Friday, July 27, 2007

Senator Tom Coburn, MD

Tom Coburn, MD is one of two US Senators who represents Oklahoma. He is a very conservative Republican and I agree with him on very few issues. He sees the world in a markedly different way from how I see it. But this does not take away my deep respect for Coburn who continues to practice medicine, free of charge during the weekends when he is away from Washington. Before he became a Senator, he was a congressman for 3 terms and because of a previous pledge to limit his service to 3 terms, retired to his clinic in Muskogee, Oklahoma when his 9 years were up.

Coburn is a straight shooter. He may have some idiotic ideas but his commitment to his country is beyond reproach. As a freshman Senator, he challenged a 40-year veteran Senate president pro tempore Ted Stevens on his pork barrel project that was famously known as the “bridge to nowhere”, a 200 million dollar bridge that would connect fifty people to a coast somewhere in Alaska. When it came to a vote, 82 Senators chose to support Stevens and only 14 had the courage to oppose what was clearly an abusive exhibition of political power. He is convinced that the longstanding politicians who have inhabited congress do not possess the will to enact revolutionary changes. Coburn is horrified at the 9 trillion dollar US debt (for once, we in the Philippines can count our blessings). He has a personal crusade to make the American people aware that the succeeding generations will be responsible for dealing with this problem and every time money is spent irresponsibly, the debt only zooms higher.

We need politicians like Tom Coburn. Part-time legislators, who do not depend on politics for their livelihood and unafraid to tangle with the traditional old-timers whenever they exercise their oversight responsibilities.

1 comment:

r.g. lacsamana, m.d. said...

I am neither conservative nor liberal, but an independent who looks at issues from different viewpoints.
But I happen to like Dr. Tom Coburn, who, like the late Howard Cosell, says it as he sees it.

He has been, so far, the best watchdog for what we call "earmarks," or what we call pork barrel in the Philippines. A lot of his colleagues in the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, fear him and quake in their boots every time they attempt to slip by things in the dark of the night. Something badly needed considering that a lot of waste passes through those earmarks.

Too bad we don't have a lot of doctors in Congress. The only other doctor, Bill Frist of Tennessee, did not run for re-election. He had thought of running for president, but his term as the majority floor leader for the Republicans was not marked by what his supporters had expected.

Dr.Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and now the Democratic Party chairman, received favorable attention in the 2004 presidential primaries but became the victim of his own volubility and screaming fests. He began spiraling downward after that Iowa caucus.

Physicians as a class are bright and sometimes brilliant, but don't have the time to indulge in politics with their busy schedules.
Would Martin be the Tom Coburn of the Philippines? We should find out in 2010.