Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is quoted in the Tulsa World as saying President Obama wants to “create dependency” because it “worked so well for him” as an “African American male.” Now he is getting lambasted as a racist.
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent went to the trouble of digging out the entire transcript. Yes, he said those words, but here is the rest of what he said, in answer to a question about whether President Obama is trying to destroy the country:
“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…
“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.
“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”
So this was in the context of Sen. Coburn defending President Obama from a “worst construction” assessment. One might still reject the points being made, but surely Sen. Coburn comes across differently in the entire transcript from the way he comes across in the truncated quotations in the World story. I suspect that other scare quotes we read about from various sides may have be similar to this one.