4 years, 6 months ago
Hat tip Hot Air.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressed profound regrets about the four years during the George W. Bush presidency when Republicans had control of Congress:
“During the Bush administration, they had four years where the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the executive branch. We had a great opportunity to do great reform to fix what was wrong with this country. We didn’t do it — that’s where careerism comes in,” Coburn told TheDC.
“Careerism isn’t just a problem for Democrats. It’s a problem for Republicans too. When the number one goal is to make yourself look good at home, rather than fulfill your oath and fix what the country needs to have fixed, you’re actually adding to our downward spiral, and so I think it was a missed opportunity of tremendous proportions that the Republicans didn’t embrace what they said they believed in during those times.”
In his new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” Coburn writes about a phone conservation he had with President Bush.
“The night of my victory in 2004, I received a call from President Bush. After he congratulated me, I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m looking forward to helping you cut spending.’ There was nothing but silence on the other end,” Coburn writes.
“By the end of 2004, Republicans were becoming increasingly agitated about President Bush’s excessive spending. I was determined to follow through on my campaign promise to go after earmarks and wasteful spending even if it meant clashing with my own party.”
Good of Senator Coburn to express these sentiments some eight years later. Better late than never, I suppose. But Coburn does not quite capture the essence of those times. The problem then (as now) is not politicians trying to “look good” to the voters back home. The problem is much deeper and more parasitic.
The problem, first and foremost, is the overwhelming power that has been invested, over the last 100 years, in the central government in D.C. Our Founding Fathers could never have imagined the sheer size and scope of the Federal Leviathan today. If so, it is doubtful that they would have proceeded with the Constitution as written. This enormous power hopelessly corrupts all but the most invulnerable persons who spend any length of time in the Capitol. It is not about looking good, Senator Coburn, it is about wielding power and influence that garners great wealth, special treatment, exemption from the laws that apply to the rest of us citizens, incessant flattery from hordes of sycophants and an almost irresistible temptation to hang onto to this power at all costs.
If there is anything like a glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark Debt Tunnel, it may be the election of principled conservatives to Congress who will not cave in to the “careerists” in Congress already infected with the power disease.
The danger is that new Congress Critters may fall into the same psychological trap that many an NFL team has fallen into when they make it to the Super Bowl: Just Happy To Be Here.
It is fine to talk about changing Washington and restoring the Constitution while on the campaign trail and let’s grant that all the talk is sincere and deeply authentic. Nonetheless, like those hapless NFL teams that struggle against all odds to appear in the championship game only to be trounced by a veteran opponent, it is an open question whether freshmen in 2013 will be awed just to walk the halls of Congress and forget all about playing for keeps.