Everything you need to know about Tom Coburn’s retirement and the men who want to replace him…
11:27 AM EST on January 21, 2014
Well, it looks like we're going to have a new voice to embarrass us on the national stage.
As I'm sure you've heard, Oklahoma Senator Dr. Tom Coburn has announced he will resign at the end of the current congress. Although he downplayed it in an Oklahoman interview, the resignation is apparently due to a recurrence of prostate cancer. From what I've heard, it's serious. Although we disagree with the Senator on many things, we wish him the best in his battle against the disease.
Out of our two US Senators, Coburn was always the lesser of two evils. Unlike Inhofe, you never thought he was simply acting in the best interests of oil companies or defense contractors. You could always trust he would stay true to his ultra-conservative principles and values, play the role of activist obstructionist, and vote "No" for just about every bill that came his way. Also, where Inhofe seems to get crazier and crazier each year he serves, Coburn did the opposite. He became more open-minded, reasonable and rational towards the end of his term. Sometimes he even made sense.
That being said, he still had some moments of spectacular Sally Kern wacko in him. On Friday, Gawker listed the top 11 godawful things he ever said. Here are three highlights:
"I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."
"Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?"
"The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power… That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda."
If you think that's scary, keep in mind his replacement will likely agree with all those quotes.
Republicans are in a scramble trying to figure out Coburn's replacement. Right now, the betting favorite and early frontrunner is US Congressman James Lankford. If he can survive a primary, he'll probably be the next senator. He held a press conference yesterday to announce he's running for the seat. So far, I think he's the only one to officially throw his hat into the ring. This is why he's entering the race:
“This is a very difficult time in the history of our nation. Crushing government debt, a federal takeover of health care, Presidential over reach, increasing regulations and a stagnant economy are all stealing away the American dream from our families. After a great deal of thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I feel led to continue my Oklahoma common sense and principled approach to attack the deep problems in the United States Senate.
Wow. That's ambitious. Please explain this common sense and principled approach:
“The Senate is the most contentious body in our government today. Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats continue to divide America for political gain. The problems that we face as a nation will not be solved by yelling louder, they will be resolved when we put forward clear conservative solutions that the American people overwhelming support.
Uhm, if the American people overwhelmingly support "clear conservative solutions," why is Barack Obama president? Also, why do Democrats have a majority in the Senate? Those are serious questions that I'm asking to a guy who releases campaign graphics like this:
Thanks for tossing out two totally different and unrelated numbers to prove what I think is some sort of point. Let's hope those 350 people eating Bacon Cheeseburger Toasters and Onion Rings for lunch also have Obamacare. They'll need it. Also, there's about 350 Sonics in the metro alone. They have to average more than one customer per location, right?
Other than Lankford, no other serious candidate has announced his or her intentions to run. The only thing we've received are sad statements from candidates claiming they will not enter the race. Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Congressman Tom Cole are the two biggest names that come to mind. Pruitt isn't running because no one really likes him and he'd get destroyed. Tom Cole is basically ineligible to enter because he compromised with some Democrats on budget issues. Remember, compromise is a "no no" to Oklahoma Republicans.
In a Facebook post, some guy named Todd Lamb announced he's not running for Senate. Apparently, Lamb is the Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. I think his announcement was nothing but a desperate attempt to get people to think he's relevant and remember his name:
My focus has been and will remain working for real solutions in real time for Oklahomans. Being in Oklahoma, not Washington DC, is the best place for me to help accomplish these goals.
What a relief. Please keep on "working for real solutions" while attending your ribbon cutting ceremonies, Chamber of Commerce luncheons, playing Freecell or whatever it is you do as Lt. Governor. He continues:
It is without hesitation that I say I am not a candidate for either the US Senate or the US House. I hope the recent vacancy and other vacancies being created are filled by those that understand the founding principles, namely that the federal government was created by the states, therefore states’ rights and state sovereignty are paramount to liberty and freedom. I will continue to guard against federal encroachment into our state. Oklahoma is a very special place. Our best days are ahead of us.
So, uhm, the Constitution was created to make a strong central government and weaker state governments. You see, there was this thing called the Articles of Confederation that, well, fuck it, I'm wasting my time.
Right now, the biggest threat to Lankford's dreams of Senate glory is Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon. He's a golden boy among the local GOP, has a hot wife and doesn't like to wear socks. Although he hasn't announced if he's running yet, I think he could win. He'll have the backing of the tribes, doesn't have a congressional voting record to criticize, and is popular with tea party nuts.
Lankford and Shannon going at it would be like watching the Texas - USC National Championship Game in 2005. You kind of want them both to lose, but at least it will be fun to watch. If I had to vote for one of them, I'd pick Shannon. He may be a little on the Derplahoman side of things, but electing an African-American to a US Senate seat would be historically significant and help clear the national perception that our state is completely backwards and racist and stuck in the 1950s. Yeah, Oklahoma kind of is that way, but we don't want people thinking that.
Outside of T.W. Shannon, the other names being tossed around are Jim Bridenstine and Frank Keating. Bridenstine is a congressman from Tulsa who has the backing of the all-powerful chiropractic lobby and white men with beards who own t-shirts that picture bald eagles and the Statue of Liberty holding guns in front of the American flag. That could make him a serious candidate. I can't see Keating running and / or winning. He thinks Oklahomans are stupid, is a banking lobbyist and we're not in 1998.
Of course, there are some Democrats with a chance to win. Hahahaha, just kidding. They don't have a chance, but they do need someone to run. Right now, the name being tossed around the most is Dan Boren. He's a former Congressman, product of political nepotism and DINO-Saur (Democrat in name only with Dinosaur teeth). He's also married to Josh Heupel's sister, which probably explains why Heupel will be the next head coach at Oklahoma, filling a role previously adorned by such greats as Gomer Jones and Gary Gibbs.
Some optimistic Democrat will tell you Coburn narrowly defeated Brad Carson in the 2004 Senate election, and if they find the right candidate, Democrats have a chance. When they tell you all this, ask to smoke some of their pot. Next, simply agree with them and relax. They have no clue what they're talking about. The 2004 election doesn't mean a thing. When Coburn and Carson battled, Bush was president and the Democrats actually had momentum. It was before Obama hysteria hit the state and the Republicans controlled everything.
Right now, the only thing that can upset the balance of all this is some out-of-nowhere surprise mystery candidate emerging. For example, what if Harold Hamm decided he wants to buy a Senate seat? That may be a possibility. Better yet, what if Gary England wanted to dabble in national politics? Actually, that's a great idea. We should try to draft Gary England to run for US Senate. I better get to work on a campaign site for that.
Anyway, this should be a fun race to watch. We'll do our best to keep you updated on all this. In a week or two, we'll let you know about the people looking to replace Lankford. Right now, the only good thing about him running for Senate is we'll get a new crazy congressman to make fun of from time to time.
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