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DeLay in Trouble? Hey, Look Over Here At Anything Else!

Reported by Nancy - April 7, 2005 -

Last night (4/6) on Special Report, Brit Hume wasted his one-on-one interview segment with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). The burning issue? Coburn wants to keep on actively practicing medicine while serving in the Senate, & those mean Senate ethics rules won't let him. Boo hoo. Meanwhile, Tom DeLay's massive, mounting & ongoing problems with Congressional ethics (not to mention the criminal justice system) were shrugged off in a brief report from Major Garrett. Fair? Balanced? As if ...

There was the usual political spin: Carl Cameron's report about the US delegation to the Pope's funeral included a long & not-so-subtle clip of said delegation kneeling while a choir sang; & Major Garrett's report about Tom DeLay tried the DeLay-as-victim pose (Garrett said DeLay found himself in Dem "crosshairs" again today), the blame-anyone-else finger-pointing exercise (Jack Abramoff) & the it's-not-illegal excuse.

In spite of David Asman's whine, earlier that same day, about the New York Times using the phrase "some critics" about the Pope, Jim Angle used exactly that ploy in his reported on Greenspan's comments re Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, saying that "some" say the reform efforts are an attempt to dismantle the two agencies.

At 6:21pm (ET) Hume interviewed Coburn. According to Coburn, he has an "old-time" GP practice that he kept active when he served 6 yrs in the House of Representatives, but Senate rules don't allow that -- you can't earn any "outside" money while a Senator because of possible conflicts of interest. Hume opined that he could see conflict of interest being a concern for lawyers, but not for doctors. When Hume asked about possible conflict of interest related to insurers, Coburn brushed that off, saying that doctors "don't work for insurance companies." Coburn claims he just wants to "maintain connection with everyday life" because that provides "insight that we're missing" in DC. Coburn also said he's "trying to negotiate something" & waxed rhapsodic about the "intent of our founders" for "citizen legislators." Never one to miss an opportunity to bash someone who can't bash back, Hume asked when these rules started, & Coburn gleefully blamed Strom Thurmond (claiming that Thurmond added the provision about doctors because he was trying to kill the rule & thought no one would vote for it if doctors were included).

Clues for Coburn: You may not work for insurance companies as a physician in private practice, but you're certainly paid by them; & if you don't see that as a potential ethics problem, you need to go back to school with Tom DeLay. And you really, really need to explain how you could possibly maintain a medical practice & serve your patients while doing the job your constituents elected you to do.
Clue for Hume: Nice try at distraction, but the whiny complaint routine is getting tiresome.
Clue for Readers: Coburn is one of the wackier examples of the lunatic reactionary fringe. I invite you to post examples of his outrageous statements, claims, etc. Have at it, & have fun.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report's coverage of any of the above items). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.