MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 25, 2014

Coburn’s work will be missed


— Tom Coburn’s announcement that he plans to retire from the U.S. Senate two years before his term is to expire is sad but understandable.

Coburn, who announced in November that he is undergoing treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer, said in his announcement the decision isn’t about his health, prognosis or even his “hopes and desires.”

The most telling statement from Coburn’s announcement is this: “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.”

Coburn has fought to fix America’s broken government for a long while.

No matter how hard he fights in Washington to make the place better for his children and grandchildren, they may be best served by having more time with him than in a fruitless fight with his colleagues.

No matter how much government waste he points out, no matter how much he is willing to work with the other side, and no matter how much he is willing to perturb members of his party, government won’t change until the mindset of the American people changes.

That has to be frustrating for him.

Coburn is the champion of an efficient government. Government works best when it’s not bloated, and Coburn battled long to shine a light on the enormous bloat.

It’s sad that his findings and his work fall on deaf ears with his colleagues in Congress.

We won’t miss some of his statements that made Oklahoma look like a regressive state — who can forget his MTV flap or his statement about rampant lesbianism in southeast Oklahoma schools?

But that’s just a small sliver of Coburn.

Coburn could not be corrupted. Big interests didn’t faze him. A sign of a good politician is when both political parties are frustrated with him or her.

Coburn isn’t a good politician. He’s a great politician.

America needs more people who are willing to fight government inefficiency as lawmakers.

We wish Coburn luck in his future endeavors.