Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

On Sunday, at least thirty-three pastors in twenty-two states endorsed a presidential nominee from the pulpit. They were defying a federal law that prohibits American clergy from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit. One of those was Paul Blair, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond. Blair, a former OSU and NFL lineman, said, “As a Christian and as an American citizen, I will be voting for John McCain.” “It’s absolutely vital to proclaim the truth and not be afraid to proclaim the truth from our pulpits,” Blair stated.

Blair was participating in what is called The Pulpit Initiative by the Alliance Defense Fund whose stated mission is to “reclaim a pastors’ constitutional right to speak truth from the pulpit.”

Pastors, priests and rabbis were free to say what they wanted to say about politics and the issues of the day through the early history of our nation – in fact, right up until 1954. That year, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, was facing opposition in his re-election bid from Christians and anti-communists, some of whom were speaking their minds freely from the pulpits.
Johnson, a powerful figure in the Senate who would later become John F. Kennedy's vice president and succeed him following the assassination in 1963, had a solution for his own political predicament – to muzzle churches and clergy with federal regulations.

Through what became known as "the Johnson Amendment," the U.S. Congress changed the Internal Revenue Service code, prohibiting non-profits, including churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. It still allowed for pastors to preach about “issues”, but not endorsing a candidate from the pulpit. That’s when the liberals begin to use the term “separation of church and state” to justify removing God from the public square.

Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution has the phrase “separation of church and state” included in them. Those words do not appear in either document. The words “separation of church and state” appeared in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. The Baptist group was concerned with the possibility of the newly formed republic establishing a “state” religion. Because of their background and the religious persecution they endured before coming to the New World, they wanted Jefferson’s assurance the government would stay out of the spiritual realm.

Jefferson agreed with them and wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

The goal of The Pulpit Initiative is to reverse the Johnson amendment. While that may be a worthy goal from the political view, it’s misguided from a spiritual standpoint. I applaud these pastors’s willingness to stand for the truth, but their zeal in “endorsing” any man is misguided. Romans 13 is clear that we should obey the laws of the land and recognize that a sovereign God put elected officials in power. No place in scripture exhorts a pastor to preach anything but the “gospel” and the “whole counsel of God.” When a pastor steps into the pulpit, he should not be concerned with delivering a political parties message, but God’s message.

Issues are a different matter. Homosexuality and abortion are issues that are condemned in scripture and a pastor should address those issues. Drunkenness and perversion are not just political issues, they are spiritual ones, and so pastors should be bold and address those. But when pastors begin to endorse particular men for a particular job from the pulpit, they have gone too far.

I can’t imagine Jonathan Edwards, the Presbyterian theologian and the grandfather of Vice President Aaron Burr standing in his pulpit and endorsing a candidate. Behind that sacred desk, Edwards dispensed God’s message. His famous sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God,” preached in 1741, well before our nation was founded. This sermon has been widely reprinted as an example of "fire and brimstone" preaching in the colonial revivals. Was Edwards political? Absolutely, but when he was in the pulpit, he preached righteousness, temperance and judgment to come. He didn’t talk about the upcoming election.

In our “talking head” society, some ministers have taken their eye off the ball and believe they must engage in the political process from the pulpit to be relevant. While their motive may be pure, pastors should not endorse candidates from the pulpit. As ministers of the gospel, they should know the hope of the world is neither John McCain or Barrack Obama- it’s Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dr. Coburn Credits Emmett Till Justice Campaign with
Passage of Civil Rights Legislation
Pledges to force debate and spending cuts on even more bills next Congress

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today helped pass the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act after Senate leaders signaled their intent to kill a compromise proposal supported by the Emmett Till Justice Campaign.

