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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coburn clearly feeling the heat for his hostage-taking

Talking Points Memo: Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) office on Tuesday afternoon slammed critics of his position that any additional disaster relief funds to tornado victims in his state must be offset with spending cuts.

“It is crass for critics to play disaster aid politics when first responders are pulling victims from the rubble,” his office said in a memo to reporters.
Wait, you’re holding potential disaster relief for your own constituents hostage to budget cuts and your critics are playing “disaster politics”? Really? The person making the conditional demands is the one playing politics, because they’re using the disaster as leverage. I’m really hoping this statement’s the most bass-ackward thing I read today, because anything worse may actually cause brain damage.

His office explains his hostage-taking.

“Dr. Coburn has opposed disaster aid bills in the past because he believes disaster funding should be used to pay for disasters, not a wish-list of parochial or backlogged priorities that have nothing to do with helping victims,” his office said. “If an additional emergency aid package is necessary Dr. Coburn will not change his long-standing position on offsets.”

Of course, this is complete BS. Coburn has pulled this hostage-taking before and when his demands weren’t met, he went ahead and shot the hostage. Of course, you can’t come right out and say that without seeming like a villain, so he makes up excuses. But his demands are villainous.

“Especially in the wake of the sequester cuts, the notion that the federal budget is larded with easily eliminated spending is ludicrous,” writes Joan Walsh at Salon. “Would Coburn like to see more kids thrown out of Head Start? More seniors losing Meals on Wheels? The federal deficit is shrinking faster than at any time since just after World War II, but Coburn is going to insist that someone, somewhere, must lose their federal help so Oklahoma can get it instead.”

And what exactly does Coburn — and the rest of the GOP, for that matter — have against taxpayer money going back to the taxpayer? That’s what all of their cuts are about, whether it’s disaster relief or Medicare. This is money that you and I pay in and Republicans seem to believe it should all just disappear — preferably into our  bloated military and its corporate contractors.

He’s not lashing out like this because he’s getting a ton of praise for his stance. I went out of my way to try to find defenders. I didn’t have a lot of luck. He’s trying to turn the criticism around on his detractors by trying the strategy conservatives so dearly love — playing the victim card. I doubt anyone will bite.

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