It's been a congressional mainstay since the drafting of the Constitution. It is how many necessary bills have been passed for centuries. And it's even how the framers were able to manage ratification of the most famous of all documents. It's what many call compromise. Others call it "log-rolling," or they use the age-old maxim: "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
We saw it come alive in that famous oldie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." It's taboo, they said, to come out as a freshman senator from a small state and challenge the most powerful legislative body this side of the Rhine (or the other side for that matter). Well good ol' Jimmy Stewart's character never heard of that unwritten rule, and in today's day and age, that ability to take charge and stand up for what's right is a rare trait in any man or woman.
Never you fear, for Tom Coburn is here. In this morning's column, Mark Tapscott tells the story of a humble man from Oklahoma who made a bold statement on the floor of the Senate that "sent a shock wave through its hallowed halls." He simply challenged the status quo, and demanded a little congressional integrity in a time lacking even the most remote sense of decency.
In calling for an end to the practice of "log-rolling," Coburn raised many an eyebrow as well as temperature. His colleagues never have taken well to criticism of their so-called "congressional courtesy." Well it's time the taxpayers whose money is being so willfully tossed around between this pet project and that find out what their representatives really do for a living. In all honesty, many of these elected chumps would be better labeled as "professional spenders" because 24/7 they deliberate about where this million should go, and who most deserves that billion.
I have an easy answer for that one ... the taxpayer most deserves that billion. For every "bridge to nowhere" represents another $5 bill taken out of every hard working American's pocket. Washington has had its collective hand in our pockets for too long now, and it's high time that more conservatives of the Coburn ilk show their faces and stand up for "congressional integrity" as a replacement to "congressional courtesy."
We have a man like Coburn festering in the House's collective side, and he goes by the name of Mike Pence. The distinguished gentleman from Indiana has never taken lightly to what he sees leading America down "the road to serfdom." He is loathed by Bush aides and House Republican leaders because he has taken it to the people instead of to them. By mouthing his concerns to a camera, he essentially spoke to the public and detailed the problem and what needs to be done. It seems logical that they'd be upset since the public's favor is what gets them elected, and this news is likely to leave a bad taste in their mouths.
The integrity and steadfastness of Rep. Pence and Sen. Coburn has disappeared from many "conservative" congressmen in recent years. Hopefully these two trailblazers can instill these virtues back into their respective houses and the GOP can enter the next session with a little dignity.