Coburn: Debate about birth-control mandate “blown out of proportion”

posted at 7:20 pm on February 9, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn — a stalwart against government overreach — disagrees with the Obama administration’s mandate that even religiously-affiliated employers provide employees with insurance that covers contraception, but he doesn’t think it represents a particularly drastic departure from the president’s other policies.

“This is blown out of proportion,” he said. “It is an important point in terms of religious liberty, but it’s a consequence of having too big of a government.”

Coburn acknowledged that the program has “professed benefits,” but said “in the long run we all lose when the government is that involved in our life.”

“There’s nothing wrong with their motivation — they’re well-meaning people,” he said. “But the consequence is that we lose liberty.”

Perhaps he has a point; after all, it’s not as though this were the first indication we’ve had that the president wants to prescribe what constitutes “health care.” As Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal, inflexibility has long been a hallmark of those who seek to transform the nation for the public good:

Older Americans have sought for years to drop out of Medicare and contract for their own health insurance. They cannot without forfeiting their Social Security payments. They effectively are locked in. Nor can the poor escape Medicaid, even as the care it gives them degrades. Farmers, ranchers and loggers struggled for years to protect their livelihoods beneath uncompromising interpretations of federal environmental laws. They, too, had to comply. University athletic programs were ground up by the U.S. Education Department’s rote, forced gender balancing of every sport offered.

With the transformers, it never stops. In September, the Obama Labor Department proposed rules to govern what work children can do on farms. After an outcry from rural communities over the realities of farm traditions, the department is now reconsidering a “parental exemption.” Good luck to the farmers.

The Catholic Church has stumbled into the central battle of the 2012 presidential campaign: What are the limits to Barack Obama’s transformative presidency? The Catholic left has just learned one answer: When Mr. Obama says, “Everyone plays by the same set of rules,” it means they conform to his rules. What else could it mean?

If Coburn had meant that objectors to the mandate are overly dramatic to link it to religious liberty, then I would have vehemently disagreed with him. In that sense, the debate is not “overblown.” But if what he means is that we should have woken up before now — and that this doesn’t fundamentally change the fight we’re waging, which is to repeal Obamacare entirely — then he’s right. An exclusive focus on the Obama administration’s overreach in the case of the contraception mandate just isn’t quite broad enough: We still need complete repeal.


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Senator Coburn, you’ve obviously been in D.C. too long; you need to take a few days off and relax from the stress of “fighting the good fight” — maybe go to the beach in L.A. and toss a frisbee…huh, he can’t do what?…..you’re kidding, right?

opaobie on February 9, 2012 at 9:51 PM

I think you all fail to see what he means when he says there’s nothing wrong with their motivation. He’s talking about the constituents who support his colleagues on the other side of the isle, not the colleagues and Obama himself. You see, when you’re in the Senate, and you’d all know this if you spent a minute of your time in real political circles, acting and talking like you all do here on HA will get you marginalized faster than you can say Allapundit.

If he were in the House, he would be forgiven for more strident tones, but he is not. So you need to deal with this and if it bothers you so much, then why don’t all of you geniuses run for office or actually get involved instead of sitting around on this stupid site and muttering in ways that have zero impact?

SuperBunny on February 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Coburn is part of the old beltway culture that still thinks they were sent to Washington to craft compromise solutions to public problems. He looks at his colleagues on the other side of the isle as potential allies and negotiating partners.
Wrong dummy!!! The modern Senator or Representative is now being elected by constituencies that have very little interest in Washington solving problems, but a consuming passion with the goal of eviscerating Washington. Washington is no longer seen as the source of solutions, it’s the source of most of the problems.
And Tom Coburn hasn’t realized it yet. The road took a slow curve in the fog and Tom didn’t see it, and now he’s standing out in a field wondering where everybody else went.

Lew on February 9, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I think you all fail to see what he means when he says there’s nothing wrong with their motivation. He’s talking about the constituents who support his colleagues on the other side of the isle, not the colleagues and Obama himself. You see, when you’re in the Senate, and you’d all know this if you spent a minute of your time in real political circles, acting and talking like you all do here on HA will get you marginalized faster than you can say Allapundit.
If he were in the House, he would be forgiven for more strident tones, but he is not. So you need to deal with this and if it bothers you so much, then why don’t all of you geniuses run for office or actually get involved instead of sitting around on this stupid site and muttering in ways that have zero impact?
SuperBunny on February 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

“Real political circles”…you mean where they say dishonest things that are nowhere close to being true in order to kiss @$$es on the other side of the aisle and go to “real political” cocktail parties? That’s the problem here…not a solution we are seeking to perpetuate.

