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Politics

BaROCK Obama

8:01 PM EDT on March 18, 2009

For anyone who missed it, Saturday Night Live recently incorporated Senator Tom Coburn (played by Will Forte) into a skit involving The Rock as Barack Obama.  I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but let's just say it was as if SNL took my fantasy and acted it out.

Enjoy the video, then, if you want, click on the jump and hear my rant about why I don't hold it against Jim Inhofe that he's number nine on the list of senators requesting earmarks.

Senator Coburn has been making a lot of political hay about the usage of earmarks recently.  The momentum by which he could make those waves was started during the Presidential campaign when John McCain pretended that earmarks, which he also liked to call by the marketing slogan "pork", were the biggest threat to the United States of America.  Anyway, now Coburn and McCain have joined forces as muckrackers against the process and to hold the presence of earmarks in the omnibus spending bill as evidence that President Obama, who did not run against earmarks, is not abiding by his campaign promises.

To their credit, the two senators remained true to their cause and applied for and received no money on behalf of their states.  Due to their dilligent efforts, the states of Arizona and Oklahoma will be hosed out of benefitting from the money they ship to the federal government.  Instead, the money those two senators pointedly chose not to procure for their states will likely go to states like Alaska where the politicians campaign against earmarks, but accept the money when it shows up in their bank account.

Luckily for Oklahoma, and I don't usually say this, we have Jim Inhofe in the senate.  In the recently passed Omnibus Spending bill that distributed $410 billion of federal funds, Inhofe managed to include more than $80 million in assistance for projects within our state, including $48 million in which he had no other support in obtaining.  That ranked him ninth out of the 99 senators currently serving.

It might be interesting to know that Inhofe managed to obtain that $80 million without even supporting the bill.  Who knows what the price tag to actually get him to support the bill would have been.  While I normally would hold it against Senator Inhofe for having his cake (getting tons of earmarked cash) and eating it too (claiming to vote against it because it was loaded with earmarks), I have chosen to look at the bright side.  At least we have one senator looking out for our interests.

Coburn's supporters love him for his dogged determination to put his ideals above the interests of those who voted and/or were stuck with him as one of their representatives in the U.S. Senate.  If we had one hundred Coburns in the senate, we'd all be better off, they insist.  Let's suppose, for argument's sake, that's true.  If earmarks really are the devil, then we might even be fine with 51 Coburns (a simple majority) in office.  They could quash any pork spending and all that would be passed are blank checks that could go to any state for any project without elected officials having any say.

To some, that might be Utopia.  In reality, however, there are only a couple of senators with the philosophy of our junior senator, and with that, Oklahoma risks being a donor state.  A "donor state" is a state that pays more to the federal government than they receive in federal funding.  So, when you hit that status, you end up with a higher tax burden because rather than getting a return on one's investment in the federal government, your federal taxes go to improve other states while you get hit again by local government to pay for projects like improving the highways Coburn idealistically blocks federal funding from being used on.

Personally, I'd be happy with 98 Coburns in the senate.  Just so long as the two who weren't represented this state.

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