A Republican senator is holding up a popular bipartisan bill to crack down on cockfighting that was expected to pass easily in the Senate yesterday, drawing outrage from his congressional colleagues.
The hold, placed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., “testifies to the powers of these shadowy forces that allow this illegal and barbaric scandal to continue,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., one of the bill’s co-sponsors in the House.
Earlier this week Republicans and Democrats in the House passed the bill by a landslide margin of 368 to 39 votes.
Cockfighting is now illegal in every state but Louisiana, and the peripheries of Louisiana are now havens for cockfighting spectacles that attract people from surrounding states. The Federal legislation that Coburn is holding up would make interstate transportation of animals for fighting a Federal crime.
Coburn’s state’s governor, Brad Henry, pictured above, (someone who I have tagged as a possible running mate for Hillary Rodham Clinton, should she win the nomination), should also face questions about his playing politics with anti-cockfighting legislation. Part of the reason behind his upset victory over Steve Largent in 2002 was that Largent came out for the cockfighting ban, while Henry was deliberately mum on it, i.e. he communicated the message that he would not sign such a ban.
In the end, Henry won, based partially on the votes of pro-cockfighting forces, but he signed the ban anyway.
If HRC, who will probably vote for the ban, does pick Henry, then I suppose we could say that the chickens have come home to roost.