Monday, January 09, 2006

The chair would like to thank the senator from Psychoklahoma

I sat at work today, typing away, bopping along to the Alito committee hearings that streamed over NPR.

The senators' opening comments varied from the vacuous to the predictable. Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin were fine. I'm starting to wonder if Chuck Schumer is becoming a rich man's Bob Torricelli -- a fundraising machine whose bland rhetoric consists of predictable bombast. But I digress.

The Senate Republicans were being Senate Republicans -- self-righteous, repetitive, more interested in biography than substance. Other than John Cornyn desperately squeezing the word "liberal" into any possible context, they were reasonably well behaved.

Then came Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). I almost spit coffee onto the keyboard.

And the question that arises as we use all these adjectives and adverbs to describe our physicians as we approach a Supreme Court nominee is where are we in America when we decide that it's legal to kill our unborn children?

I mean, it's a real question for us. ...

The ripping and tearing of an unborn child from his mother's womb through the hands of another, and we say, "That's fine; you have a constitutional right to do that."

How is it that we have a right of privacy and due process to do that but you don't have the right, as rejected unanimously by the Supreme Court in 1997, to take your own life in assisted suicide?

You know, how is it that we have sodomy protected under that due process but prostitution unprotected? It's schizophrenic. And the reason it's schizophrenic is there's no foundation for it whatsoever other than a falsely created foundation that is in error.

...

Senator Brownback talked about those with disabilities that are destroyed in the womb because of a genetic test that is sometimes wrong. I would put forward that we all have disabilities.

Some of us, you just can't see it. And yet, who makes the decisions as to whether we're qualified or not?

But the fact is, is we're going to cover it with everything except the real fact is we've made a mistake going down that road in terms of saying we can destroy our unborn children and there's no consequences to it.

Here comes one crazy non-sequitur:

So I welcome you.

The video available at Crooks & Liars neither accentuates nor undercuts the craziness.

In the senator's defense, I don't think he intended to argue that prostitution should be legalized, although the plain language of his statement implies otherwise.

Also in his defense, it was a sort of beautiful breakdown in the stage-managed trudge toward Alito's confirmation. The Republicans want only to talk about Alito's biography. In his opening remarks, Alito all but read from his fourth-grade report card.

It was crazy Tom Coburn, more than any Democrat, who invited the committee to hold the side-order of bullshit and go to the heart of the matter. Granted, it was done inarticulately and with a direct plea to legalize prostitution, but in King Lear, it was The Fool who knew what was up. Coburn apparently wants to turn the confirmation process into a knockdown fight over abortion, which is politically good for the Democrats, and maybe a more honest debate in the end.

3 comments:

Crunk Raconteur said...

Wasn't Tom Coburn the guy who, before he ran for Congress, was an obstetrician who performed an abortion on a woman without her consent?

Was that him? I know it was some wingnut.

evil girl said...

From a Sept. 2004 Salon.com article:

"According to records obtained by Salon, Coburn filed an apparently fraudulent Medicaid claim in 1990, which he admitted in his own testimony in a civil malpractice suit brought against him 14 years ago by a former female patient. The suit alleged that Coburn had sterilized her without her consent. It eventually was dismissed after the plaintiff failed to appear for the trial. In his sworn testimony, Coburn admitted he sterilized the then 20-year-old woman without securing her written consent as required by law. He blamed the omission on a clerical error, but maintained that he had her oral consent for the procedure. (Salon has been unable to contact the woman and is withholding her name out of respect for her privacy.) Coburn also revealed under oath that he had charged the procedure to Medicaid -- despite knowing that Medicaid, also known as Title 19, does not cover the cost of sterilization for anyone under age 21."

Crunk Raconteur said...

Ah, so he isn't, strictly speaking, a covert abortionist...but rather just a Medicaid-defrauding eugenicist...

Moral values!