Tom Coburn Outdoes Himself


A Republican senator stirred up a hornet’s nest on Wednesday by introducing an amendment that would cut off money for the National Science Foundation’s political-science program.

Sen. Tom A. Coburn, of Oklahoma, offered the amendment when the annual appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice and the federal science agencies, HR 2847, went to the Senate floor. A vote on the amendment is possible Thursday but is more likely to come next week.

“Political science would be better left to pundits and voters,” said Don Tatro, Senator Coburn’s press secretary, in an interview. “Federal research dollars should go to scientists who work on finding solutions for people with severe disabilities, or the next generation of biofuels, or engineering breakthroughs.”

Right, because political science doesn’t impact people’s lives. And because pundits provide so much invaluable knowledge to the world. Paul Krugman has more here.

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Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.