Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stephens County Fairgrounds
Duncan, Oklahoma 10am-2:30pm
Cost $20- includes t-shirt and box lunch
Congressman Tom Cole speaking at 11:45am
Fellow blogger Michael Bates (Batesline) has created a clever on-line game that involves identifying Oklahoma counties. This is tougher than you think even for someone with a fair knowledge of Oklahoma geography. To access it, click on the link below:
Just when you thought you'd heard the end of the bathroom stall jokes, a Larry Craig bobble foot is created. The Idaho Senator was arrested at the Minneapolis Saint Paul airport by an officer who was investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom. So, the Saint Paul Saints- a minor league team- decided it would be a great publicity stunt to have bobble foot day.
The team is famous for oddball giveaways. They are being sold on E-bay for as much as $50.

Republicans Are in Denial
May 27, 2008- Wall Street Journal
As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.

Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.
Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn't good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

Becoming Republicans again will require us to come to grips with what has ailed our party – namely, the triumph of big-government Republicanism and failed experiments like the K Street Project and "compassionate conservatism." If the goal of the K Street Project was to earmark and fund raise our way to a filibuster-proof "governing" majority, the goal of "compassionate conservatism" was to spend our way to a governing majority.
The fruit of these efforts is not the hoped-for Republican governing majority, but the real prospect of a filibuster-proof Democrat majority in 2009. While the K Street Project decimated our brand as the party of reform and limited government, compassionate conservatism convinced the American people to elect the party that was truly skilled at activist government: the Democrats.

Compassionate conservatism's starting point had merit. The essential argument that Republicans should orient policy around how our ideas will affect the poor, the widow, the orphan, the forgotten and the "other" is indisputable – particularly for those who claim, as I do, to submit to an authority higher than government. Yet conservatives are conservatives because our policies promote deliverance from poverty rather than dependence on government.
Compassionate conservatism's next step – its implicit claim that charity or compassion translates into a particular style of activist government involving massive spending increases and entitlement expansion – was its undoing. Common sense and the Scriptures show that true giving and compassion require sacrifice by the giver. This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his possessions, not his neighbor's possessions. Spending other people's money is not compassionate.

Regaining our brand as the party of fiscal discipline will require us to rejoin Americans in the real world of budget choices and priorities, and to leave behind the fantasyland of borrowing without limits. Instead of adopting earmarks, each Republican can adopt examples of government waste, largess and fraud, and restart the permanent campaign against big government.
Republicans can tear up the "emergency spending" credit card and refuse to accept any new spending whatsoever, including for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, until Congress does its job of eliminating wasteful spending. The federal budget contains a vast unexplored area of offsets. My office alone has identified $300 billion in annual waste. Borrowing from the next generation when we haven't done our job of oversight is unconscionable.

Regaining our brand is not about "messaging." It's about action. It's about courage. It's about priorities. Most of all, it's about being willing to give up our political careers so our grandkids don't have to grow up in a debtor's prison, or a world in which other nations can tell a weakened and bankrupt America where we can and can't defend liberty, pursue terrorists, or show compassion.

John McCain, for all his faults, is the one Republican candidate who can lead us through our wilderness. Mr. McCain is not running on a messianic platform or as a great healer of dysfunctional Republicans who refuse to help themselves. His humility is one of his great strengths. In his heart, he's a soldier who sees one more hill to charge, one more mission to complete.
I love all the "marketing" terms that political types use now- branding- positioning-messaging. It takes me back to those days of yesteryear when I sold hot cocoa mix and cat litter- not at the same time or in a banded pack.
In this column, Dr. Coburn breaks down the GOP woes in a simple way and he is absolutely right- the reason the Republicans lost in 2006 and will likely lose more seats in 2008 is because they have not behaved like Republicans. They are more concerned about reelection than principle. Elected Republicans run from right wing activists like they were a skunk at a family picnic. They don't want to be identified with the right wing or photographed with them, yet they will take their money and their time. It's really not the activists the political types are fleeing- it's what they stand for- smaller government, principled stands on moral issues- the second amendment. Republicans win when they stand up for what they believe- when they compromise or waffle, they get drilled because the base stays home. Unless the base gets energized, we are looking at a dubbing in November in Congress.
Dr. Coburn is in the cab of the STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS. He introduced McCain at the conservative C-PAC meeting earlier this year. Some have criticized his endorsement of McCain because the two don't seem to fit, but Coburn's explanation is that McCain has the courage to put America on a more fiscally sound foundation. Coburn's endorsement may seem to be a compromise to some, but make no mistake about it- Coburn is not a compromiser or waffler. He has more courage in his little finger politically than all the Democrats and two thirds of the Republicans in the Senate combined.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
By Steve Fair
Before the Oklahoma legislature adjorned last week, they passed Senate Bill #1865 which would create a state Office of Accountability and Innovation within the Legislative Service Bureau. It is intended to make government more efficient by creating an agency to conduct regular performance audits of state agencies. The Senate author is co-Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R, Oklahoma City. The House author is Speaker of the House Chris Benge, R, Tulsa.