“Alvin Sykes, the head of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign, has worked tirelessly to pass this civil rights legislation ever since he promised Emmett Till’s dying mother that he would help bring justice to the perpetrators of these evil crimes. Mr. Sykes stood strong on his values and principles and was determined to finish his job as he waded through the swamp of Washington’s politics. His heart, integrity and determination are unmatched. I congratulate him on a job well done and on promises kept. Politicians in Washington can learn a lot from his example,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Still, I’m disappointed by the majority’s cynical manipulation of this issue and willingness to exploit for partisan gain the efforts of those who worked for many decades to prosecute these crimes. Cutting lesser priorities within the bloated federal budget could have paid for this legislation, but congressional leaders refused to eliminate pet projects back home or demand the Department of Justice direct funds to pay for solving these civil rights violations. Over the past three years, I have identified numerous examples of wasteful spending within the Department of Justice that could be eliminated to pay for the Emmett Till bill and was time and again rejected because Washington politicians insisted that they do not and should not have to pay for any new spending that Congress authorizes,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Taxpayers deserve to know that the Department of Justice ended the last two fiscal years with $1.6 billion in unspent money that will not be returned to the taxpayers. Yet, instead of allowing the DOJ to direct a tiny fraction of that sum to prosecuting unsolved civil rights crimes, Senate leaders have instead insisted that taxpayers provide DOJ with another $63 million more for this purpose,” Dr. Coburn said.

“For the victims of these decades-old crimes, justice delayed is justice denied. Yet, it is also unjust that Congress’ borrow and spend approach to passing legislation will burden future generations with the cost of today’s well-intentioned, but fiscally irresponsible, efforts to seek justice in these cases. Future generations of Americans who will inherit a $9 trillion national debt will, unfortunately, pay to make amends for Congress’ decision to live beyond its means,” Dr. Coburn said.

“The events of the last few weeks in the financial sector have highlighted the dangers of borrowing without regard to consequences. Unfortunately, Congress is continuing its business-as-usual spending practices. When the Senate reconvenes next year I look forward to forcing debate on even more bills that increase spending but are not paid for with spending cuts. I make no apologies for using every procedural tool at my disposal to try to force this body to live within its means. In the 110th Congress, nearly 900 bills have passed in secret with no debate, no amendments and no recorded vote through the ‘hotline’ process. I eventually allowed nearly 95 percent of those bills to pass. Next year, in light of our financial crisis and the majority’s refusal to pay for new programs with spending offsets, far fewer of those bills will become law,” Dr. Coburn said.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

It’s forty-two days until November 4th- Election Day 2008. Because of the recent actions of Congress to bail out some publicly traded companies in the mortgage lending business, the spotlight in the race has shifted to the economy.

George W. Bush, Republicans and even Ronald Reagan are being blamed for the current bailout situation. But Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass. And Senator Chris Dodd, D, Conn. Chair the respective committees responsible for the oversight and regulation of the industry and must bear some of the responsibility.

Back in 2005, a bill was presented in the Senate Banking committee that would have revamped Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. It was voted down “along party lines” with the Dems opposing increased regulation. Many of the U.S. Senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Mr. Dodd have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.

And Mr. Frank said in 2002, shortly before accounting problems were exposed at both companies, “I do not regard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as problems,” The Wall Street Journal reported after the Freddie Mac accounting scandal in 2003, Frank said, “I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis.”

The industries that are in trouble- banking and home mortgage companies- are businesses that government has always highly regulated. Some criticize the free market system, but make no mistake these businesses did not operate in a pure free market. Twenty years ago, if you got a mortgage, you had the option of meeting with your local banker, completing a loan application and then having the local bank loan you the money for your house. For all practical purposes, local banks got out of the mortgage market when government-guaranteed mortgage lenders entered the business, pooling trillions of dollars of mortgages based on a broad geographical base of loans from around the country. This was done in the name of asset diversification. It also cut out local monitoring and removed that personal touch from banking that defined the industry.
If you want a mortgage now, a statistician assesses the risk. Nobody is hired locally to monitor the loans and collect monthly payments. While the process sounds efficient, the reason we are in this mess is because the standards to qualify for a mortgage loan were lowered to a level that virtually anyone qualified. Mortgages became like used tires- someone always had a better deal.

If people continue to walk away from their homes and if new lenders are not found to fund replacement owners, America will experience hundreds of billions of dollars of property equity decline by the end of 2009. Local banks will likely be back in the mortgage business. There will be empty houses detorating and at some point, squatters and the weather will take over what were once nice homes. Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve, expects “local” banks to step in and help solve the crisis. That solution will likely be houses for sale at “garage sale” prices with the difference in market value and sale price supplemented by taxpayer dollars.
Bailing out private industry- regulated or not- is not the function of government. And not all lawmakers are for throwing a lift vest to every sinking company.