You sure pay a lot of attention to people muttering on a stupid site having zero impact. What gives?

CycloneCDB on February 9, 2012 at 10:22 PM

SuperBunny on February 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

When the torches and pitchforks come to DC, the compromisers aren’t going to let you into their shelters. Try to stay wet and run fast.

TugboatPhil on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Coburn is right on all counts.
Including, yes, the liberals are “well-meaning.” Completely wrong, but well-meaning. Because they think what they’re doing is the right thing to do. Being completely, horribly wrong about the proper scope and role of government doesn’t make one evil. It just makes one… completely wrong. And yes, we should fight against these policies. But conservatives ought not go around calling liberals “evil” and so on, because it most certainly won’t win over any converts or persuade the independents to tip more conservative. I’m pretty sure Reagan never called Democrats “evil.” (That term was reserved for foreign enemies of the country.) He won people over with optimism, wit, and steadfastness in his own convictions.
acasilaco on February 9, 2012 at 9:29 PM

This.

Boomer_Sooner on February 9, 2012 at 11:03 PM

Tom Coburn is a flake. He is a closet liberal beneath his conservative record.

CoolChange80 on February 10, 2012 at 1:58 AM

NO! They are “not” well meaning people. They are evil baby killers and liars and sodomites. Coburn is trying to be a nice guy because the democrats have spent years accusing republicans of all sorts cruel and cold behaviors but it was all projection. This is politics and nice guys finish last because there is just one winner in an election.

dunce on February 10, 2012 at 2:24 AM

The problem here is that Coburn’s not nearly as smart as he thinks he is, and we’re not nearly as stupid as he obviously thinks we are.

sartana on February 10, 2012 at 4:51 AM

When I was in school, we had an 8th grade graduation. When I asked my mom why, she explained that when she grew up in the same hometown, a great number of boys dropped out of school in 8th grade to help out on the family farm. So it was thought that they deserved a graduation too: after all, they could read, write and do basic math, and their strong young backs were needed on the family farm.

Can anyone imagine this happening today? Anyone? *sigh* Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

Grace_is_sufficient on February 10, 2012 at 6:47 AM

If Coburn had meant that objectors to the mandate are overly dramatic to link it to religious liberty, then I would have vehemently disagreed with him.

Disagree away, because that’s what he means. He’s been in the Senate too long to vehemently disagree with a lefty Senator on philosophy. They’re all “well meaning people”. Go home, Coburn.

Jaibones on February 10, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Senator Coburn is correct. We should not be arguing over which groups get exceptions to HHS rules concerning health insurance but that HHS has this authority over any company, organization, or individual.

Nomas on February 10, 2012 at 7:45 AM

So you need to deal with this and if it bothers you so much, then why don’t all of you geniuses run for office or actually get involved instead of sitting around on this stupid site and muttering in ways that have zero impact?

SuperBunny on February 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Says the commenter who is herself sitting around on this stupid site and muttering in ways that have zero impact.

Gotta love the irony.

AZCoyote on February 10, 2012 at 8:04 AM

This is what Coburn meant to say:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

Dexter_Alarius on February 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM

They are not well meaning people, senator, they are suffocating the life out of this country. Good thing we got that westward expansion out of the way before the govt got too big to regulate it. I thought the Ag dept had forgotten about that no kid on the tractor mandate, silly me. This must be their way of creating more farm jobs for illegals.

Kissmygrits on February 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Time to primary Coburn and every sitting Pub. in the House and Senate. EVERYONE of them. Spare none. If this is done for the next 10 years, we will clean this cesspool of it’s stench and the bastiges will start paying attention to the voters. Even if we fail to unseat some of the scum, we will cost them money and weaken them for the general. So what if a dem. ends up beating them. That just frees up a slot for a conservative to run in the next election.

they lie on February 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Coburn acknowledged that the program has “professed benefits,” but said “in the long run we all lose when the government is that involved in our life.”

Santorum wouldn’t agree. So who’s a better spokesman for conservatives, SoCons? Coburn or Santorum?

MadisonConservative on February 9, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Ouch! That left a mark

Minarchy on February 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Count me too among those who scoff at the notion that the Obamunists are “well-meaning people.” “There’s nothing wrong with their motivation”??!! Oh, really? Let’s have George Washington weigh in on this, shall we?

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Sir Rants-A-Lot on February 10, 2012 at 3:23 PM

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Sir Rants-A-Lot on February 10, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Smart guy that George Washington

whbates on February 10, 2012 at 5:17 PM

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