Monday, December 9, 2013
Purple State of John
Thoughts of a wordslinger…
This morning, I read in the Huffington Post that Senator Tom Coburn and Barack Obama are friends, that Obama sent Coburn a note of condolence when the Republican Senator’s mother passed away, and that Coburn regularly writes the president to cheer him up in his difficult job. At Huff Post, Jason Linkins wants to know when that friendship is going to result in some benefit for the Democratic left.
What Linkins wants is quintessentially American. He wants to monetize this friendship, in a sense, and he already finds the first evidence of getting some bang out of the Coburn buck.
Here’s a taste:
COBURN: On January 1st, 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion. It now stands at $12.1 trillion. That’s not President Obama’s fault, so don’t confuse this with a partisan attack. My attack is on the Senate, and on the Congress.
For the video, head to Linkins’ blog.
In the meantime, I question the wisdom of treating this friendship as a matter of the political bottom line. We need more such human sympathy across party lines, even if it never amounts to a policy victory. Does anyone remember the friendship between Reagan and Daniel Patrick Moynihan? Maybe it was less ideologically pure, but who cares? Where did strict ideology ever get the Republicans, who struck a hard line for eight years and ended up in a Hobbesian state of violence and chaos.
Here’s the thing. Such friendships may not win victories, but they yield their fruit as this episode above demonstrates. It’s Christmas and maybe not a bad time for opponents everywhere to think hard about the advantage of burning every conceivable bridge to the other side.
Hats off to Senator Coburn for his friendship with President Obama —and for defending that friendship publicly.
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