Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pork-cutter Coburn

Tom Coburn is an interesting fellow. He is a social conservative bordering on idiocy (he complained that NBC ran Schindler's List uncut and uncensored because it contained nudity -- the fact that those were emaciated naked Jews running around for Nazis to evaluate how quickly they'd be killed didn't matter to Coburn; Republicans and Democrats rightly excoriated him, most notably Alfonse D'Amato's verbal arsewhipping on the Senate floor).

But two good things about Coburn: (1) He HATES pork and wasteful spending. Part of the 1994 House Republican freshman class, he riled leadership by constantly complaining about wasteful governmental spending. In 2004, he withstood challenges from right and left to win a senate seat from his native Oklahoma. And he has PO'd Republicans in the current Senate by railing against pork-barrel legislation early in his term.

(2) He's an obstetrician who refuses to put aside his medical practice whilst a Senator. Thus, he flies home to deliver babies.

So, in its perverse mindset, Coburn may be guilty of ethical violations for continuing to practice medicine. As Robert Novak explains:

In a legislative body whose members spend much of their time off the Senate floor begging for money, it is worthy of Kafka that the only pending ethical proceeding involves Coburn's concept of the citizen-legislator. It is serious. Unless the rules are changed, Coburn must either break his campaign pledge of continuing baby deliveries or leave the Senate.

Solution? How about only accepting enough income from medicine to cover the malpractice insurance costs and remitting the rest to charity?

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