After the Senate passed the measure 32 to 15 last week Coffee said “Republicans are strongly committed to making government more accountable, more effective and more innovative,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “The Office of Accountability and Innovation will give the Legislature the tools to help state government better serve the people of Oklahoma. One can look at success of the recent performance audit of the Department of Corrections as an example of the honest assessments and innovative recommendations we expect to receive from the legislative Office of Accountability and Innovation.”

According to Coffee, the new agency will conduct regular performance audits of agencies, recommend best procedures to improve government efficiency, review tax policy and suggest new ways to make government more accountable and effective. The legislation creates a Joint Committee on Accountability and Innovation that will consist of five House members and five Senate members. The committee will appoint a director of the office of accountability to serve a four-year term. The bill is on the way to the governor's desk where Governor Henry is expected to sign it. While accountability is a good thing, creating another state agency is not.
If the description of the duties and responsibilitites for this new agency seem familiar, it’s because they are very similar to the job description for the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector.

In Article VI, Section 19 of the Oklahoma Constitution the Auditor and Inspector is charged with examining the state and all county treasurers’ books, accounts and cash on hand or in bank at least twice each year. The Auditor and Inspector is to provide checks and balances within the Executive Department of Oklahoma State government.

The State Auditor and Inspector has access to all books, accounts, reports, vouchers and other records of information in any department, institution or agency. Pursuant to various statutes the State Auditor and Inspector establishes accounting procedures, and forms, and provides assistance to counties and other forms of local government. The State Auditor and Inspector also performs special investigative audits upon request by certain state officials and upon petition by citizens.

Why do we need an additional oversight agency controlled by ten state legislators when we already have an elective office created by the Oklahoma Constitution charged with doing much of what the new agency will be doing? I fail to see how creating a new agency will make Oklahoma government more efficient.

Proponents of the new agency point out the new agency will do performance audits. What are performance audits? A performance audit refers to an examination of a program, function, managment of or the procedures of a state agency. Most “performance audits” are carried out by exernal auditors, but in most states they are done by elected officials like the State Auditor. Performance audits are objective and systematic, generally using structured and professionally adopted crititerium. But in reality, the State Auditor’s office has the constitutional authority to do “performance audits” now.

The creation of this new agency is partially in reaction to current State Auditor Jeff McMahon being indicted in January on conspiracy, fraud and racketeering charges. It’s clear by the bi-partisan vote on SB 1865 the legislature doesn’t have any confidence in the State Auditor’s office to do performance audits. Another factor is that Republicans want an agency to conduct ongoing studies on improving Oklahoma’s taxation system. By doing so, perhaps we could make the state more attractive to business looking to expand or relocate. But creating a state agency because an elected official fails to do their job is not a good reason to create another layer of bureaucracy. Growing government is not an innovation. That’s the problem with government- it’s too big now. We didn’t need another state agency to watch the other state agency who is watching the other state agencies.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

On Friday the second session of the 51st Oklahoma state legislature will adjourn “sine die.” Sine die is a Latin term that literally means without day. When dealing with legislative bodies, sine die means it is anticipated that this particular body will not meet again because the next session of the legislature would have a somewhat different membership after November. All 101 State House and 24 of the 48 Senate districts will have elections in 2008. Because the composition of the body will be different in 2009, this particular body will not meet again, hence “sine die.”

