Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., gave the panel of MSNBC's “Morning Joe” a good talking-to Thursday over the lack of respect they showed for the tea party.
“I was really amused by y’all’s conversation,” he said on the air, Politico
reports. “I don’t think you all get it.”
Before Coburn came on the show, the panelists discussed the tea party’s desire for substantial cuts in the government. And some argued that it wants to jettison veteran’s benefits, education aid, and other public programs.
“In their minds, they’re independent. They don’t need government, and they disassociate themselves from anything that says they are in fact dependent on government for a lot of things in their lives,” said New York Times columnist Gail Collins.
In addition to Collins, the panel included Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, and MSNBC regulars Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch.
Coburn had a ready response for the naysayers. “I don’t know one tea party leader anywhere that wants to eliminate veterans benefits. I’m appalled,” he said.
Coburn advised the journalists to actually go out and meet tea partyers. “You’re missing something,” he said. “You’re seeing them for something totally different from what they are. You ought to come and visit with some people who are just regular Joes, who believe the tea party has got it right.”
The movement isn’t just a small band of wackos, Coburn pointed out. “The tea party is every person in America who really is fed up with Washington and recognizes the way we got there was abandoning the core principles of our country but also abandoning the constitution,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best things to ever happen to the country.”
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