Monday, February 13, 2006

What a Real Senator should be.

February 12, 2006
The Senate's Dr. No
By George Will
WASHINGTON -- The Senate, which fancies itself the world's most exclusive club, has its Sir John Hawkins. He was the 18th-century musicologist whom Samuel Johnson called ``a very unclubbable man.'' The very unclubbable senator is Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, 57, a freshman Republican whose motto could be: ``Niceness is overrated.''
Coburn is the most dangerous creature that can come to the Senate, someone simply uninterested in being popular. When Speaker Dennis Hastert defends earmarks -- spending dictated by individual legislators for specific projects -- by saying that a member of Congress knows best where a stoplight ought to be placed, Coburn, in an act of lese-majeste, responds: Members of Congress are the least qualified to make such judgments.
Recently, when a Republican colleague called to say ``his constituency'' would not allow him to support Coburn on some measure, Coburn tartly told the senator that ``there is not one mention in the oath (of office) of your state.'' Senators are just not talked to that way under the ponderous rituals of vanity that the Senate pretends are mere politeness.
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