Sen. Tom Coburn has a very dark view of Washington, D.C. this week.
“We are a mess, I call it the kindergarten in Washington,” the Oklahoma Republican said in a particularly harsh diatribe against D.C. on Thursday’s Morning Joe. “We really lack leadership and what we have is selfish desires for political power, rather than thoughtful consideration about what’s in the best interest of our country as a whole.”
“The one thing that’s lacking, I think, in Congress and in the White House is leadership. How’d we get there? How is it that Harry Reid never put bills on the floor until two weeks ago for appropriations?…Are we spending too little money as a federal government, the contention by the president would be yes, but where’s the leadership to solve those problems, where’s the meetings? The fact is, we don’t have any leadership.”
Coburn has long criticized Senate leadership; earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid turned complaints of bad leadership against Coburn, suggesting that he “should look in the mirror” at his own long-time crusade against spending.
But this week, Coburn turned his condemnation against his own party when Tea Party senators who threatened to shut down the government unless Congress’ budget defunds the president’s healthcare bill. Far-right commentator Erick Erickson immediately criticized him for toeing “the leadership line.”
Coburn was one of Obamacare’s loudest critics when the bill passed, but he slammed his colleagues for threatening a shutdown when the move wouldn’t actually defund the healthcare law. Coburn told the Washington Examiner he’d “be leading the charge if I thought this would work. But it will not work.” He added: “The strategy that has been laid out is a good way for Republicans to lose the House.”
Coburn said he expects rushed, political “maneuvering” from now until September 30th, when a budget deal must be struck to avoid a shutdown.
“At the end of September 30th, you’ll see a [continuing resolution] that will continue the government, which is terrible. We’re not doing our jobs if that’s what we’re doing.”
For more, watch the full interview with Sen. Coburn.