Saturday, October 9, 2010

#73: Tom Coburn

An American politician, medical doctor, and ordained Southern Baptist deacon, Coburn is a Republican who currently serves as the junior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and is, not surprisingly, opposed to deficit spending and gay marriage, pro-life (often recognized as one of the leaders of the pro-life movement) and supporter of gun rights, term limits and the death penalty (famous for his comment: “I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life”). Standard fare, in other words, coupled with standard hypocrisy and dishonesty (during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Roberts, Coburn began his opening statement with a critique of Beltway partisan politics while choking back a sob. Coburn had earlier been completing a crossword puzzle during the hearings. Coburn is also one of the most vocal opponents of filibusters and also one of the most frequent users of such measures). He is also affiliated with The Family.

But (apart from the death penalty quote) what qualifies him for inclusion in our Encyclopedia? A plethora of things, in fact. E.g. several small details such as his protesting NBC's plan to air “Schindler's List” during prime time; Coburn stated that, in airing the movie without editing it for television, TV had been taken "to an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity." He also said the TV broadcast should outrage parents and decent-minded individuals everywhere. Coburn described the airing of “Schindler's List” on television as "irresponsible sexual behavior... I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program." Please read that one again if the full impact of Coburn’s claims failed to hit you.

He also threatened to block the commemoration of Rachel Carson’s 100th birthday
calling her work “junk science” (no reason, apart from the fact that he doesn’t like her results, given). Climate change denier Coburn is a close ally of the ravingly mad James Inhofe and never lets evidence get in his way when advicing on environmental policies. Hates science in all its forms.

His pro-life stance has taken him to considerable extremes.

Alleged to be “too stupid to be real” after this issue.

Firmly opposed to civil disobedience as long as the target isn’t the health care bill or abortion.

His chief of staff is Michael Schwartz, but that’s another story for another entry.

Diagnosis: Bigot, zealot, religious fundamentalist, vile - and one of the most lunatic pundits of Washington. Firmly fails to understand science or reason (and hates it as a result). Obviously influential and powerful.

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