It’s kind of weird that Barack Obama and Tom Coburn are good friends. I haven’t yet seen the president derive any benefit out of the friendship. And I really don’t feel comfortable about Coburn being part of this Gang of Six that we’re probably going to be hearing a lot about in the coming months. The Gang of Six is group of three Democratic senators (Warner of Virginia, Conrad of North Dakota, and Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois) and three Republican senators (Chambliss of Georgia, Crapo of Idaho, and Coburn of Oklahoma) who are trying to work out some grand bargain on reducing our massive debts. It’s not a very promising group, as only Durbin can reasonably be described as a progressive and he’s really there to do the White House’s bidding.
It’s not all bad, though. For example, Chambliss seems capable of thinking independently:
Chambliss on Monday called [Rep. Paul] Ryan’s plan unworkable because it cuts spending drastically but does not raise taxes, something Democrats say must be part of any long-term deficit reduction package, according to Bloomberg News.
Now, I know this group of senators are going to propose something I don’t like. But what’s going to be interesting, if they can actually agree on something and it isn’t immediately dismissed by the White House, is if the endorsement of three very conservative Republicans will be worth something with the rest of the Republican caucus. If Tom Freakin’ Coburn says it’s a good plan, that has to count for something with the hard right, right?
So far, I’ve been operating on the basic assumption that this Congress will never agree on a big bill, regardless of its content. On a bill that touches entitlements? Not a chance.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this Gang of Six will actually propose something that can pass. It seems unlikely, but I guess there is a possibility. I’m pretty sure that I hope they don’t