Brutal: Tom Coburn quits the Gang of Six

posted at 6:02 pm on May 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

Remember what Alan Simpson said after Obama’s disastrous, demagogic, compromise-destroying attack on Paul Ryan a few weeks ago? He knew he’d just seen any chance of a deal between the Republican and Democratic leaderships go up in smoke. Quote:

“Just pray for the Gang of Six,” he said. “You guys your age, keep praying.”

What happens if the Gang of Six fails? Mr. Simpson was asked.

“Guys like you will be picking grit with the chickens when you are 65,” he replied.

Start boning up on grit-picking, my friends:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced Tuesday that he would pull out of the talks with two other Republican and three Democratic colleagues…

“We can’t bridge the gulf of where we need to go on mandatory spending,” Corburn said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t see that there’s going to be any fruition in continuing them at this time.”

Coburn has insisted for weeks that Social Security reform, including cutting benefits, would have to be part of any Gang of Six deal. But Democrats such as Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said they wanted to deal with Social Security reform separately, not as part of a broad deficit-reduction package…

“We’re at an impasse,” Coburn said. “There’s no reason to sit and talk about the same things over and over and not get any movement.

He allowed that there’s a slim chance talks could pick up again, but if the sticking point is whether or not to include Social Security reform in their grand bargain on the deficit, then realistically they’re not going to find common ground. Saxby Chambliss and Mike Crapo are still part of the “Gang” on the GOP side, but neither one of them has the sort of conservative cred that’ll be needed to sell a compromise in the unlikely event that they reach one. (Chambliss, in fact, is already under suspicion on the right for appearing a bit too eager to include tax hikes in the deal.) Coburn, necessarily, was going to have to be the point man on that, and now he’s gone. Maybe it’s a stunt designed to shake up the negotiations and force an agreement that’ll lure him back, but if it doesn’t work, then the only budget game in town right now is the comically pathetic Biden group, whose own members aren’t taking it seriously. Said Jim DeMint, who’s not a member but has it pegged, “It will be historic, but it will be meaningless.” Exactly. Which leaves us … where on entitlement reform?

I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.


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I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

And that’s if we’re luckier than the European PIIGs.

Steve Eggleston on May 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

The Left hate their progeny.

The elderly and the AARP do too.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

It seems the Democrats WANT a collapse, if they’re this intransigent about “mandatory” spending.

JeffWeimer on May 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

And that’s if we’re luckier than the European PIIGs.

Steve Eggleston on May 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

It’s

P – ortugal
I – reland
G – reece
S – pain
S

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Good for Tom Coburn!..:)

Dire Straits on May 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

Let it be. The kindergarten needs to wake up.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

PIIGS:

Portugal
Ireland
Italy
Greece
Spain

steebo77 on May 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Good. Any deal the gang of six came up with would have been a capitulation to Obama.

angryed on May 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

(Chambliss, in fact, is already under suspicion on the right for appearing a bit too eager to include tax hikes in the deal.)

Amen and good for Coburn.

cynccook on May 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Which leaves us … where on entitlement reform?
I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

I think you answered your own question, AP. It’s human nature to not deal with these sorts of things until we have to. And that’s especially true of politicians. The problem with a financial collapse is that it’ll ruin everyone’s lives. And unfortunately I suspect the Beltway crowd’s solution then will be monetizing our debt. If printing a trillion or two is doing this much harm to the dollar, I don’t wanna imagine how things will look then.

Doughboy on May 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

collapse was the plan all along.

Conservalicious on May 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

Or a conservative President with strong conservative majorities in the House and Senate.

Or veto-proof conservative majorities in the House and Senate.

steebo77 on May 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

It seems the Democrats WANT a collapse, if they’re this intransigent about “mandatory” spending.

JeffWeimer on May 17, 2011 at 6:06 PM

I think they do. Collapse would put all their constituents out in the street demanding whatever. Maybe they just plan on a total overthrow and imposition of a socialist state. The constitution and property rights have just been in their way for a long time.

We’ll be in for a long period of darkness.

trigon on May 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Or a conservative President with strong conservative majorities in the House and Senate.

Or veto-proof conservative majorities in the House and Senate.

steebo77 on May 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Have you taken a look at the Republican Presidential wannabes? Not a conservative in the bunch.

Dr Evil on May 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

steebo77 on May 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Darn that Italy – I liked it better before :)

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Re: Dr Evil
I think Herman Cain is a conservative.

Conservalicious on May 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Coburn has insisted for weeks that Social Security reform, including cutting benefits, would have to be part of any Gang of Six deal. But Democrats such as Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said they wanted to deal with Social Security reform separately, not as part of a broad deficit-reduction package…

Conrad and the other dems refuse to believe that the party is over. We can no longer raid SS taxes to cover the deficits, because the SS is running a negative cash flow too.

