U.S. Senator Tom Coburn would easily win a third term in 2016, if he chose to run. But just as he stepped down from the U.S. House after three terms, after having pledged to do, so he is stepping down after winning two terms in the U.S. Senate.
Coburn had affirmed his commitment to serve no more than two terms before winning re-election in 2010. But now he has announced that he is leaving at the end of 2014, two years early.
He was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, but says “this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires. My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms. Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career. That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today. I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block.”
Expect to hear from Tom Coburn after he leaves office. A prominent former office-holder can easily exert influence on public policy debate if that is what he wants to do. And Coburn rightly observes that many Americans “with real-world experience and good judgment” can fill either his shoes directly in Washington, or make their voices heard in other ways.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.