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As debate about how to deal with the big issues heats up and the election season draws ever closer (sigh), political rhetoric can get…interesting. The media and all right thinking thinkers are quick to express their shock and outrage whenever anyone to the right of Joe Lieberman utters anything that isn’t as bland as a jar of Miracle Whip. Dick Cheney tells Pat Leahy to go f*ck himself and you’d think Burkina Faso had sunk an Enterprise class carrier and declared war on the U.S. Well, it’s happened again. Prepare to de-wad your panties…

Tom Coburn, Senator from Oklahoma, was back home touring the state, pressing the flesh and letting everyone within earshot know he’s not happy with a lot of his fellow members in the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Coburn…ripped his colleagues during a tour of northeast Oklahoma, calling them “career elitists,” “cowards” and said, “It’s just a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.”

Quick. Hide the women and children. Cover your grandmother’s ears. This is just beyond the pale. The Politico’s slant on the incident is pretty much what you’d expect.

Coburn’s gun-on-the-floor comment comes less than a month after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) made a triumphant return to the Capitol and the House floor following an assassination attempt in January outside a Tucson supermarket.

At the time of the shooting, in which six people were killed, there were calls for re-instituting the federal ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and beefing up protection for members of Congress. None of the proposals gained significant traction since.

A cynic might say that Coburn uttered the incendiary comment to deflect heat from Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry who also torqued the media’s Jockeys this week with a comment about Fed chief Ben Bernanke. I’m glad I’m not that cynical.

Those on the right have always been held to a different standard. A chorus comprised of the MSM and Democrats opportunistically harmonized their reaction to the Giffords shooting, attributing it to a mythical poisonous political atmosphere fed by violent rhetoric. They blamed everyone from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party to Bigfoot for contributing to it. Never mind that Jared Lee Loughner had no more affiliation with right wing politics than Nancy Pelosi. It was a good occasion to bludgeon their political opponents and possibly make those on the right think twice before launching future verbal fusillades. And it was all so predictable.

But people seem to be tiring of all the ginned up outrage and moral high dudgeon. A callus seems to have formed over the indignant-sensing nerve for much of the public. They’ve heard it all so many times before. They’ve endured the agitated talking heads on the cable networks pontificating about something so inconsequential to the lives of real people that it’s lost any meaning. Voters rightly ask themselves, “Is this dumb comment really the biggest thing on my Senator’s plate right now?” The country has bigger problems.

Think of it as a firearms version of Godwin’s Law, which holds that as any discussion of an issue grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Our version – let’s call it the TTAG Axiom – holds that as more outrage to an innocuous gun-related comment is expressed, the popular interest in that incident approaches zero.

So let’s all untwist our knickers for just a moment, shall we? Coburn’s comment was remarkably unremarkable, particularly by historical standards of American political rhetorical excess. No one who’s at all serious thinks Coburn actually wants to use a gun on the Senate floor. The tiresome transparency of the outrage by those who benefit from expressing it only reveals that there’s no one behind that particular curtain.


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  1. “No one who’s at all serious thinks Coburn actually wants to use a gun on the Senate floor.”

    Too bad. I’d pay big money to see Coburn blast Diane and Barbara with a Super Soaker. That would be epic.

    • Maybe that’s what this Congress needs. A good light-hearted squirt gun fight. I can see the news segments now. Cue the slow motion and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” 80’s music.

  2. If I remember my history, some of your congressmen have gone armed before, and there have been a number of fights on the floor of the House. Nobody’s been killed except in duels, however.

  3. To quote that none too liberal governor of Texas, Rick Perry, “Mr. Friedman, words matter.” It is not just us pantywaist liberals who get their panties in a bunch. Even he-man Texans can get all snippy about rhetoric.

  4. Have some sympathy for the media and liberals; comments like this are the only fuel they have. This administration and liberal politics in general have failed so epically that they dare not even bring real politics into discussion.

  5. It’s not that what Coburn said was hateful or menacing. It was just incredibly stupid and infantile. Don’t threaten to shoot people, even in “jest.” How difficult is that?

    Let’s see, how old is Sen. Coburn? Hmm, 63. How much are we paying him? Hmm, $174K a year. Is this the best we can get?

    • “It’s not that what Coburn said was hateful or menacing. It was just incredibly stupid and infantile. Don’t threaten to shoot people, even in “jest.”

      It’s hard to argue with that. Of course, if we pink-slipped every member of Congress who said something incredibly stupid we’d soon have to shut down the whole joint.

      Whether or not that’s a bad thing is highly debatable.

    • I think that this may be the first time that I have ever agreed with Magoo. Coburn should have realized that this comment would have been taken out of context and turned into a $*!#storm. We can not gain the upper hand in winning the undecided public’s support for the 2A by making comments that can easily be construed as advocating the exact opposite of what most of us stand for.

      Personally, I think pugil sticks and boxing gloves would be the better thing to bring to the Senate floor. Make them all go hand to hand and see if their physical commitment to their beliefs is as strong as their verbal commitment to them.

      • Our elected representatives are supposed to behave like adults. That’s the message we need to be sending them. We should not be encouraging them to carry themselves like troubled preteens.

        • Politicians behave like politicians. Using inflammatory language to inflame is who they are and what they do. Not even The Anointed One can stop it. Especially the words coming out of his own mouth.

        • There’s a line. Coburn crossed it. (And naturally the Dems will exploit his gaffe but that’s another tangle.) The key is not to allow or make excuses for it just because the perpetrator happens to be on your side of the fence. That’s the fuel that runs the baloney machine.

        • Magoo, again, I agree with you. I think that even though Coburn made a stupid remark and is responsible for the crap that came out of his mouth. There is no excuse for his remark, even though I instantly understood it to be a bad joke.

          However, the other side is acting like high schoolers as well. McCarthy is the one who is hand cranking that baloney machine to get as much political capitol out of Coburn’s gaffe as possible.


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