South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint who is the latest conservative lawmaker to publicly oppose the Treasury Department's estimated $700 billion Wall Street bailout, saying it could "make matters much worse by socializing an entire sector of the U.S. economy." "Most Americans are paying their bills on time and investing responsibly and should not be forced to pay for the reckless actions of some on Wall Street, especially when no one can guarantee this will solve our current problems," DeMint said. "This plan will not only cause our nation to fall off the debt cliff, it could send the value of the dollar into a free-fall as investors around the world question our ability to repay our debts."

Fiscal issues should be discussed in this presidential race. The candidates have two very different records on fiscal matters. Senator Obama believes government is the solution but as proven by this crisis, more government regulation is not the answer. McCain is a true fiscal conservative. He wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, eliminate earmark spending and balance the federal budget. He has pledged to veto any bill with an earmark in it and “make the person responsible famous.” If it were your money- and it is- which plan makes the most sense?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dr. Coburn Says Financial Crisis Requires
Sacrifice and Statesmanship in Congress

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding a potential government plan to address problems in the nation’s financial markets:

“This is a time not just for bipartisanship in Congress but common sense, sacrifice and statesmanship. Before we ask American families to make further sacrifices we need to make sacrifices of our own. Congress must learn the lesson of our current financial situation, which is that you cannot live beyond your means indefinitely. As a first step, members of Congress should put their pet projects on the chopping block and come together to eliminate billions in wasteful Washington spending.”

“Congress has known about these problems for years, but we did nothing because we were so obsessed with short-term politics and earmarking to do the hard work of oversight and reform that was necessary to avert this mess.”

“The answer now is not a mysterious formula known only to economists at the Federal Reserve, but a commitment among all national leaders to restore the fundamental market principles that made America the world’s leading economic power. We must not forget that it was the ingenuity of the American people and Congress’ willingness to restrain the power of government that allowed our nation to flourish while other systems collapsed or atrophied under their own weight.”

“The current crisis was caused not by free markets but by a perversion of the market. Congress’ willingness to tolerate a perverse policy of private profit and public risk among leading financial institution created this problem. Members of Congress should not repeat this failed policy, but return it to its rightful place among other failed socialist experiments in the ash heap of history.”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

At the Republican National Convention, delegations are asked to take on a "Service" Project in the host city. Oklahoma took on the task of painting the dining hall at the St. Paul Salvation Army feeding site. The day before former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had helped serve breakfast at the same facility. Gary Jones, State GOP Chairman, is pictured above, but eight other delegates participated in the endeavor. You can read an account and see more photos at:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Even on trial, Stevens pulls in earmarks
By Roxana Tiron
from THE HILL 09/16/08

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is busy fending off federal charges and scrambling to retain his seat, but that hasn’t affected his appetite for earmarks. Stevens has secured the most earmarks in the Senate defense appropriations bill, according to an analysis by The Hill. The Hill reviewed projects requested by individual members that made it into the spending measure. Stevens’s earmark share in the defense bill is more than $200 million. The indicted senator is likely to tout that haul on the campaign trail.

Senate appropriators recently disclosed close to $3 billion in project requests that were not included in the Pentagon’s budget request for fiscal 2009, according to a calculation by The Hill and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS). That is more than $2 billion less than what the Senate disclosed last year. Sens. Stevens and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, top the list with about $215 million in earmarks each.
Stevens stands out because he made the majority of requests by himself, sharing only a few with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). By comparison, many of Cochran’s requests come together with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) or other senators.

