Few are those in American politics these days with guts and knowledge to speak the truth without regard for the consequences.
Without question, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma belongs at the top of the list. Witness Coburn's op-ed in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Free to speak
He will not seek another term in the Senate, so Coburn isn't encumbered by re-election worries, which frees him to be blunt in describing his friend, President Obama:
"Taking unilateral, extralegal action — like delaying the employer mandate for a year when Mr. Obama realized the trouble it would cause for businesses — is part of a pattern for this administration.
"Immigration and border-security laws that might displease certain constituencies if enforced? Ignore the laws.
"Unhappy that a deep-water drilling moratorium was struck down in court? Reimpose it anyway. Internal Revenue Service agents using the power of the state to harass political enemies? Deny and then stonewall.
"Unhappy with the pace of Senate confirmations for nominees? Ignore the Constitution and appoint people anyway and claim that the Senate is not in session."
Same for Congress
If anything, Coburn is even more blunt about why Congress so richly deserves its lowest-ever public approval rating:
"On the budget, Democrats and Republicans alike are celebrating the avoidance of another nihilistic government shutdown as a great victory.
"The choice to not commit mass political suicide may be a step toward sanity, but it isn't reform. Solving the problem — fixing entitlements, reforming the tax code and consolidating the government's $200 billion in duplicative spending — would be reform ...
"If Congress wants to get serious, and be taken seriously, it can start by doing its job. It can debate and pass individual appropriations bills — a task that Congress has not completed in eight years."
What 2014 is about
Failing to do your job for eight days — much less eight years — would get most Americans outside of government fired.
Whatever else may be said about the Tea Party, its critique of Washington is bipartisan. That's why it generates scorn and derision throughout both major parties' establishments.
Most Americans — regardless of party — think the country is seriously headed in the wrong direction. The defining issue of 2014 will be whether they elect fresh faces and new blood across the board.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
EXography: Sen. Rand Paul is the most-searched senator.
Examiner Watchdog/Luke Rosiak: Energy Department gives troubled company $30 million just days after it announced bankruptcy plans.
David M. Drucker: GOP retaliation could jam Senate in 2014.
Rebecca Berg: The health care debate will change in 2014.
In other news
The Washington Post: SeaTac Airport wage minimum wage experiment may be over before it begins.
The New York Times: Senate discord drains power of finance panel chief.
NBC News: FAA names six drone-testing sites.
Talking Points Memo: MSNBC criticized for segment on Romney family's adopted black child.
The American Prospect: Dates of judgement in the Middle East.
Mother Jones: Science says cocktails could protect you from getting sick.
The New Republic: Raising the minimum wage isn't just good politics, it's good economics, too.
The Weekly Standard: Economic indicators up, Obama's not.
The American Thinker: Red vs. Blue is a divide worth having.
National Review Online: Good Ole Boy, Inc.
The Federalist: Is there a male friendship crisis?