The news that Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn’s health has deteriorated to the point where he is going to resign his Senate seat is not good for the future of the Republicans in the Senate.
You see, it’s not just about getting a majority.
You need a majority with real world, executive experience in problem solving as opposed to a majority of the clowns in both parties who no longer understand that they work for us instead of the other way around.
Coburn was an OB-GYN who delivered babies, ran a practice and kept the promises he made.
And his replacement should be somebody who also has real world experience and a talent for something other than spreading manure without getting his shirt dirty.
My personal choice is sitting on the sidelines, tanned, ready and rested (and probably pretty reluctant).
He is Frank Keating, the former two term Governor of Oklahoma who has as much experience outside of Government as inside and is a relatively young 69. He’s young enough to serve a term and smart enough to probably not want to get his hands dirty with the likes of Harry Reid.
The truth is, we need a smart guy who has to be convinced to get back in the game for a relatively short period. He needs to think of it as Nolan Ryan coming out of retirement to pitch one more no hitter. And we need to think of it as restoring partial sanity to a body of people who live like kings on the taxpayers’ dime but do nothing—absolutely nothing—to earn that lifestyle.
I remember once when he was running for Governor of the great state of Oklahoma and we were all in a car making some campaign stops. There had been a news story about a policeman who couldn’t remember the details of an arrest warrant he had served. We were talking about it and Frank said, “I remember every arrest I ever made as an FBI Agent and I was scared to death at all of them.”
Now I’d never heard a cop admit that before although after 47 years as a journalist I know it to be absolutely true.
Then the conversation turned to prisons. At the time, Oklahoma was incarcerating women at a rate higher than any state in the nation and Frank observed that, “we need to stop putting people in prison who we are mad at and start putting people in prison who we are afraid of.”
There were no campaign flacks present, just a few guys talking about the news of the day.
This is the kind of guy you want—no, this is the kind of guy you NEED—in the Senate to serve as a buffer against the Harry Reids of the world.
This is a guy—who by the sheer force of his intellect and ability to solve problems—can embarrass the Harry Reids (of both parties) into doing what it was they were elected to do in the first place.
He spent the last decade at the head of, first, the American Council of Life Insurers and then the American Bankers Association. So he understands what both big and small business needs to create jobs and grow the economy. (If you think the average banker works for Citicorp, you’re wrong. He or she works for a small community bank.)
He was the Governor, for eight years, of Oklahoma and led the state through the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building by domestic terrorist Tim McVeigh with great compassion and sensitivity. I know because I was there. I owned five radio stations in the state at the time.
Prior to that, he ran the Secret Service, worked in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations and was also an FBI agent.
Another reason that Keating should be a Senator is his wife, Cathy.
After he was elected Governor of Oklahoma, she told the Daily Oklahoman that they “will just be guests” in the Governor’s mansion. She has kept Frank grounded all these years and there is a great benefit to that in a public official.
And she probably has the deciding vote in whether or not Frank decides to come out of political retirement.
For the good of the nation, we hope she sees things our way.
The Senate is in need of some serious experience and talent. The same old same old just isn’t going to cut it.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Senator we had to convince to take the job instead of one who is frothing at the mouth saying anything he thinks will get him elected?
(Fred Weinberg is a major force in talk radio. He built his radio chain from a 5,000-watt AM Station, KTRT, in Rogers County. He is now based in Nevada, where he operates the Penny Press and a chain of radio stations)