Tom Coburn: Wait, I’m a RINO now because I disagree with Ted Cruz on tactics?

posted at 6:41 pm on September 26, 2013 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “RINO surprised to discover he’s a RINO.” No, no, kidding. It’s a testament to how much goodwill Coburn has earned with grassroots righties that he remains a minor player in the RINO/true conservative squabble over defunding despite having been one of the first big-name Republicans to publicly criticize Cruz’s tactics. Or maybe I’m wrong and he’s simply being ignored because a more attractive target for right-wing wrath has inserted himself into this. Coburn gets a pass vis-a-vis McCain, I think, not just because of differences in their record but because Coburn takes no obvious personal pleasure in rebuking the wacko birds. When he tells you it’s too bad that Cruz is doomed to fail, you believe him. Not so Maverick. In fact, there’s an odd symmetry between Coburn as low-key opponent of trying to defund and Mike Lee as a (comparatively) low-key supporter. Both of them are being overshadowed on their respective sides by guys who are lightning rods for criticism. The left (and Peter King) will come away from this declaring Ted Cruz some kind of terrorist but Lee will sail on undamaged.

I think Coburn’s right, though, that confusion about what’s possible here risks disappointment and demotivation next year. Tactically, things have reached the point where even some grassroots conservatives who are following this closely aren’t sure what’s going on. Here’s something one of Orrin Hatch’s staffers posted yesterday:

The confusion over cloture is understandable, but it comes on top of the earlier confusion about Cruz wanting to filibuster the House bill that actually defunds ObamaCare and on top of the broader uncertainty about which side would suffer more from a shutdown over defunding and how badly. Ironically, I think the more convoluted the tactical debate becomes, the easier it is to simply choose a side between the RINOs and true conservatives and start hammering the other as sellouts/grandstanders. Democrats insist that Cruz’s filibuster will achieve nothing; Coburn, whatever his feelings about ObamaCare, agrees with them on at least that much. If he’s not willing to risk a months-long shutdown in a quixotic bid to pressure the other party into defunding the biggest “accomplishment” of the Obama presidency, then he’s kinda sorta “with” the Democrats, isn’t he? QED.

Update: If Tom Coburn’s the new president of the RINOs, Rick Perry must be his VP.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

RINO, hypocrite, liar whatever. Tom Coburn lifted his ban on Katherine Archuleta to head the Office of Personnel Management the same day Obama granted him the waiver from Obamacare for congress and their staff. Any body hear of Tom Coburn complaining about receiving that special treatment? Both happened on Wednesday August 7.

sorry if this was already covered in the comments

DanMan on September 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Wait,yep you sure are.Don’t you love it when these unprincipled,corrupt bureaucrats get caught being spineless and they immediately attack the principled conservative who is actually fighting to advance a conservative agenda? Where have your tactics gotten us Coburn?

redware on September 27, 2013 at 7:36 PM

No, Senator, you’re a RINO because you choose to stab what is realistically the best hope for a Republican future in the back, in public.

Other than that, you’re the perfect Republican statesman.

applebutter on September 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

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