The Blaze’s Benny Johnson contributed to this report.
On Thursday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and blasted the show’s panel for misrepresenting the principles of the Tea Party, saying they just don’t “get it.” He also gave the panel a solid history lesson on the Constitution after at least one panelist admitted he was unsure in which section the enumerated powers were located.
After talking fondly of Texas candidate for U.S. Senate Ted Cruz and his victory in the runoff election, Coburn said he was “really amused” by the way they spoke about the Tea Party. “I don’t think you all get it,” he added.
“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,” Coburn said.
Co-host Lawrence O’Donnell chimed in and completely changed the subject, not even addressing what Coburn had just said. Instead, O’Donnell brought up how Coburn had recently apologized to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — a topic that came completely out of the blue.
Shortly after, one of the panelists suggested that his public display of civility would work against him within the Tea Party. This is where Coburn started to heat up.
“You are seeing them totally different than what they are,” he said. “The picture you paint doesn’t come close to anybody I know in the Tea Party.”
Washington Post reporter and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart went on to ask Coburn to provide examples of how the United States has abandoned the Constitution. And so he did.
“Go read Article 1, Section 8 and it gives the enumerated powers… The American people get it and our founders got it. And the one part of the balance of power that doesn’t get talked about and what you’re seeing expressed through the Tea Party is the real balance of power that our founders wanted is we the people to hold the government accountable. And that’s what’s going to start happening in this country,” he replied.
“We’re $16 trillion in debt. We have totally cut the legs out from underneath our kids and grand kids and now we’re saying there’s something wrong with the people that want to get back to the thing that built this country rather than the thing that tore it down.”
After asking the initial question, Capehart then admitted he wasn’t even familiar with the article of the Constitution that Coburn was talking about — even though the senator mentioned the words “enumerated powers” in his explanation.
“Senator, Article 1, Section 8, I should know this but I don’t…” Capehart admitted. Though Coburn could have easily inserted a snide remark, he simply gave the entire MSNBC panel a free lesson on America’s founding principles.
“The Constitution is loaded with ‘No’s’. It’s not loaded with ‘Yes’s,'” he explained. “We’ve expanded the federal government outside the range, outside the range of what our founders ever thought the federal government would have a hand in. You can’t go anywhere that the federal government doesn’t have involvement and wrongly so, because quite frankly, even though we’re well intentioned, we’re not very good at doing these things.”
Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein then snidely remarked that if the Tea Party really want to reign in the size of the government, they would, in theory, be in support of cutting and “trimming the fat” off the Defense Department budget. But as Coburn pointed out, he made the mistake of lumping Republicans and the Tea Party into one category, a common mistake of the left.
“The fact is, is just because you’re a Republican, doesn’t mean you embrace the principles of the Tea Party,” Coburn said.
The senator from Oklahoma then destroyed Steins’s premise that Tea Party members are opposed to any real cuts to the DoD as he previously suggested.
“I can find the fat in the Pentagon. They’re [members calling for a halt to sequestration cuts to DoD] just not willing to do it. They don’t believe it’s there. I believe it’s there. I’ve studied it. I put out one trillion dollars worth of cuts in the Pentagon over the next ten years. We can do that. The point is, they are worried that we will cut into the actual real thing that will keep us defended, and I understand that concern. Plus, sequestering is stupid.”
Coburn went on:
“We do need to have a strong defense. But the defense of this country and our ability to defend ourselves is based on our economic strength. And you cannot have a strong defense without a strong economically viable, growing nation. What we’ve done is spent way too much money and not had any grown-ups in the room when it comes to major weapons systems.”
“There is no grown-up in the room to say ‘the bells and whistles got to stop. Here’s how much we can afford to spend to get to this technology.’ And because there’s no grown-up or limit on what we can spend, innovation dries up and what we do is we suck the dollars out of the Pentagon, appropriately so, but because there’s no adult watching. “
Watch Coburn rip the “Morning Joe” panel apart via MSNBC here: