A major complaint was directed at President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night. The conservatives argue the president did not go far enough in limiting increased discretionary spending to 4 percent and only halving the budget deficit within four years.
A footnote: Opposing the omnibus appropriations bill, Sen. John McCain in a floor speech listed pork barrel lavished by Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens on his home state of Alaska. McCain declared: "Somehow, Alaska keeps coming back through all this, and back and back and back and back. I wonder how the people of Alaska feel about being put on welfare."
Dr. Tom Coburn, the conservative country doctor from Muskogee, Okla., who has published a scathing account of his six years in Congress ("Breach of Trust"), is considering running for a U.S. Senate seat from Oklahoma that Republicans are in danger of losing.
State and national Republican leaders fear Rep. Brad Carson could be the first Democrat since 1994 sent to the Senate from Oklahoma by winning the seat left vacant by the retirement of former Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles. They complain that the designated GOP candidate, former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, is not connecting with the grass roots.
State Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony is jumping into the Republican primary, and Coburn is spreading the word that he may run as well. Coburn limited himself to six years in the House (1995-2000), during which he often challenged the Republican leadership.