Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn went on something of a speaking tour yesterday, warning of impending economic disaster and predicting the demise of Medicare. It has been an exercise in sensationalism – at one point, while voicing his frustrations with the Senate, Coburn said that “It’s just a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.”
The thing that stands out, however, is his take on President Obama’s intentions:
Responding to a man in Langley who asked if Obama “wants to destroy America,” Coburn said the president is “very bright” and loves his country but has a political philosophy that is “goofy and wrong.” Obama’s “intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him,” he said.
“As an African-American male,” Coburn said, Obama received “tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs.”
There really isn’t any way to read this that doesn’t come down to “African Americans benefit most from government programs, and live in dependency as a result.” That said, I’m not sure that this is any more offensive than Florida Rep. Allen West’s recent remarks to National Journal on the state of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, “The black community is now existing on a new plantation, a 21st-century plantation [that] enslaves their will and conscience…actually worse than physical slavery.”
At the very least, in their own twisted way, Coburn’s remarks allow for black people to have agency; they vote for Democrats and support Obama because they like and support government programs. Unlike Coburn, West believes that Democrats have used social programs to trick African Americans into supporting them. If only blacks could lift the scales from their eyes, they would see the light, and walk into the warm, welcoming embrace of the Republican Party.