Correcting Tom Coburn

Barack Obama and his mom.

Tom Coburn messed up, but not in the way you think.

From the Plumline:

I asked the reporter who wrote the Tulsa World story, Randy Krehbiel, to send over a full transcript of what Coburn said, which he graciously did. Krehbiel taped the episode. Asked if he thinks Obama’s policies show he wants to destroy the country, Coburn said:

“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…

“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.

“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”

Sargent concludes that:

I think what Coburn means here is that African Americans are more likely to need such programs than whites are, and by his own lights, Coburn actually thinks he’s being charitable to Obama here. He’s essentially saying that Obama’s life experience quite naturally dictated that he would view the safety net as a good thing, because it helped poor African Americans.

I agree with Sargent’s basic assessment, but Where Coburn is wrong — and substantially so — is that it wasn’t Barack Obama who took advantage of so-called “dependency” programs like Medicare or food stamps, it was his mother. And she was white. In fact, white women benefit disproportionally from things you wouldn’t guess: like set-asides in contracting and affirmative action. So Coburn should revise his statement to read, “most Americans” at some point benefit from the social safety net, which is why most Americans value things like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and don’t want them gotten rid of.

Coburn’s attempt at being paternalistic toward Barack Obama, with whom he supposedly shares a warm personal relationship, backfired because he made the age-old mistake of thinking that only black people use “entitlements.”

This entry was posted in People, Politics, President Barack Obama, Race and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Correcting Tom Coburn

  1. Kara Owens says:

    Coburn’s got something stuck in his eye. What is that thing?… It starts with a “P” and rhymes with “rivledge”…

  2. Allan says:

    Barack Obama’s white grandparents also benefited from the GI Bill.

  3. Rupert says:

    Every time Coburn goes back to see his Okla-homies, the real Tom slips out of his big mouth. They love to perpetuate the “dependency” myth.

  4. pat says:

    So why is Medicare an entitlement program.. DON’T we PAY INTO IT?!??!

  5. j says:

    Wasn’t Coburn the man who negotiated the payoff for Ensign’s mistress?

  6. bmull says:

    The scariest thing is the idea that Obama could have a warm personal relationship with this douche.

  7. Cha says:

    Thanks, Joy Reid, for this very important distinction between PBO and his mother..I just passed it on to the Coburn thread on another site.

    Excellent point! Everyone was all talking about Coburn being racist which is true enough but the real news was how wrong he was about the actual events. Tiny detail..Obama’s mother was White..and she’s not the only White woman who has taken advantage of America’s safety nets, myself included. The pic is a nice moving touch.

  8. nathkatun7 says:

    @BMULL,
    Once again another total fail! As always your hatred of President Obama knows no bounds. Sometimes it takes stronger, and more mature people, to love their enemies. If you don’t believe me, check out the the warm personal relationships of giants like Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mohandis Gandhi, and, more close to home, our beloved, liberal icon, the late Sen. Teddy Kennedy.

  9. Flo says:

    I think Coburn was too busy “ministering” Sen. Ensign and the C Street boys to be very close to Obama; the friendship thing sounded good in speeches but wasn’t no doubt overstated.

  10. Ronbo says:

    You are right Pat! FICA is removed from each of my paychecks to fund my retirement and medicare needs. It is being stolen to fund: War 1, War 2, War 3 and a tax cut for the very, very wealthy. If a union did this with retirement funds, they would and should be prosecuted.

    Who is going to stand-up and stop the looting of our retirement funds? Obama isn’t. (he is starting more wars using my retirement fund) The Dems aren’t. The Repubs aren’t.

    What happened to a government “of, by and for the people”?

    Great piece – I’ll link to it.

  11. hilda banks says:

    It just makes me cringe when I hear such nonsense from whites. Now that they feel the sting of unemployment, food stamps and welfare more frequently, the world has suddenly come to an end. It’s okay when the shoe is on the other guy’s foot but by the very essence of who they think they are, this should not be happening to us. It only happens to the folks who are lazy and do nothings. How in heaven’s name could President Obama forge a relationship with this fool?How soon do people forget that this country had 43 white Presidents and this is the reason the country is in this condition because of all the things that they have done wrong. Six months into his term, President Obama was being criticized for what he hadn’t done, never mind the things he was able to accomplish. Sometimes I wish he’s never won.

  12. Mem says:

    I find it rather amusing that people like Colburn have the nerve to speak about entitlements at all. After all those in congress receive more entitlements then all of us put together. They get health care, retirement, etc paid for in part by us the tax payers.

    A huge percentage of people I know screaming about big government are “white people”. The small town I live in (tex-ass) has two black families and the only ones you see collecting unemployment checks, standing in the food lines, using their food stamp cards are white and belong to the tea party here in town! Those people who scream the loudest from my home town in Colorado about big government are white and are standing in the same lines. The hypocrisy of the tea party republicans will NEVER change, it’s just gotten worse because we have an intelligent black man in the White house and it’s driving them crazy!

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