The Oklahoma Constitution mandates the legislature meet in annual session for ninety business days between the first Monday in February and the last Friday in May. In past years, the last week of session was a fire drill. It wasn’t uncommon for the legislature to be in session eighteen hours a day the last week of session. They would debate and consider bills they should have been addressed first and not last. That practice has improved dramatically since Republicans were given the majority in the state house in 2004. Important legislation is now thoughtfully debated and considered before the final hours of session. In past years, it was common practice for the state’s budget to be the final bill passed by the legislature in the final hours of the session. If the governor didn’t sign it, a special session would then have to be called at taxpayer’s expense. Thankfully, this year’s budget has been approved and signed, but Oklahoma citizens should watch for any last minute legislation passing that is not well thought out.

Two major issues that were not resolved this legislature session were tort reform and workers comp reform. Interrelated, they are two issues opposed by the powerful trial lawyer lobby.
In 1997, then Governor Frank Keating signed SB 730 that provided some reforms to Oklahoma’s antiquated workers comp system. The changes which were recommended by the Fallin Commission, made some reforms, but it did not remove the lawyers from the workers comp process. In 2005, then State Representative Fred Morgan, R-Oklahoma in frustration called for a special session to deal with workers comp reform. Morgan warned that workers comp reform was too important of an issue to be handled during the frenzied final hours of session- the common practice at that time.

This year in late February, State Representative Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, got HB 2605 through committee. The bill would create a three-member Workers’ Compensation Commission to replace the current Workers’ Compensation Court. Oklahoma is one of only three states in the country still using the court system to settle workers compensation disputes. This adds up to 50% more cost to the process, which results in higher premiums for businesses and less benefits to injured workers. McCullough said, "This is sweeping legislation that will dismantle the current lawsuit-based Workers’ Compensation Court and replace it with an administrative system based on Arkansas' successful model." Our current system has been failing both injured workers and employers for years. It’s time to overhaul it in a way that reduces costs to the employer while creating an easier path back to work for injured employees. This bill will benefit injured workers most by streamlining access to medical care and focusing on vocational rehabilitation."

According to Roy Wood, an official with the National Council on Compensation Insurance, PPD claims in Oklahoma are almost twice the regional average and the average lost-time claim frequency is much higher than the region and nation. Oklahoma has increased in claim payouts in the past eight years by over 75% and injured workers are not the ones getting the money. "Our lawsuit-driven system provides little benefit to injured workers," McCullough said. "Because most attorneys are paid only through a share of monetary awards, they don’t reap any benefit from rehabilitation programs that would provide the most benefit to their clients. That’s why workers’ comp attorneys’ focus their efforts on winning lump-sum payments for clients instead of helping them recover. I believe most Oklahoma workers would prefer to regain their health to the fullest extent possible instead of sitting in a courtroom hoping for a one-time minor payment."
McCullough’s bill is a common sense approach to workers comp that should be a no-brainer. Even if he were able to get the bill through the House this week, Senate Democrats and Governor Henry oppose any true reform, so its not likely the proposal will be signed into law this year. Once again Oklahoma is placed at a competitive disadvantage vs. surrounding states in recruiting business and industry and new jobs to the state because Democrats want to appease the powerful trial lawyer lobby. With the distinct likelihood of Republicans taking over the State Senate in November, all I can say is- Wait till next year!
Yesterday afternoon, a group of political activists from Stephens County met and made "another" video. Under the able direction of the SMITH BROTHERS, this video is unlike the Fish Fry video of two years ago. This video will serve to show how NOT to campaign in an election. Funny, but thought provoking, you will not want to miss the video or the training the Boot Camp will provide. BOOT CAMP 2008 will be held on Saturday May 31st at the Stephens County Fairgrounds in Duncan, Oklahoma starting at 10am and concluding at 2:30pm.
Details on the BOOT CAMP can be found at or email me at Cost is $20 and that includes a t-shirt and a box lunch. Congressman Tom Cole will be speaking at lunch. While this event is sponsored by the 4th district, it is not limited to just 4th district GOP candidates. Any candidate who wants to have his volunteers trained in a cost effective should plan to attend this event. The six breakout sessions will include signs, literature distribution, event planning, creative campaigning, door knocking, and new communication.
High energy and interactive, this event could be the difference between winning and losing in November.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Congressman Tom Cole urges "R" Congressmen to
Republican House campaign chief Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) acknowledged the difficulties Congressional Republican candidates will face this fall. “First, Republicans must be prepared to campaign against Democrat challengers who are running as conservatives, even as they try to join a liberal Democrat majority," He continued: “The political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. Therefore, Republicans must undertake bold efforts to define a forward looking agenda that offers the kind of positive change voters are looking for. This is something we can do in cooperation with our Presidential nominee, but time is short." Cole also called on Republicans, who have trailed Democrats in fundraising, to turn to party activists for help. I encourage all Republican candidates, whether incumbents or challengers, to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall by building the financial resources and grassroots networks that offer them the opportunity and ability to communicate, energize and turn out voters this election."