Stevens relinquished his spot as the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Defense panel in July after being charged with seven counts of concealing more than $250,000 worth of home renovations and gifts from a now-defunct oil-services company, Veco Corp. Cochran stepped in as the ranking member of the Defense panel to replace Stevens. The longest-serving Republican senator has pleaded not guilty and is hoping to clear his name before he faces Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) in the November election. Stevens last month easily won the GOP primary.
Just like in previous years, Stevens — who stepped down before his panel officially marked up the bill — is once again able to secure funds for a wealth of programs benefiting Alaska.
In fiscal 2008, Cochran and Stevens emerged as the biggest earmark winners across all appropriations bills, according to an analysis conducted by TCS, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks earmarks and federal spending.
While it is not unusual for appropriators to secure many earmarks, the party in the majority rakes in the most.According to the TCS analysis, senior Republican appropriators still managed to win more funding for their pet projects than senior Democratic appropriators, although the GOP share shrank significantly. For the 2009 defense-spending bill — the only one marked up in subcommittee so far — Stevens and Cochran appear to continue the trend. Stevens enjoys a very close relationship with Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Appropriations Defense panel. Inouye and Stevens call each other “brother” and contribute to each other’s campaigns.

The majority members usually receive 60 percent of the earmarks; the minority, 40 percent. The two veteran lawmakers have been known to split the earmark amount almost down the middle. Stevens has some close friends on the committee, said TCS’s Keith Ashdown.
“His friends are giving him the juice to go back to his constituents and remind them that he delivers for the state of Alaska,” said Ashdown. “ He's in the fight for his political life."
In fact, Stevens appears to have received a bump in earmark requests from last year. In the fiscal 2008 defense bill, Stevens claimed $195 million in earmarks, according to TCS.
Ashdown added that this time around, “His buddies that he has known for decades and legislated with … have packed this bill with projects for Alaska to make sure that he can show that his experience and what he can bring home should matter in this election. This will be incredibly important for him.”

For the 2009 defense bill, Inouye secured $200 million — a close second to Stevens and Cochran. Stevens touted some of his earmarks as well as his close working relationship with Inouye in a press release. His office sent the press release (which is also posted on the senator’s website) when The Hill requested comment for this article. According to Ashdown, Stevens did not make it a habit to post press releases touting earmarks in the past. This year, with a tough political challenge, Stevens’s achievements are front and center. Among the projects Stevens’s office boasted are: $500,000 for wind power construction at Tin City, Alaska; $10 million for a coal-to-liquids facility at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; $61.3 million for Air Force and Army ranges in Alaska to improve readiness and interoperability, and $16 million for a C-17 assault landing zone in interior Alaska. Stevens also secured $3 million for the Alaskan National Guard’s counter-drug program, $2 million for hibernation genomics and $4 million for the research and development of an Arctic regional computer. Cochran’s office did not comment for this article.
Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the dean of Senate appropriations, secured about $170 million in earmarks, according to the disclosure in the bill.
Earmarks are government funds that are allocated by a legislator for a particular pet project, often without proper review. Definitions vary, but earmarks are "allocations of revenue in a bill that are directed to a specific project or recipient typically in a legislator’s home state or district."
The Office of Management and Budget defines them as congressional funds whose recipient has been specified without adherence to the "competitive allocation process."Earmarks appear in appropriation bills and authorization bills, legislation that authorizes the spending of government funds and the existence of programs. They can either be "hard" or "soft." When a bill allocates a specific amount to a project, it’s known as a hard earmark. When the amount isn’t specified, it’s called a soft earmark.
There are a few groups that monitor earmarking in the U.S. Congress. The watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste produces the Congressional Pig Book, which is a yearly compilation (going back to 1991) of earmarks and "pork." CAGW counts as pork any spending project that meets at least one of the group's seven criteria, which include being awarded without competition or without a presidential request. Another nonpartisan group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, has tracked earmarks for fiscal year 2008 and provides databases and analyses for appropriation bills, as well as reports on authorization bills. TCS maintains similar databases back to 2005, but they are only available by request.Both TCS and CAGW advocate against "wasteful" government spending, and their numbers might reflect that.
For instance, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget cites a slightly lower tally than CAGW for 2005 earmarks. OMB, too, provides a searchable database of earmarks (only for years 2005 and 2008), though users can’t search for individual congressional sponsors of earmarks. Previously, bills had to be scanned thoroughly to locate earmarks, but new regulations are making it easier to identify them and their sponsors. Members of the House must now claim their earmarks, identify what the money is for and who will benefit, and state that they have no financial interests in the earmarks. Senate members must make available a list of earmarks, their sponsors and governmental purposes, and post such information online within 48 hours of any vote on a bill. For more information go to

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
Olly Olly Oxen Free!
by Steve Fair

“Olly olly oxen free” is a phrase used in children’s games which is generally used to indicate that people who are hiding (in a game of hide and seek, for example) can safely come out into the open. Evidently some formerly hidden Republicans in the Sooner state are coming out of hiding.

