While physician-turned-Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma admittedly describes President Barack Obama as a “good personal friend,” he doesn’t pull any punches in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV when asked if the president deserves a second term.
“No, he does not,” Coburn declared flatly on Tuesday. “I think his leadership is sorely lacking on the major problems facing our country. He was handed a tough economy. I think many of the programs he put forward and passed when they had absolute control of the Congress have been exactly the opposite prescription that we should have for our country.”
Dr. Coburn, who has delivered more than 4,000 babies since graduating from the University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1983, insists that it’s possible to oppose someone’s political positions but still be the person’s friend.
“So even though I’m a good personal friend of him, I absolutely disagree with him on 98 or 99 percent of the issues,” said Coburn, who is married to a former Miss Oklahoma. “You actually can oppose people and still be friends with them. It doesn’t have to be rancor and harshness. You can actually have a disagreement. I yearn for the date when we have real debates in the Senate again.”
In his new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America,” Coburn unabashedly prescribes firing 90 percent of Congress to address the burgeoning national debt and other issues that threaten to plunge the U.S. into what he fears could be an economic collapse worse than the Great Depression though he admits that the percentage is somewhat of an exaggeration.
“I said that tongue in cheek in terms of relating to Jack Welch’s program at GE where they drop the bottom 10 percent of their employees every year and replace them,” Coburn says of his book, adding that the point was an important one: “We owe almost 16 trillion in debt. Everybody knows that’s not sustainable. But we’re going to add $1.3 to the debt this year and you’ve not seen one thing come out of Congress that addresses that. Why is that?”
He blames career politicians.
“Congress is not addressing the problems in front of the country and the reason is careerism,” he stressed, adding that most people are not aware that the government is twice the size it was in 2001. “People are not going to do what is necessary because they think it might affect their re-election. And when we’re thinking about the next election — always ahead of the problems of the country — the country is ill-served and my prescription for that is you have to change who’s here.”