Tom Coburn, conservative senator from Oklahoma, is retiring to tend to his health. We wish him well. He is famous for his congeniality to liberals, a terrific beard, some professorial spectacles, and a cascade of arch-right verbal utterances that make early homo erectus look urbane.
Here are Coburn's most unforgettable hits:
- "I cringe when I realize that there were children all across this nation watching this program. They were exposed to the violence of multiple gunshot head wounds, vile language, full frontal nudity and irresponsible sexual activity... It simply should not have been allowed on public television.'' —Coburn on Schindler's List
- "Lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?"
- "I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier."
- "It's just a good thing I can't pack a gun on the Senate floor." —Coburn, two weeks after the near-fatal shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)
- "The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power… That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda."
- "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."
- "If I wanted to buy a bazooka to use in a very restricted way, to do something, I ought to be able to do that."
- "Do you realize that if all those children had not been aborted, we wouldn't have any trouble with Medicare and Social Security today? That's another 41 million people."
- "The tea party is every person in America who's really fed up with Washington... I think they're one of the best things that ever happened in this country."
- "I am a global warming denier. I don't deny that."
- "His intent is not to destroy, his intent is to create dependency because it worked so well for him... As an African American male [he received] tremendous advantage from a lot of these programs." —Coburn on Barack Obama
[Photo credits: AP]