In a recent Tulsa World article, State Senate district #24 which includes my home was mentioned. “Senate District 24, is the fastest growing in the state and is rapidly moving to the Republican column, “ the article states. “It (District #24) added nearly 5,000 voters from 2006 to mid-2008 and more than 60 percent of those were Republicans. “ Stretching from Moore to Duncan, the district is represented by State Senator Anthony Sykes, R-Moore.

Because Republicans control most of the state's largest and fastest-growing legislative districts this trend could magnify recent Democratic losses in the Oklahoma House and Senate if it continues through redistricting following the 2010 census. "If it stays the way it is, it's going to hit us hard and we know it," said Ivan Holmes, state Democratic Party chairman in the World article. University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie agrees. "It's going to be hard to draw districts without carving out some new Republican seats. Southeastern Oklahoma is going to lose one Senate district and maybe two,” Gaddie predicts.

Legislative seats are based on population, not voter registration, but voter registration is one indicator of population shifts. According to state Election Board records through July 14, Republicans outnumber Democrats in seven of the eight fastest-growing state Senate districts in terms of new voters.

And for the first time in modern times, Democrats in Oklahoma are under 50% in registration. That trend coupled with the nomination of a liberal Democrat Presidential nominee and US Senate candidate at the top of the ticket should have state Democrat leaders worrying about what they can do to turn the tide. The Dems have lost the State House and will likely lose the State Senate in November.

With such positive trends for the GOP, why is it that Oklahoma still has more Democrats than Republicans? Registering Democrat in Oklahoma was common in years past due to local elections. Republicans were in the minority and often times, no Republican ran for the county offices, so the race was determined in the primary. In order to vote in those county primary elections, “hidden” Republicans registered as Democrats and ran as Democrats in order to participate in the system. But the Democrats have moved so far to the left, many of those voters in Oklahoma are changing party affiliation to align with their values. When former President Ronald Reagan formally switched to the Republican Party, he said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."

Another factor is the Oklahoma Democrat party used to claim Sooner state Democrats were not as liberal as the national party, but the most recent Democrat state party platform is as liberal as the national document. In the most recent Oklahoma Democrat party platform there are planks supporting abortion on demand and same sex marriage. If you want to “vet” it, the two major party platforms are widely available online.

When “vetting” candidates, here are some appropriate questions to ask; “Who are you voting for in the Presidential race?” If they are a Democrat and say McCain, perhaps they are in the wrong party. It’s one thing to be a “hidden” Republican voter, but a political candidate should be in agreement with their party leadership. A great follow-up question would be why are you running as a Democrat if you can’t support your presidential nominee?

A second question should be; "Why would you run for office with a party unless you agreed with their platform?" These are fair questions and voters deserve an answer. Candidates must align with their values and the party platform outlines positions on a variety of subjects.

Recent polls show that McCain/Palin will carry Oklahoma by 35-40 points. The Sooner state has not voted for a Democrat for President since 1964. Our federal delegation is largely Republican, but at the local level, Democrats still control county government. Republicans do well in some counties, but rural counties are more of a challenge. That too is changing. With the emerging of new “Republicans” in Oklahoma it’s as if someone cried- Olly Olly Oxen Free!

Dr. Coburn Urges Senate Leaders to End Partisan
Obstruction of Child Protection Legislation

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), a practicing physician, today called on Senate leaders to end their obstruction of S. 3344, the “Protecting Children from Pornography and Internet Exploitation Act,” after Oprah Winfrey featured a major provision of the bill on her television show today.

