck as a political virtue, in any case. There’s nothing praiseworthy about being willing to take money away from your poor as well as some blue state’s because you can’t be arsed to raise taxes or run a deficit.
@the Conster: Pat’s God has notoriously bad aim in addition to the temperament of a particularly sadistic and murderous dictator. So long as there is even one person who does something that Pat’s Psycho Sky Daddy doesn’t like, people will suffer.
That’s why we must contribute to lots of money to the Stop Gay Abortionist Feminazi Fund. When a gay couple flaps its wings in Maryland, tornadoes tear the shit out of Missouri. Or something.
The correct response to this is for Harry Reid to put up a bill that puts out disaster relief for the stricken areas without any offsets.
Then Coburn can:
b) not filibuster but vote against it
c) vote for it
That’s it. The key is that Reid needs to get his bill out there first. That way the disaster relief gets voted on and can get going and if Coburn wants to stop it he can filibuster it.
BTW – Coburn literally does not care because he’s already announced that he’s retiring. So any political points scored on this are fleeting because the next guy to come into the running won’t be carrying this baggage. Still – this is what needs to be done when these jackasses bray – put the bill up and force a vote on it before they can do anything about it.
f space that
@Chris: I agree. We need to get the people there whatever they need, no strings attached. I am just tired of the unrelenting dickishness of Republican politicians.
@Chris: Amen. There is nothing good about being consistent when you’re an idiot.
@JPL: I want the president to show partisanship much or most of the time. As I said in my comment, moments of natural disaster are really not the time for that if you don’t want a large portion outside the 27 percent to pile on him. If you do, carry on. This is the Democratic caucus’s job to do.
When disasters happen to sinners it’s because God hates them and wants to punish them.
When disasters happen to good people it’s evidence of Satan acting up in the world but you need to be mindful that God saved everyone who survived and give him the praise he deserves for it.
It’s a rigged game in so many ways.
@Frankensteinbeck: But Oklahomans won’t “hear” that unless they are told that and what is the evidence that local newspapers and Fox news will cover it that way?
The US ran into that same problem, in a sense, in Pakistan. We’ve been giving disaster and food aid to Pakistan for years (when we aren’t drone bombing them) and we have always let the Pakistani government repackage our aid so that it doesn’t say “gift of the USA.” We get the bad rap from the bad things we do, and none of the good rap for the (few) good things we do. I want to see Obama and the Democratic Senators from Blue states show up and show more concern for Oklahoma than Inhofe and Coburn do, I want to see them give press conferences that are all the more newsworthy because they are so rare: Chuck Schumer flies in to OK to see what he can do to help! There are not red states or blue states today, only purple states! blah blah blah. You can’t leave this up to the people to just “understand” and you can’t expect right wing news outlets or radio to cover it in a way that is favorable to our side. You have to fight for that coverage.
Well, if all suffering is because of teh gay, Pat’s invisible sky buddy has quite an interesting sense of humor and/or is playing a very, very long game because here in the same sex marriage ground zero of Massachusetts we’re enjoying a lovely spring and a noticeable lack of sky buddy inflicted natural catastrophes.
Anyone hear from Soonergrunt? How is his place holding up?
Amen! Why the heck should my state suffer cuts just so disaster money can go to OK? My state didn’t vote for these buffoons. OK did by a wide margin.
God inflicts his punishment on Massachusetts through the Red Socks.
Coburn has distinguished himself by his moral deficiencies throughout his career. If he’s not outright evil, he’s just slightly to the left of it. He’s a physician, but the lone holdout in passage of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) years ago which basically makes it illegal for insurers to discriminate against someone with a genetic disease diagnosis (hard to believe we needed a law for this, but we did). Coburn’s concern was that it presented a ‘hardship’ for insurance companies. The fact that being straddled with a devastating and frequently costly disease over which you have no control is also a bit of a ‘hardship’ was apparently lost on him.
This is exactly right. Don’t even acknowledge his request. Don’t refuse it, don’t debate it, just utterly ignore it and send up a clean bill. Make the asshole vote against it and see how the voters of Oklahoma like him then.
God sent Scott Boras as Satan’s tool to test all of our faith, for sure.
That’s what I’m wondering and what I’m hoping. The senate should fund OK relief with NO offsets and force Coburn and Inhofe to vote against aid to their own people. It would be interesting (or, just as likely, sickening) to see what the village would do with that.
Tone In DC
Karzai and al-Maliki are more “principled” than Coburn and Inhofe.
Jockey Full of Malbec
Because Jesus hates moochers, that’s why.
Oklahoma is just a vowel away from Pat’s God’s almighty rath, ya know.
@kindness: Someone said he posted on his facebook last night that he was okay but worried about family. Hopefully he is okay but as time passes with no news, it is troubling.
JR in WV
Not only do two rights make a wrong, they also get you headed “right” back where you came from! Which is typical of people who cannot learn from experience!
