EDITOR OF REDSTATE
From Pig to Man, and From Man to Pig
In 2003, then just Doctor Tom Coburn, published his book. It was titled Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders into Insiders. An eye witness account of the Republican Revolution of 1994 and following, journalist Robert Novak wrote the forward to the book. In his forward, Novak noted that Coburn, while serving in the Gingrich House of Representatives, realized “Speaker Gingrich, House Majority Leader Armey and the rest of the Republican leadership were not what they pretended to be. They were revolutionaries in name only, content to take possession from the Democrats of the machinery of government and then run it virtually unchanged.”
Coburn, in the book, wrote how Gingrich began referring derisively to “the conservatives”. Coburn wrote, “Gingrich would receive our input, but he rarely took it seriously. He usually made us feel as if we didn’t have much value because we didn’t know anything about the political game in Washington. We were from the outside and wet behind the ears in terms of politics, and we obviously didn’t know as much about history as he did.” [Emphasis added]
In 2004, Senator Coburn ran for the Senate. The Republican Establishment opposed him, putting up a squishy Republican. He was the first candidate we at RedState supported.
In the last few years, Senator Tom Coburn has made an idol of spending in Washington. He is willing to go to mat on issue after issue of government waste and spending. He is willing to cause trouble and mischief over government waste. But I say that is his idol because outside of that issue, Coburn, over time, has … let me put it to you this way. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Coburn more often than not is used as a useful foil by Senate Republican Leaders against conservatives who the leadership characterizes as not “know[ing] anything about the political game in Washington” and as “from the outside and wet behind the ears.”
Coburn is willing to wage a holy war against wasteful pork barrel spending, but on Obamacare these days (and other issues outside of government pork) Coburn toes the leadership line — held up as the “reasonable” conservative by leadership.
On Mike Lee’s defund strategy, Senator Coburn says it is impossible. He says it will not work. He says the GOP should accept defeat because of 2012. He, like the Republican leaders he has increasing resembled, surrenders in advance and broadcasts the terms of surrender.
The system corrupts and converts outsiders to insiders. I wish Tom Coburn would join the fight with Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio. He seemed softened on the floor of the Senate yesterday. But having spent so much time with Senate Republican leaders peddling “can’t” instead of “try”, I give up hope he can change in the twilight of his Senate career.
Senator Coburn and the Republican leadership are setting straw men ablaze. They claim the conservatives want a government shutdown. They do not. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul say they will fund the government, just not the discretionary spending for Obamacare.
Republicans who have been yelling at them for their all or nothing strategy are now demanding they not fight Obamacare unless they are going to fully defund and repeal it. They do this knowing that will never happen.
But passing a continuing resolution without Obamacare funding is possible. If the GOP sets that as the condition for bicameral support, the GOP only needs 41 votes in the Senate. They do not need 60. They can block the CR with 41 votes in the Senate and support of the House if Obamacare funding is included.
The GOP says no. They are not willing to disrupt and obstruct Obamacare at every corner. The GOP who has chastised conservatives for an all or nothing approach claiming the GOP will get nothing if it wants all now, itself, wants all or nothing.
It is their admission they will get nothing. It is Tom Coburn’s admission Obamacare is here to stay. They have given up.
But conservatives have not. And so I head today to New Orleans for the 5th annual RedState Gathering. I will present to conservatives new candidates who are challenging Republicans in the House and Senate. If the GOP will not disrupt Obamacare, we must disrupt the GOP.
We will challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. We will challenge Lamar Alexander. We will challenge the establishment’s preferred candidates in South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Louisiana, West Virgina, and elsewhere.
The fight for freedom means we must fight the GOP. That fight begins in earnest in New Orleans on Friday.