“Those who watched Oprah’s broadcast today deserve to know that Senate leaders have repeatedly objected to passing critical child protection legislation for partisan, political purposes. Congress has a nine percent approval rating because politicians in Washington refuse to set common sense priorities, refuse to make rational budget decisions, and refuse to work across the aisle when that requires sharing credit with the other party during election season. Victims of these horrible crimes don’t care whether Democrats or Republicans get the credit for protecting children,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Oprah’s viewers deserve to know that Senate leaders have twice objected to passage of the bill she supports. Senate leaders have insisted that S. 1738, authored by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and endorsed by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), only pass if it is included in a package of unrelated bills that addresses less vital concerns such as the interstate commerce of non-human primates. When I proposed de-linking the causes of protecting children and chimpanzees, Senate leaders objected,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Because of these objections, I introduced S. 3344, a comprehensive child exploitation bill that pairs S. 1738 with the Securing Adolescents from Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act of 2007, a measure strongly supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which passed the House by a margin of 409-2. The Democrat leadership objected, however, apparently because they didn’t want to give the SAFE Act’s Senate author, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), credit for passing a complimentary bill,” Dr. Coburn said.

The SAFE Act would expand the requirements for electronic service providers (ESPs) to report online child pornography and help to root out people selling, trading, or displaying illegal pornographic images of children. (click here for NCMEC’s letter endorsing the SAFE Act)

“Senates leaders also have not informed Oprah’s viewers, as well as victims of child pornography and their families, that they have zero intention of funding child protection legislation this year. Senate leaders, who are eager to leave Washington to campaign, have refused to do their job and have passed no appropriations bills this year. As a result, child protection legislation will receive no funding. The children who have been exploited by these crimes deserve real action, not false promises and empty Washington rhetoric,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Sadly, victims of crime and their families have been down this road many times. For instance, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act in 2006 and, despite promises to the Surviving Parents Coalition, including Ed and Elizabeth Smart, Congress has failed to appropriate any money to fund the act,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Oprah’s viewers who want to support this noble cause should ask Senators to support S. 3344, a bill that includes the key provisions of S. 1738 as well as the SAFE Act. Viewers should then ask Congress to make tough choices and fund these vital programs with real money by spending less on special interest earmarks and other forms of wasteful Washington spending. Our economy is in trouble and our country is going bankrupt because politicians refuse to do what American families do every day and make tough choices between competing priorities,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Finally, I’m concerned that Oprah’s program only highlighted one half of the solution – the half supported by the presidential ticket she has endorsed. While I support the right of celebrities to use their platforms to advance partisan goals, Oprah’s viewers deserve to know all of the facts. The American people have had enough of Washington’s false promises and partisan rhetoric that fails to acknowledge that all Americans, both Democrat and Republican, want to do their best to protect our children from internet predators,” Dr. Coburn said.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

S T A T I S M !
is a term that is used to describe specific instances of state intervention in personal, social or economic matters. A form of government or economic system that involves significant state intervention in personal, social or economic matters.
by Jeremy Fair
I recently came across an article by well known theologian and philosopher Dr. R.C. Sproul on the subject of statism. Dr. Sproul- began by recounting a conversation he had with the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer in 1971. Sproul asked Schaefferwhat is your biggest concern for the future of the church in America?” Schaeffer replied, without hesitation, “statism.”

Statism is the philosophy or view that results when the state or government, in either self deception or vain conceit, claims to be the ultimate reality. Rather than mankind existing wholly dependent on God, the state becomes the ultimate reality by which everything, including our very existence, is defined. Thus, state becomes divine; government replaces God.

Of course statism is not a new philosophy, the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and many in the Roman Empire claimed divine supremacy. According to Sproul, statism was manifested in the last century through Hitler’s Third Reich, Stalin’s Russia, and Chairman Mao’s communist China.

Surely the United States of America, a country founded on Judaeo-Christian principles and distinctions, would never succumb to or embrace the philosophy of statism, or would she? The founding fathers were careful to craft the distinctions between church and state, but their intent has been abused and abandoned. Their intent was to maintain governmental and ecclesiastical distinctions so that the church’s hierarchical structure did not govern the state nor would the state infringe upon the church. However, what has happened in the past few decades, again quoting Sproul “is the obfuscation of this original distinction between church and state, so that today the language we hear of separation of church and state, when carefully exegeted, communicates the idea of the separation of the state from God. In this sense, it’s not merely that the state declares independence from the church, it also declares independence from God and presumes itself to rule with autonomy.”

