The Edmond Sun


December 21, 2010

Sen. Coburn for president?

OKLA. CITY — Partisan politics and political stalemates are at a fever pitch in Washington, D.C. Instead of finding common ground to rebuild the economy, Republicans want to cut taxes and Democrats want to increase spending. Neither side is willing to compromise. The only person in Congress showing fiscal common sense is Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

The nation’s financial situation has grown dramatically worse the past several years. The economic expansion we were so proud of was financed by China.

Today, China is booming and doing for them what our economic growth did for us in the 1950s and 1960s. They’re building a Navy, Air Force and Army, educating scientists, engineers and doing all the things necessary to be a world power. It will take time to become a military threat, but because our government can’t control its spending, China already is our largest creditor and thus a threat to our financial future.

Republicans and Democrats refuse to balance the budget. Both parties worry raising taxes will get them thrown out of office by not only opponents from the opposite party but from right and left wing candidates in their own parties.

Congress is more concerned about getting itself re-elected than it is about stabilizing America’s economy. Our elected leaders are more concerned about their political parties than America’s strength and stability … with one exception.

Coburn is a pragmatist who proudly tells his Republican colleagues and supporters he and the president are personal friends. When Republicans attacked Nancy Pelosi, Coburn — in the middle of his re-election campaign — stood up for Pelosi, calling her a good woman.

Coburn understands the nation’s financial crisis. He’s made it clear the only real solution to our debt and deficit problems is for all of us to pay something.

He knows some taxes must increase and some spending must be cut. He understands Social Security benefits will begin later in life, and we’ll all likely pay in more and longer for it, as well as Medicare.

Coburn is a leader who reads and listens and then decides, not by what the party says but by what he truly thinks is the right thing to do. Can we say that about Palin, McCain, Reid, Kerry, Gingrich, Romney or any other potential presidential candidates?

Coburn has shown the all-too-rare political quality of guts. He’s a conservative on social issues but pragmatist on fiscal matters. One-word political descriptions don’t work. By today’s definition of conservative, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, George Bush 1 or 2 don’t meet the standards.

Coburn understands that situations, times and circumstances affect decision making, not party labels or dogma. He knows America’s future is in jeopardy, unless Congress makes the hard financial choices necessary to balance the budget and pay down the debt.

Some of the actions necessary to accomplish this will have Republicans and Democrats calling him crazy. Given his political courage, perhaps a better thing to call him would be president.

VINCE ORZA, an Edmond resident, is president and CEO of KSBI.

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