If you’re hoping anyone thinks you have class, you haven’t got a prayer

From Dana Milbank at The Washington Post:

Going into Monday morning’s crucial Senate vote on health-care legislation, Republican chances for defeating the bill had come down to a last, macabre hope. They needed one Democratic senator to die — or at least become incapacitated.

At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation’s passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight,” he said. “That’s what they ought to pray.”

Original DVD cover

It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn’t have the 60 they needed.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the number-two Democratic leader, went to the floor to complain about Coburn’s unholy prayer, which followed an unsuccessful request from Democrats for an earlier vote because of Byrd’s “significant health problems.” Said Durbin: “When it reaches a point where we’re praying, asking people to pray, that senators wouldn’t be able to answer the roll call, I think it has crossed the line.”


The day’s ugly words were a fitting finale for the whole sorry health-care debate of 2009. Democrats have finally — and after jettisoning any trace of government-run health care while swallowing new abortion restrictions — found their way to success; the overnight vote proves they have the numbers to prevail in the remaining votes this week. But it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Senate Democratic leaders made the bill fit their fiscal requirements with a series of budgetary gimmicks, and even then the final cost estimate didn’t instill confidence. The Congressional Budget Office sent lawmakers a letter on Sunday saying it goofed and overstated the cost savings from the bill by half a trillion dollars. Then there were the goodies given out to buy the votes of Democratic holdouts, most notably Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), who got a “Cornhusker kickback” in the form of an extra $100 million in Medicaid payments for his state. On the Senate floor Saturday, Republicans forced Democrats into the embarrassing position of objecting to similar payouts to the other 49 states.

But all of that put together wasn’t quite as noxious as the two sentences that escaped Coburn’s lips on the Senate floor. The Oklahoman, who led the effort last week to stall proceedings by forcing an hours-long reading of legislative language, had already lobbed a grenade onto the floor when he said that, because of the legislation, Medicare recipients are “going to die sooner.”

On Saturday, Coburn likened the current situation to the period preceding the Civil War. “The crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that has not seen in over 150 years, and that lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governance,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out there today who…will say, ‘I give up on my government,’ and rightly so.”

Earlier Sunday, Coburn, a medical doctor by training, held another news conference and accused Democrats of “corruption” in drafting the bill.


Coburn was wearing blue jeans, an argyle sweater and a tweed jacket with elbow patches when he walked back into the chamber a few minutes before 1 a.m. He watched without expression when Byrd was wheeled in, dabbing his eyes and nose with tissues, his complexion pale. When his name was called, Byrd shot his right index finger into the air as he shouted “aye,” then pumped his left fist in defiance.


Filed under Ben Nelson, Democrats, Dick Durbin, humor, Medicaid, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Tom Coburn

28 responses to “If you’re hoping anyone thinks you have class, you haven’t got a prayer

  1. hey kids! just want to thank you all for hanging around for reruns and whatever crap i could slap together for a post (see tonight’s entry as an example). i won’t be able to answer every comment, but rest assured that i read every single one of them, and i thank you so much for all the get-well wishes and just for comments in general. love you, raisinettes! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • writechic

      Go, Byrd!

      These C Street nuts are just as vile as human beings come. Before calling for a prayer of ill will for Byrd, Cockburn was the senate resident sexpert on hiding adulterous affairs (Ensign). This is the sort of man you later find out is into bestiality or some other crazy shit.

      • ever notice that people named byrd tend to look like birds?

        coburn is one of the vilest creatures in the senate. if that’s the best oklahoma can do, i will never go to oklahoma. i’d hate to see the worst.

        • writechic

          Now that you mention it, an Okie first told me about “hogging” for enormous quantities of beer. And it’s a butt ugly state.

          If Coburn is what passes for “righteousness” in those parts, why not just slap razor wire around all OK’s borders.

  2. geez53

    Feeling any better yet ? If not, why not? You know its just a matter of positive mental attitude.
    Now if i could just think of something for you to be positive about……

    I got it, Spring is officially one season closer after today.

    • thanks for asking, geez. i feel better now that i started eating again, but for some reason, my throat is still killing me. still really tired all the time, too, but that’s getting a bit better. it’ll probably take a few more days, but i think i’ll live. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Why doesn’t Texas sink into the Gulf? Oklahoma sucks!

  4. Woo Hoo Nonnie will live! Hooray!!!!!!!

    As for this quote:
    โ€œThereโ€™s a lot of people out there today whoโ€ฆwill say, โ€˜I give up on my government,โ€™ and rightly so.โ€

    that moment in history happened for me in the Nixon era. I went through a period where I totally threw in the towel. They are ALL crooks & liars, totally corrupt & evil.
    Not much has changed since then….now that I think about it… but at some point, much as I have quite a bit of distrust– I realized they hold the cards, make the rules etc, so I’d best pay attention.
    Questionable just how much good that has actually done…
    The government is not winning any awards from me. They either screw the voters or are busy screwing other people, besides their spouses.
    Either way we are screwed.

    How’s that for a US Government summary??

    Oh yea & I love the fist pumping Sen. Byrd….
    Up yours Coburn!!!
    Now there’s that holiday spirit!
    Aye indeed.

    • i have a pulse and everything! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      even when watergate was going on, i still had hope in government. it was heartening that rethugs and dems were working together. i remember watching sam ervin and howard baker side by side. things were different back then. i think i lost faith during the clinton impeachment trial. it was a witch hunt, and it signaled the end of civility in congress and the cheapening of the rule of law.

  5. Back in the old days of 1964 when a critical vote on the Civil Rights Act was coming up the SC peckerwood supreme Strom Thurman attacked our good Senator Hightower on the senate floor with his fists. We can only hope the two Okies get taken out by fireballs from heaven the way Aarons two boys were taken out. Shouldn’t have burned that incence you know,

    • inhofe and coburn. i think i’ll call them huff and puff from now on. mean bastards, both of them.

      • sardonyx

        But Coburn ain’t no magic dragon. Still, looks like all that prayer kept Inhofe away from a vote. That one teabagger thought that the prayers got misdirected, and might have done for mister climate denial (aka huff).

        I do wonder whether Coburn’s acquainted with the concepts of hubris and nemesis. He’s a textbook example of the former, and would seem a worthy candidate to be visited by the latter. Too bad the old Greek deities are probably enjoying a long-since-claimed retirement.

        • sar! what a nice surprise to see you over on this side of the blogosphere! ๐Ÿ™‚

          coburn is not a magic dragon. more like a powder puff. he hits people in the face, sometimes makes them sneeze, but doesn’t leave much of an impression.

          p.s. i think hubris and nemesis is the name of the law firm he uses. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. You know, I’m working on a post about how Christianity is misused and abused by politicians.

    I keep getting more material. This is disgusting!

    Tom Coburn should be ashamed of himself, but he’s not. To the Dominionists of C Street, that’s perfectly appropriate stuff.

    Having said that, I think it might have been funny if moments after that “prayer request” every Republican’s car broke down and so they couldn’t make it if they weren’t already there.

    • lol! that would have been perfect, wickle! now, of course, coburn’s spokesperson said he only meant that he hoped that some dems wouldn’t hear their alarm clocks. yeah, right. it was so obvious what he was really saying, and he can’t take it back now.

      • Pure, lame spin.

        Anyone can tell that it’s hogwash, but the mind-numbed will go along with it. Sort of like McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” and Cheney’s “last throes of the insurgency.”

  7. Friend of the court

    nonnie, I hope you feel better soon. Happy Birthday, only six days late. I’m sorry.

  8. Correction: It was Senator Ralph Yarburough that got attacked by the crazed racist, not Hightower.