That's good advice whether it be at the Congressional level, the State legislative level or county level. The 4th District of the Oklahoma Republican Party will hold a VOLUNTEER BOOT CAMP on Saturday May 31, 2008. The event will be at the Stephens County Fairgrounds in Duncan, Oklahoma. The cost will be $20 which includes a box lunch and a t-shirt. The six breakout session event will include such campaign fundamentals like signs, literature distribution, event planning, door knocking, new communication and creative campaigning. This high energy, interactive event should be one EVERY candidate should use as a team building exercise with their key volunteers. For more information or to register, go to You can also email or call 405.990.7449.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Following is an ad placed by a man with the money needed to fund a rebuttal to what Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chairman, said recently, that many Republicans have never done an honest day's work in their life. The following full page ad was placed in the Washington Post by a businessman named George J. Esseff, Sr. He paid $104, 655.60 to run the ad and only did it because he is sick and tired of the way that "the rich" are portrayed by liberals these days. It is a great read.
Maybe you too, are a Republican? In today's America ask a growing number of high school and college students, their teachers and professors, the self-anointed media elite and/or hard working men and women of all ethnicities the question, "What is a Republican?" and you'll be told ".. a rich, greedy, egotistical individual, motivated only by money and the desire to accumulate more and more of it, at the expense of the environment, the working poor...and all whom they exploit..." I am a Republican - And I am none of those things...and I don't know any Republicans who are!
WHAT I AM first and foremost, is a loving husband of some 72 plus years, the father of four and an American who's proud of his country...and his country's heritage
WHAT I AM is the grandson of immigrants who risked every-thing, including their lives and those of their children, to escape tyranny in search of freedom.
WHAT I AM is a man who grew up during the Depression and witnessed first hand the effects of the Stock Market crash and the soup lines that followed. I watched as both my parents and grand parents, who had very little themselves, share what food they had with a half dozen other families, who had even less.
WHAT I AM is someone who worked his way through college by holding down three and four jobs at a time and then used that education to build a better life.
WHAT I AM is a husband who at age 24 started is own business for the "privilege" of working 60, 70 and 80 hours a week, risking everything I had including my health, in search of a better life for myself and my loved ones.
WHAT I AM is a businessman whose blood, sweat and tears and plenty of them..., made it possible for me to provide a secure living not only for my family and myself, but also for literally hundreds of my employees throughout the years. Employees who in turn were able to buy their own homes, raise their own families and give back to their communities and their country.
WHAT I AM is a man who believes in God; a God who has blessed this country... and all for which it stands.
WHAT I AM is someone who knows, if you doubt miracles exist in today's world, you need only to look into the face of those who received them....and the eyes of those who give them. WHAT I AM is an American who's proud that his President embraces a belief in God; proud of a President who understands, as "politically incorrect" as it may be, there is evil in this world and for the security and safety of all freedom loving people everywhere, it must be confronted...and it must be defeated.
WHAT I AM is an American who takes comfort in the knowledge that our President refuses to allow decisions concerning the very safety and security of this nation, to be governed by the political whims of foreign governments.
WHAT I AM is tired of hearing from leading Democrats who see only negativity in America; racism in her people; class warfare in her society and "political incorrectness" in her character.
WHAT I AM is a former Democrat who now understands that it is the soldier and not the reporter that guarantees us our freedoms of press, speech and dissent.
WHAT I AM is a man who believes in the sanctity of life. A man who is repulsed by the pandering of the political left for votes, at the expense of the unborn.
WHAT I AM is a husband and father who believes in the sanctity of marriage and the preservation of the family unit.
WHAT I AM is an ex-movie goer who is repulsed by those insecure, socially inept, elementary thinking, ego-inflated "entertainers" who have appointed themselves "experts" in the fields of national security and geo-politics and then use their forum to attack this nation, its leaders and its actions....much to the delight and encouragement of our enemies.