@the Conster: Maryland, DC (and I assume Delaware) have all been having the nicest, longest, actual springs (instead of nice for a week in April and then hot and sticky until October) anyone can remember.
I have heard TalEvangicals claim that the devil is in charge of the weather (Prince of Air), therefore he could be cutting equal marriage states a sweet deal while pounding the hell (ahem) out of the Bible states.
I can think of a plausible reason for this. You don’t want aid recipients looking suspiciously at food packages and asking, “Hey, is this halal?”
I think his supporters will love him for it, because they’ll get the aid and keep the “principle”.
They can go on pretending it’s all “neighbor helping neighbor” and boot-strapping, WHILE getting all that federal cash.
That’s how it seems to work with ag subsidies. As long as no one mentions it’s a subsidy, indeed, RENOUNCES subsidies, this story they’re telling themselves can continue.
Ya know, there’s something morbid about a woman that lost her house wearing a mic and doing an interview.
“Find someone that lost everything, wire them for sound and let’s watch the *awards* roll in. Or some such.
Maybe Coburn and Inhofe should pray to Jesus to magically build them new housing. Wouldn’t want them to be infected by the evil, wicked gov-mint money that turns honest hardworking Americans into lazy, shiftless slackers dependent on BIG GOVERNMENT for everything because SOCIALISM.
I’d feel a little more sympathy if they didn’t decide to dick over the East Coast when Sandy hit because liberals live there, and if the mouthbreathers in OK didn’t keep sending these fuckers back to Congress long after their insanity has become apparent to everyone else. They want aid? First let them wait the same amount of time it took for them to be shamed into signing off on the Sandy aid package. Then make them recant their “government spending is the Devil” position on live television. Then maybe I’ll consider it. But of course it ain’t up to me. It never is.
PS: Coburn is planning to retire after this term iirc, so you have very little chance of shaming him into anything.
You say that like that isn’t already the case.
Well, maybe we should propose cutting Coburn and Inhofe’s salaries to offset some disaster aid. Clearly, fatcat Senators from Oklahoma are going to have to learn to live within their means.
Too bad the stupid doesn’t literally burn.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
Coburn, like Justice Thomas, is being very consistent: If it doesn’t affect them directly, then they don’t think it affects anyone else. Whatever part of the brain produces empathy, theirs was damaged in early childhood, probably from holding their breath until they received a cookie.
Remember how our indigenous Taliban freaked out when a soup manufacturer announced that it was going to have halal soups? Such a caterwauling there was!
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Liquid: Why? I could see it being morbid if they wired a corpse and hoped it would talk, but interviewing someone affected?
Conservatives love to use their “family budget” metaphor but they never, ever use it realistically. Raise your hand if you think there is any family in the entire United States that would refuse to take out a loan in order to get their roof fixed after it gets ripped off by a tornado.
Speaking as an (albiet adopted) New Orleanian, why should we pay for people to live in what’s obviously a place prone to natural disasters? They should just relocate to a place where natural disasters don’t happen.
(And, yes, that’s snark. I believe one reason the federal government exists is to aid people when catastrophe strikes, regardless of who they are or where they live. We are out brother’s, and sister’s, keepers. Also, fuck Coburn and Inhofe.)
@aimai: If there aren’t any offsets, will Coburn and Inhoffe vote against aid for Oklahoma? That’s what I need to see.
A better analog – “Son, Dad spent all his money on his gun collection, so we can’t afford to take you to the doctor, even though you’ve just fallen out of a tree onto the rake and are bleeding profusely and that leg is probably broken.”
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Liquid: Get the widow on the set.
@beltane: “assortment of mutually hostile entities shackled together in an abusive marriage.”
You say that like it’s a bad thing.
@Mnemosyne: “refuse to take out a loan”
and in this case the loan is at zero interest, in a currency that the family owns the printing press to make.
@Pongo: let us not forget that Rev Tom was also Ensign’s bagman in that sordid affair and IIRC he was the one praying for Senator Byrd’s demise so ACA couldn’t get passed. One of God’s heralds, truly.
Nicely played. I’m remembering all that right wing brilliance after Katrina; applying it to a place that had three separate tornado tracks in the past 20 years is a masterstroke.
@gbear: Easy – they’d blame Reid.
@JoyceH: Put some ‘Tussin on it!
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
He’s a high-functioning sociopath.. that’s the definition of someone with zero empathy. It’s not just snark, people actually are that way.
Many of them are employed as lawyers or on Wall Street.
He doesn’t feel bad about his inconsistent position because the only thing that exists for him is his own goals.
Villago Delenda Est
The lead caterwaller is Jewish, too. Since halal and kosher are very close to the same thing, it makes you wonder just how stupid you need to be to object to halal labeling.
@NickT: What’s worse, it was Campbells in Canadia. Our own Campbells soup company was plotting against us in a foreign, alien land, offering halal soups and ingredients that who knows who might cross the border with?
The US has hurricanes in the South, snowstorms in the East, earthquakes in the West and tornados in the center. Where is that magical place without natural disasters you talk off?