Saturday, January 4, 2014

Audio Commentary: Tom Coburn, and the worst year that wasn't

Many other years deserve the distinction, and 2013 comes nowhere close to them

Today I speak about a recent assertion by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn regarding his belief that the year 2013 was one of the worst years for the United States. Text of the audio is found below the jump.

Record music and voice

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn recently penned an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal in which he called the year 2013 one of the worst years of the republic.

The start of Obamacare, the dismantling of the filibuster for judicial nominees, and the failure of the shutdown to reduce government spending were among the reasons for Coburn’s distinction of 2013 as one of the worst.

Mr. Coburn’s assertion itself is an example of what was wrong with 2013, but it has nothing to do with what laws were passed or implemented. Rather, the problem with 2013 and in recent years’ past, have everything to do with one concept: exaggeration.

Several lawmakers and commentators consistently call the current president the worst ever, comparing his policies with those of Soviet and fascist leaders of the past. These extreme attitudes are indicative not of a terrible president, but rather of an opposition that is so desperate to paint him in negativity that they’re willing to go beyond reason to do so.

President Obama’s tenure in office has had some difficulties. Both the right and even the left can agree on that. But exaggerating those difficulties, to the point of calling the past year “one of the worst” in the history of the nation, is nothing more than a transparent attempt to make the year seem worse than it was.

Let’s remember: from 1776 to 1865, slavery was permissible in the United States (not to mention the years before we became a country as well). The White House and Washington D.C. itself was ransacked in 1814 by the British. The stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Depression that followed threw one in four Americans into unemployment by 1933. We entered World War II when enemy planes dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated, and in 1974 President Nixon resigned amid scandal. And in 2001, nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives in the largest terrorist attack our nation has ever witnessed.

So take Mr. Coburn’s statement with a grain of salt. When he says “worst year ever,” he’s forgetting a plethora of years much worse than 2013. Yes, last year was pretty rough, for Americans of any political ideology. It wasn’t the worst, however, not by a long-shot, and Tom Coburn knows it. Trying to score political points on such an exaggeration demonstrates just how desperate he and those in his party truly are.

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