Vashta.Nerada on May 17, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Have you taken a look at the Republican Presidential wannabes? Not a conservative in the bunch.

Dr Evil on May 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Certainly not in the “serious” “electable” bunch. Second look at the unelectable?

gryphon202 on May 17, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Ron Paul brings up a great point about selling the Fort Knox gold today. The federal government has all kinds of assets it can sell of to avoid hitting the debt limit: gold, national parks, buildings, military bases here and Iraq and Afghanistan, military aircraft and vehicles, highways, post office, etc.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Maybe it’s a stunt designed to shake up the negotiations and force an agreement that’ll lure him back

That’s not Doc Coburn’s way. If he walked away, he’s done.

lizzie beth on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Ron Paul brings up a great point about selling the Fort Knox gold today. The federal government has all kinds of assets it can sell of to avoid hitting the debt limit: gold, national parks, buildings, military bases here and Iraq and Afghanistan, military aircraft and vehicles, highways, post office, etc.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Can the U.S. do a Chapter 11? Maybe the international court at The Hague can oversee that.

Also forgot that we can hire out our military as mercenaries.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Good for Tom. What took him so long?

rightwingyahooo on May 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM

No, but International court at The Hague would be a good option for Bush war crimes trail and torture trail.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:32 PM

But it’s those darn wing-nuts refusing to raise the debt limit that are gonna cause all of our problems!!!!

Aquateen Hungerforce on May 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Lew Rockwell has a great podcast out about how Obama will declare a national emergency in the name of fighting “terrorists” as a work around the debt ceiling if it comes to that.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Defund the government in the middle of the so called “war on terror.”

These wing nuts must be the side the “Al Qaeda.”

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM

The problem with a financial collapse is that it’ll ruin everyone’s lives. And unfortunately I suspect the Beltway crowd’s solution then will be monetizing our debt. If printing a trillion or two is doing this much harm to the dollar, I don’t wanna imagine how things will look then.

Doughboy on May 17, 2011 at 6:12 PM

“solution then will be monetizing the debt”? We’ve been monetizing the debt for months now- see QE1 and QE2. We pumped in $600 billion of funny money and that’s why stocks keep rising despite all the bad news. It’s just a crazy house of cards. The Fed is going to keep buying U.S. Treasuries after QE2 ends in June, even if they don’t call it QE3. Otherwise we default. How is it that we still have AAA ratings when we’re the largest debtor nation? How is it that Geithner can say “there is no risk” of losing the AAA rating? Does it even mean anything anymore?

NTWR on May 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM

The debt ceiling prevents the government from issuing more treasury bonds though. The federal reserve is capable of buying more, but if they aren’t issuing any…well there is nothing to buy.

That’s why Obama will need a work around in the name of so “war on terror” and national security of course. Republicans love that kind of thing.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

…those stealth copters the JOSC assassination teams fly around in have to be worth a few bucks along with those aircraft carriers and national parks.

Start selling them Obama.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Why not just harvest the trillions of natural gas and oil under our feet…

… and sell it to the world for a tidy profit?

Seven Percent Solution on May 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Maybe the General Wefare clause of the Constitution gives Obama authority to sell more bonds despite the ceiling?

Terror War, national security.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Tom Coburn is a kind man, a smart man, and a patriot. But having watched from a very close angle these same kinds of fights at the highest levels of the Episcopal Church (where an eerily similar battle is being waged), I can tell you that Coburn is doing our side more harm than good. Here’s why:

First, precisely because he is kind and smart and patriotic, whenever he sits down with Democrats who aren’t serious about getting our financial situation under control, he legitimizes their goofball positions. By his appearing as so reasonable a man, he makes it easy for the media, the mushy middle voters, and that camp of Senate and House Republicans immediately to his right, to look at intransigent Democrats – fools all – as being reasonable also. This is not good for the country.

Second, because he is kind and smart and a patriot, he is like Charlie Brown and the football: He will keep going back to the Dems and their feckless commissions over and over and over. All that has to happen is for the dust to settle over *this* particular incident, and for a new Alan Simpson to ask him to join in some new talks among “moderates,” and Coburn will take his seat again on the next Committee To Nowhere that gets formed.

Third, when the inevitable happens (he realizes that there’s no reasoning or compromising with these idiot losers) he will walk away in frustration. At which point the liberals get to characterize HIM as the problem, not the Democrats who are either too clueless or too wedded to their ideology to compromise. He becomes the embodiment of “The Party of No,” and plays right into the narrative of Republicans as meanies and extremists. He can’t compromise. He quits before he’s given it a chance. He walks away when the going gets tough. you’ve seen it a thousand times – you can write the sound bites yourself.