WHAT I AM is an American who understands the difference between "censorship" and "choice." Evidently, these individuals do not, because when these same "celebrities" receive public ridicule for their offensive actions, the first thing they yell is "censorship." What they seem incapable of understanding is...the right of free speech and dissent is shared equally by those well as those who offend. I support and will continue to support those films and performers whom I choose to and refuse to support those I don't. It is my right as an American a right I will continue to enthusiastically exercise.
WHAT I AM is a voter, tired of politicians, who every time their voting records are subjected to public scrutiny, try to divert attention from their political and legislative failures by accusing their opponents of "attack ads" and "negative campaigning"....and the news media who allow them to get away with it.
WHAT I AM is a Catholic who loves his God and his Faith and who's been taught to respect all religions whose teachings are based in love, peace and charity. As such, I am embarrassed and ashamed of those individuals in both private and public life whose decisions and actions are devoid of any sense of character or morals; individuals who are only driven by what's best for them....rather than what's right... often times at the expense of many....including our national security.
WHAT I AM is a realist who understands that the terrorist attack that murdered hundreds of innocent Russian children could have occurred here, in our heartland. That's why I sincerely believe America needs now, more than ever, a President who sees with a clear and focused vision and who speaks with a voice when heard by both friend and foe alike is understood, respected and believed.
WHAT I AM is eternally grateful to Ronald Reagan for having the bravery to speak out against Communism and the courage of his convictions in leading the fight to defeat it; and George W. Bush for the vision, courage, conviction and leadership he has shown in America's war on terrorism amidst both the constant and vicious, personal and political attacks both he and his family are made to endure.
WHAT I AM is a human being, full of numerous faults and failures, but a man nonetheless who though not always successful has continually strived to do "what's right" instead of "what's easy." A man who is challenging the religious leaders of all faiths, to not only preach to their congregations the fundamentals of "what's right" and "what's wrong," but to also then hold them accountable for their actions in both the public and private sectors.
WHAT I AM is disgusted with the Courts who on one hand call the murder of a pregnant woman a "double homicide," but then refer to the abortion of her baby as "pro-choice". WHAT I AM is someone deeply troubled by a political party which embraced a candidate whose primary "leadership" qualities center around his protesting of the Vietnam war and his labeling the honorable men and women who fought in it, (50,000 of whom gave their lives in that action), as rapists, and war criminals (John Kerry). That same political party then stepped forward this year to block the appearance of a true Vietnam war hero, retired Admiral and former United States Senator, Jeremiah Denton, (a man who spent seven years and seven torturous months in a North Vietnam prison), from speaking before an open session of the California legislature as part of that state's 4th of July celebration. The reason Democrats gave for refusing to allow this American hero to speak before their state legislature was because of the "conservative" nature of his views. As an American, that troubles me well it should you.
WHAT I AM is a man who feels the need to spend, ONE HUNDRED & FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED & FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS ($104, 655.60, tax paid) of his own money, to purchase this advertisement, in order to set the story straight. Some may say this money would have been better spent feeding the world's poor. At the risk of sounding self-serving, as an American and as a Republican, for the last six decades of my life, I have done exactly that..and more. Following the examples of my parents and grand parents, I have used my earnings to feed the poor, shelter the homeless, provide housing for the elderly and medical care for the sick..... and continue to do so...and I'm not alone in that work.
WHAT I AM is someone who is paying for this announcement at my sole expense in hopes of opening the eyes of those led blindly by ill-informed elements of our great nation, who, through either ignorance, or malicious intent, repeatedly attack and belittle those of us who belong to a political party that holds true to the belief, "The rights of the governed, exceed the power of the government." For those interested, I am speaking only as a tax-paying individual who is in no way associated with the Republican National Committee, nor with any of its directors, or delegates.
WHAT I AM is a man who understands, "the American way of life" is a message of self-empowerment for all.
WHAT I AM is an American who is grateful that our nation gives each of us the opportunity of self-determination and the right to benefit from the fruits of self achievement.
WHAT I AM is an American who wants to preserve that way of life for all who seek it.
WHAT I AM is blessed to be an American.... and proud to be a Republican.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial

by Steve Fair

Last week, two common sense bills passed the State House overwhelmingly but were killed in the Senate. One bill would have made English the official language of Oklahoma. Aided by Senator Harry “Turn” Coates, R-Seminole, the Senate Democrats were successful in sending SB 163 to conference by a vote of 25 to 23. That action will likely kill the bill this session. State Representative Randy Terrill, R-Moore, was the House author of the bill, which would have prevented state government from being compelled to deliver any services in languages other than English. Evidently, it got pretty heated at the Capital last week. Allegedly, Terrill and State Senator Patrick Anderson, R- Enid, had a heated exchange in which radio personality R.D. Mercer’s terminology was invoked by Terrill toward Anderson. Cooler heads have prevailed and the two Republicans have patched things up.

Coates is the real story. The Senator has been on the wrong side of several issues this session- most dealing with immigration. Coates is a building contractor who has brought into the concept that America must have illegals to work or the country will not survive. The Senator’s situational ethics have him voting with the Democrats often. Coates doesn’t appear to grasp the concept of “illegal.” Clearly, there is a major illegal immigration problem in America. Granted Congress should be dealing with it, but at least our state legislature had the courage to pass legislation that denies illegals taxpayer funded benefits. Coates’ stand on the rule of law is a clear contradiction to the Republican parties’ stand on immigration.

The second bill the Democrats killed was the Voter ID bill. Senate Bill # 1150 died when Senate Pro-Tem Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, would not cast a vote. The vote was 24-23 in favor of the bill with Morgan abstained. Because it takes 25 votes to pass the Senate, the bill died. If Morgan would have voted with the Dems, the vote would have been tied and Lt. Governor Jari Askins would have broken the tie. Morgan said, “If you disenfranchise poor, minority, and elderly voters, you can hurt Democrats. This is what this bill is all about.” The bill would have required a voter to present either their driver license, a passport, state id card, a copy of their utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, or a government document with their name on it before they were given a ballot. Surely there is not a person alive who votes that could not produce one of the above-mentioned documents. Maybe alive is the issue? Voter ID is not a partisan issue. If the Democrats want fair, principled elections- and surely they do- what’s the big deal? Their resistance to such a fundamental common sense bill should raise red flags with Oklahoma citizens. You can’t cash a check without an ID. You can’t fly on a plane without an ID. You can’t buy cigarettes or booze without an ID. We can’t get medical treatment without an ID, but in Oklahoma you can vote without an ID.

One of the most bizarre statements on the Voter ID issue came from Senator Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, who said, “Voter identification has always been a Republican thing. It gives them as much as a 3 percent advantage.” Where did Wilson get those numbers? His statement doesn’t seem plausible. How does requiring an ID to vote automatically help Republicans? Wilson’s statement reveals he has little respect for his party’s voters. Or perhaps the Senator meant three percent of the Democrats currently voting in Oklahoma couldn’t produce a valid ID to match the name they are voting for? Who knows what Wilson meant, but making Voter ID a partisan issue is a stretch and doesn’t speak well for an elected official. On the TV show, Tool Time, Tim’s neighbor was named Wilson, a guy whose face was obscured- usually by his fence- the entire series. You never saw his entire face. Wilson was never positively identified on the series. He seemed to want to hide his true identity. Could that Wilson now be in the Oklahoma State Senate?

Seriously, one of the reasons Oklahoma is a poor state is due to the lack of leadership in our state government the first one hundred years. Until 2004, the Democrats had complete control of the legislature, but in 2004, Oklahoma voters gave Republicans the State House and it’s likely in November the GOP will take the State Senate. Even with the recent trend of the Oklahoma state legislature going Republican, Senate Dems are not going gentle into that good night. That’s why when they kill good bills for no apparent reason, there is a reason and the motivation is not in the taxpayer’s best interest.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
Last Saturday, the State GOP held the annual state convention in Tulsa. 1035 delegates were there- the largest number in recent memory. A new National Committeeman and Committeewoman were elected. Lynn Windel and Bunny Chambers, the incumbents did not seek re-election. James Dunn, the 2006 Republican nominee for Attorney General, from Guthrie, and Dr. Carolyn McLarty of Woodward were elected to fill those slots.

Because of what happened at a couple of state GOP conventions - Missouri and Nevada - this year’s state convention was expected to be contentious and controversial. In those two states, a majority of the seated delegates were supporters of Congressman Ron Paul. In Missouri, the Paul supporters elected their “slate” of national delegates and rejected the “slate” recommended by the state executive committee. The Missouri delegates have allegedly pledged to violate party rules and state statues by not voting for the candidate who won the presidential primary in Missouri, Senator McCain. The Missouri delegates are saying they will go the national convention and vote for Ron Paul, not John McCain. The Nevada GOP convention was shut down because it appeared the same thing might happen. Neither of those two things happened at the Oklahoma convention because the coalition formed by Paul supporters, and two other groups, were outnumbered by long time party activists two to one.

