Can you believe that a US senator actually prayed aloud on the senate floor for the death or incapacitation of a fellow senator? That is exactly what Sen. Tom Coburn - a medical doctor, no less - did last night.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post describes how Coburn Crossed the Line.
At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation's passage -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That's what they ought to pray."
There was absolutely no mystery concerning which senator was being referenced by Coburn.
It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads -- but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.
Senator Dick Durbin spoke expressed outrage at the behavior of Sen. Coburn. But the best revenge came from 92-year-old Senator Byrd himself:
Coburn was wearing blue jeans, an argyle sweater and a tweed jacket with elbow patches when he walked back into the chamber a few minutes before 1 a.m. He watched without expression when Byrd was wheeled in, dabbing his eyes and nose with tissues, his complexion pale. When his name was called, Byrd shot his right index finger into the air as he shouted "aye," then pumped his left fist in defiance.
Here is my prayer: I pray for the people of Oklahoma that they will someday come to their senses and elect principled men and women to office.