So, it has to stop. If this country is going to avoid complete financial collapse, it’s going to be because enough people with enough backbone get sent to Washington with orders to come back with their shields, or on them.

greggriffith on May 17, 2011 at 6:46 PM

So rather than some reform, and cuts….Dems would rather continue on the same path, misuse the money as govt has for so many years, then tax the hell out of us, for their mistakes, or let the country nose dive. Perfect!!!

capejasmine on May 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM

I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

I’ve suspected from the first that that is where this will go. The guys in charge either don’t believe the situation is serious, they’re too cowardly to change, or a collapse is what they wanted all along. I suspect one and two, to tell you the truth, although I’m sure Obama has his sights set on three.

People don’t change ingrained behavior easily. Most of the time they will continue on, telling themselves the situation isn’t all that bad anyhow. And when the boss tries to force a change, they ignore it as much as possible and quickly return to their old habits. This group isn’t listening to the boss, and I’m sure don’t think the situation is so bad. I doubt they’ll believe it when everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

I fear for this country.

hachiban on May 17, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Note to self: Buy stock in Reynolds Wrap.

Patrick S on May 17, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Oh well.

hillbillyjim on May 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Defund the government in the middle of the so called “war on terror.”
These wing nuts must be the side the “Al Qaeda.”

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM

No, but you are and always have been as long as the terrorists were against George Bush. Trolls like Spathi (the cowardly clam) not spatha (the Roman battle sword) will take any side of the argument as long as it is agsinst GWB. By the way dumbo, “Al Queda” doesn’t have to be in quotes unless you are too dumb to understand that is a proper noun, the name of an organization.

Old Country Boy on May 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM

The Pubs should be willing to raise taxes….after a 10 year moratorium on spending increases with substantial cuts every year.

rickyricardo on May 17, 2011 at 6:53 PM

No, but International court at The Hague would be a good option for Bush war crimes trail and torture trail.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Yeah, that’s a terrific idea; give up our sovereignty to some international authority?

God, you’re an idiot.

hillbillyjim on May 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM

So rather than some reform, and cuts….Dems would rather continue on the same path, misuse the money as govt has for so many years, then tax the hell out of us, for their mistakes, or let the country nose dive. Perfect!!!

capejasmine on May 17, 2011 at 6:47 PM

That’s about the size of it.

But I wouldn’t completely blame the politicians.

People are going to get the mess that they voted for. Look at the poll numbers for Ryan’s plan. Some voters know what’s going on but too many believe that the solution is to tax the rich more.

Milton Friedman once said that the key to democracy lies in not electing the “right people” but to make it political advantageous for the wrong people to do the right thing. We’ll never have a complete choir of angels for our representatives but we need to turn up the heat on the fallen angels that we do have.

PackerBronco on May 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Coburn is finally growing up.

burt on May 17, 2011 at 6:57 PM

those stealth copters the JOSC assassination teams fly around in have to be worth a few bucks along with those aircraft carriers and national parks.

Start selling them Obama.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Brilliant idea. Sell your military equipment that gives a decided advantage over the enemy so it can be used against you. Good grief, what a moron.

ICBM on May 17, 2011 at 6:58 PM

We all suffer from the Normalcy Bias. We don’t think things could get that bad in this country. But we are already just moving our debt around without paying any of it off, we’re even increasing our spending. It’s insanity.

Our nation has reached a point where it is paying out 90% of the money it raises each month from the sales of U.S. treasuries, just to pay back the holders of maturing U.S. treasuries their principle and interest earned. The U.S. needs to continuously sell larger amounts of new debt, just to stay afloat, so there is no conceivable way that any unbiased organization can possibly give the U.S. a credit rating of AAA. The only reason we haven’t defaulted on our debts is the Federal Reserve’s ability to create monetary inflation and the world’s willingness to hoard U.S. dollars due to its status as the world’s reserve currency.

NTWR on May 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

think Herman Cain is a conservative.

Conservalicious on May 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

I’m damn sure bout Palin

katy the mean old lady on May 17, 2011 at 7:10 PM

steebo77 on May 17, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Thanks, steebo.

Steve Eggleston on May 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

No, but International court at The Hague would be a good option for Bush war crimes trail and torture trail.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:32 PM

What kind of trail are you talking here?One thru the forest or a footpath in the woods?

docflash on May 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

So… I heard Iceland is coming back strong after they declared bankrupcy.

I think they refused to bail out their bands though… so we would limp along, more like Japan.

petunia on May 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Lew Rockwell has a great podcast out about how Obama will declare a national emergency in the name of fighting “terrorists” as a work around the debt ceiling if it comes to that.

Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Yeah,I’ll jump right on it./

katy the mean old lady on May 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

What kind of trail are you talking here?One thru the forest or a footpath in the woods?

docflash on May 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Contrails

ICBM on May 17, 2011 at 7:17 PM

and the hits just keep on comin’

cmsinaz on May 17, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Did anyone really believe that the Democrats would be logical in these negotiations? Coburn was just wasting his time or maybe he kept the other two GOP rats from capitulating completely. Very few people in DC politics really want to cut spending and that is for both sides!

bluemarlin on May 17, 2011 at 7:22 PM

I guess it’s going to take a fiscal collapse after all.

it’s what i’ve been saying all along, we have to hit rock bottom before anything truly gets accomplished….we are a reactive country

cmsinaz on May 17, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Since my fellow senior citizens and Baby Boomers, many of whom are Tea Partiers, insist that no entitlement reform affects them, then, yeah, I guess it will take a fiscal collapse after all.

SukieTawdry on May 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Since my fellow senior citizens and Baby Boomers, many of whom are Tea Partiers, insist that no entitlement reform affects them, then, yeah, I guess it will take a fiscal collapse after all.

SukieTawdry on May 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I’ll be worm food,not starving in the gutter,before the cuts take effect.

katy the mean old lady on May 17, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Maybe the IMF can lend us some money and then forgive the loan.

SukieTawdry on May 17, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Just Say (Dr.) No!

Good on Coburn.

SuperCool on May 17, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Ron Paul brings up a great point about selling the Fort Knox gold today.
Spathi on May 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Has anyone actually verified recently that the gold is still there?

txhsmom on May 17, 2011 at 7:40 PM

Besides, I thought the amount of gold supposedly in the vault would only get us thru half a months worth of govt spending or some such ridiculous number.

txhsmom on May 17, 2011 at 7:42 PM

US debt in numbers we can all understand.

“We” are earning $58,000/yr.
“We” are spending $75,000/yr.
“We” have a credit card balance of $327,000/yr.
Yikes.

txhsmom on May 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

yr on cc balance

txhsmom on May 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

He’ll use that “good and proper” clause thingy.

44Magnum on May 17, 2011 at 8:08 PM

So, it has to stop. If this country is going to avoid complete financial collapse………
greggriffith on May 17, 2011 at 6:46 PM

We aren’t going to avoid it. buy food, water, and ammo.

DFCtomm on May 17, 2011 at 8:35 PM

A great many Americans walked out with you Tom…..Way to Go!

Herb on May 17, 2011 at 8:41 PM

We aren’t going to avoid it. buy food, water, and ammo.

DFCtomm on May 17, 2011 at 8:35 PM

My latest order came in today. ‘cheaper than dirt’, that’s all i’m saying.

Midas on May 17, 2011 at 8:44 PM

SukieTawdry on May 17, 2011 at 7:23 PM
Sukie. Did you really know Berthold Brecht? Did you also know Lotte and Luci? Or do you just think it is neat to borrow a name from Drei Phennig Oper?

Old Country Boy on May 17, 2011 at 8:59 PM

There was NO NEED for the GOP to take on entitlements when they only had ONE house of Congress.

The thing to have done – would have been to ELIMINATE STUPID DISCRETIONARY STUFF. Raise the Debt Limit? Ah sure – but that means PPP, NEA, NPR, PBS, and a whole host of subsidies go out the window!

We could have KICKED ASS and eliminated every stupid discretionary spending item in the budget – and more. No way the Dims would allow the Debt Ceiling to crash on us for PPP. No way they’ll let it happen for NPR … it’s politically untenable for them.

But Medicare and Social Security – now … that gets Mr. and Mrs John Q. Public involved – as stakeholders – or … stake loosers.

We could have eliminated all stupid discretionary spending – WON the races in 2012 and with a GOP government – reformed entitlements THEN. And it would have been a lot easier because we would not have been asking Mr and Mrs John Q to sacrifice FIRST … we’d have eliminated the idiots from the government books first.

But – let’s not let common sense get in the way of the GOP’s self-destruction shall we?

HondaV65 on May 17, 2011 at 9:12 PM

We aren’t going to avoid it. buy food, water, and ammo.

DFCtomm on May 17, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Be thankful you can afford to stockpile.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 17, 2011 at 9:52 PM

We aren’t going to avoid it. buy food, water, and ammo.

DFCtomm on May 17, 2011 at 8:35 PM

check

tinkerthinker on May 17, 2011 at 10:41 PM

HondaV65 on May 17, 2011 at 9:12 PM

That’s the truth!

pannw on May 17, 2011 at 10:48 PM

It’s going to take another election, another massive repudiation of lefty economic and regulatory policies. Democrats will spend decades trying to recover if Republicans will cut away big chunks of Big Government.

exdeadhead on May 18, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Looks like Dr. Coburn found the mind he somehow misplaced.

Mr. Grump on May 18, 2011 at 6:25 AM

A tax hike on those freeloaders making less than $100k per year would make up a lot of the difference. It’d never happen. But it is one I’d support.

{^_^}

herself on May 18, 2011 at 7:16 AM