Oklahoma has a total of 41 national delegates to the GOP convention. Any person serving as a national GOP delegate must sign an affidavit stating they will abide by party rules and state law by voting for whomever won a plurality of votes in the presidential primary by Congressional District and statewide. Senator McCain won 35 delegates, Governor Huckabee 6 on February 5th. Ron Paul got less than 4% of the votes cast in the 2/5 primary and no delegates. Fifteen of the national delegates are elected at the five district conventions. The remaining 26 delegates are elected “at large.” Three of the 26 slots are automatic slots- the state chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman- and the other 23 slots are filled through a process of research and interviewing by the State GOP Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is composed of the State Chair, Vice Chair, National Committeeman and Committeewoman, the District Chairs and Vice Chairs and five appointees by the State Chair and five appointees by the State Vice Chair. I serve on the Executive Committee because I am the 4th District Chair. The committee is made up of conservative Christian grassroots activists that have been ELECTED to these positions because of their past activity and volunteer efforts on behalf of the party. They are not paid staffers- hirelings, consultants, elected officials, or rich donors. They look and reflect the values of Oklahoma. This executive committee is one of the most active and engaged of any in recent memory. There is no one on the committee with an agenda or who wants to remain "in control" by excluding new people.

This year, over 100 people applied to be considered as an “at large” delegate to the Republican Convention. Each applicant filled out an information sheet recapping their involvement in the party, and why they wanted to be a delegate to the national convention. The State GOP Executive Committee personally interviewed 78 of those people on Saturday April 19th in Oklahoma City. After three hours of interviews, a secret vote was taken. Twenty-one of the twenty-three delegates were elected on the first ballot. It took two additional ballots to fill the remaining two slots. The most qualified applicants were apparent as evidenced by the group’s continuity in voting. The process was fair, professional, ethical and above board. ANYONE WHO STATES OTHERWISE IS EITHER MISINFORMED OR DISHONEST!

At Saturday’s convention, a group calling themselves “The Liberty Coalition” distributed their own “slate” with the intent of having their slate selected instead of the executive committees. The Liberty Coalition is a combination of various groups. One arm of the coalition are the so-called ultra-conservatives. They believe the current leadership in the state party-, which includes me-, are moderates at best and liberals at worst. If these so-called ultra- conservatives knew just how conservative I am- theologically and philosophically- they would probably be trying to recruit me. Another arm of the coalition has been attempting to create a “shadow” state Republican Party for years. They have their own conventions; their own officers and they bill themselves as the “true” conservatives. Some in their ranks have been indicted for violating ethics rules.

The last group has the largest numbers, but have less experience in the political arena- the Ron Paul group. The Paul supporters are a strange demographic. They range from people with strong family values to those who want to legalize dope. Many have been registered Libertarians or conservative Democrats who have recently changed their party affiliation to Republican. Some have been "awakened" politically by Congressman Paul's message- which many int he Republican party agree with. But the leadership of this movement has said their stated strategy is to “steal” the Republican nomination for Ron Paul by electing national delegates, going to the national convention In Minneapolis and violating party rules and state laws. They are convinced only Paul can save America.

The real problem with the Liberty Coalition is their inconsistency. They bill themselves as principled, yet they employ unprincipled, deceptive, attack dog tactics against anyone who doesn’t agree 100% with their philosophy. They call themselves conservatives, yet they form unholy alliances with groups whose motives and actions are far from conservative. They call themselves honest and trustworthy, but they will partner with those who openly state they believe the end justifies the means. Truly principled, ethical people don’t engage, associate or form alliances with the unprincipled and unethical. I hope the principled people that are a part of any of the three groups recognize the inconsistency and the "win by any means" mentality of many in these group's leadership.
Situational ethics do not guide the principled. Principled people don't seek to tear down organizations because the organizations don't agree with them 100%. They work to change the organizations by working within the organizations. Principled people are Salt & Light (Matthew 5). They don't backbite, accuse, lie about people who they know are principled, honest people just because those people don't completely agree with them. Thankfully the majority of delegates at the state Republican convention on Saturday recognized the inconsistency of the Liberty Coalition and voted 2 to 1 for the Executive Committee’s slate- the real conservatives!