Oklahoman: Obama Must Go Centrist, Oklahoma’s Delegation Says

Feb 07, 2010
In The News

MIDWEST CITY — President Barack Obama needs to adjust his method of leadership or he will end up serving only one term, Republican members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation said Saturday.

MultimediaPhotoview all photos U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma’s only Democrat in the delegation, suggested Obama seek advice from Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, a leading critic of government waste.

"Tom has been good at looking out for the dollar, making sure that we cut some of this wasteful spending,” Boren told those attending the midwinter convention of the Okla-homa Press Association.

"The president has a good relationship with Tom, why not invite him over and go through line by line some of these programs?” asked Boren, D-Muskogee.

The president needs to "get to where the American people are, which is somewhere in the center,” Boren said.

Americans are tired of political bickering, and the president reaching out to members of Congress from both political parties would be a step toward being a more effective leader, Boren said.

Boren, Coburn and others in a panel discussion — U.S. Reps. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne — said Obama has had problems getting key measures passed largely because he has relied on congressional Democratic leaders instead of relationships with Congress members.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, said the biggest challenge for Obama is to maintain peace with his supporters and still do what is in the best interest of the country.

"The American people like him,” Coburn said.

Cole said Obama "is well to the left of the American people” and has been "amazingly ineffective.”

Obama has the largest Congress majority in 40 years, yet has been unable to get any key program passed, Cole said. Lucas, who has served in Congress under three presidents, said Obama could learn from Bill Clinton’s move to center. "(Obama) has to make a decision very soon,” Lucas said. "Does he stay or does he go home? … I believe he’s a bright guy, he’s a practical guy. He will make adjustments. If he doesn’t, he won’t be back.”

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