Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has a little mind. He's also a fool. He's a grotesque hobgoblin who doesn't even have the decency to wait for scores of constituent bodies to be dug out of the wreckage before announcing that aid to his state must first be offset by cuts.
From the Huffington Post:
Coburn spokesman John Hart on Monday evening confirmed that the senator will seek to ensure that any additional funding for tornado disaster relief in Oklahoma be offset by cuts to federal spending elsewhere in the budget. "That's always been his position [to offset disaster aid]," Hart said. "He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort." Those offsets were achieved in 1995 by tapping federal funds that had not yet been appropriated.You do have to give the guy an A for consistency. Coburn is treating Oklahoma exactly the same way he treats the other 49 states -- with all the sadistic intensity of a Charles Dickens villain. Most recently, he voted against Hurricane Sandy relief and against increasing the FEMA budget.
Emerson, quoted above, was an American contemporary of Dickens and the pacifistic founder of Transcendentalism. But ironically, he has become co-opted by the anti-government Tea Party movement, which in turn has been co-opted with great success by the Koch Brothers/Fox News oligarchic cult of selfishness now being represented by Coburn & Co. The famous line about consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds is from the essay called Self-Reliance, written as an anti-government rallying cry for independent thought. But the Tom Coburns of the world have now twisted Emersonian philosophy into a rallying cry for slashing the social safety net, for urging Americans to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and pull themselves out of the rubble, whether it be natural or created by the global financial Mafia. Emerson's emphasis on the spiritual over the scientific also fits in nicely with the creed of climate change denialism and the anti-intellectualism being peddled by the right wing in order to keep the heaving masses in their place and the plutocracy on its perch.
In a New York Times Magazine essay published in late 2011, Benjamin Anastas actually went so far as to blame Emerson himself for the rise of pathological right-wing selfishness:
The excessive love of individual liberty that debases our national politics? It found its original poet in Ralph Waldo. The plague of devices that keep us staring into the shallow puddle of our dopamine reactions, caressing our touch screens for another fix of our own importance? That’s right: it all started with Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” Our fetish for the authentically homespun and the American affliction of ignoring volumes of evidence in favor of the flashes that meet the eye, the hunches that seize the gut? It’s Emerson again, skulking through Harvard Yard in his cravat and greasy undertaker’s waistcoat, while in his mind he’s trailing silken robes fit for Zoroaster and levitating on the grass.That's quite a stretch. Blaming Emerson for the rise of John Galt is like blaming Jesus for the rise of the Christian right. The Tom Coburns of the world have always pretended to love Christianity at the same time they've thumbed their noses at the radical socialism of its founder.
It's not even about the individual liberty they profess to love. It's about their pathological love of money, and making sure that once it's confiscated from the national treasury, it finds its way into the right plutocratic pockets. It's all about their pathological hatred of humanity.
The risk of tornadoes remains high in Oklahoma today. The risk to Oklahomans of the toxic stormcloud known as Tom Coburn will remain elevated for the foreseeable future, until that magical day when they come to their senses and send him on a one-way transcendental trajectory to somewhere over the political oblivion rainbow.