What does statism produce? The exponential growth of government, particularly the federal government, so that the government now virtually engulfs all of life. Where education was once under the direction of local authorities, it now is controlled and directed by federal legislation. The economy that once was driven by the natural forces of the market has now come under the strict control of the federal government, which not only regulates the economy, but considers itself responsible for controlling it. These examples may appear to be social and economic rather than religious, but at the very core it is religion, the religion of state that predicates these shifts in direction.

In his conclusion Sproul wrote statism is the natural and ultimate enemy to Christianity because it involves a usurpation of the reign of God. In the final analysis, if statism prevails in America, it will mean not only the death of our religious freedom, but also the death of the state itself.”

So what is the answer? The answer is not found in barriers between church and state, either to maintain the purity of the church or the religious neutrality of the state. In fact, solutions directed to maintain the separation of church and state are on the entirely wrong field of play. The church and state for all practical purposes have been separated…but neither have been separated from the supreme rule of God. The answer, I believe, lies in the hands of the church to proclaim with authority the absolute supremacy of God over all of life; that nothing exists on its own, not even the state.

Jeremy Fair is the Senior Pastor of Arlington Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Texas- He is the son of Steve & Debbie Fair. He can be reached by email at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oklahoma Delegation asks the RNC
for Vote Confirmation!
(Oklahoma City, OK - September 8, 2008): Oklahoma Republican Party Gary Jones, joined by RNC National Committeeman James Dunn and RNC National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty, today called on the Republican National Committee to clarify Oklahoma's vote as tallied in the official record of the 39th Republican National Convention held last week at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. "The proper tally is Senator John McCain 39, Congressman Ron Paul 2."Oklahoma delegates are rightfully concerned that their votes have been reflected correctly," Jones said. "No votes were cast by Senator Inhofe before Oklahoma's microphone was turned off, and the convention staff assumed that all of the Sooner State's votes were being cast for McCain.""Oklahoma's delegates are bound by law to vote for the candidate who won the area they represent - either the state as a whole or the individual congressional district," Jones continued. "John McCain won the third, fourth and fifth congressional districts and Oklahoma overall; Governor Mike Huckabee won the first and second congressional districts and later released his delegates. Of those six former Huckabee delegates, who could vote for whichever candidate they chose, four supported McCain and two supported Congressman Ron Paul."
Chairman Gary Jones, outgoing RNC National Committeeman Lynn Windel and outgoing RNC National Committeewoman Bunny Chambers voted for Senator McCain to reflect Oklahoma's overall vote."It is important that votes be recorded correctly and state party rules be followed," said Jones. "Only by following the rules can we ensure a fair process.""Oklahoma's Republican delegates and I look forward to working with Republicans across the state to elect our nominee, Senator John McCain, the next president of the United States," Jones concluded.
Weekly Opinion/Editorial
By Steve Fair
The starter's pistol has fired and the presidential race is underway. Obama has come out of the gate a little slow, but lest conservatives get overconfident, I predict he will recover and the presidential campaign will be competitive. America is evenly divided philosophically and politically, so make no mistake, McCain is not going to be elected with the margins of the 1980 landslide victory of Ronald Reagan.

Oklahoma is a solid “red” state, meaning we will go for McCain. It remains to be seen what the margin of victory will be and whether McCain will have coattails, but Obama has two chances to win Oklahoma- slim and none. The Senator and his campaign team recognize that and are “fishing where the fish are” and have announced they have no plans to visit the Sooner state.

There are 225 million people in the United States eligible to vote; yet only 170 million are actually registered to vote. That leaves about 30% of the population not engaged politically at all. 121 million people voted in the last Presidential election- about 60% of those registered. Those are sad statistics, because it reveals an apathy and unconcern with government. There is a cynicism toward politicians and politics. That must change if we are to see government improved- from the federal to the local level.

Oklahoma is a small state with only seven electoral votes, so our impact on the presidential race will not be significant. But there are other races on the ballot besides the Presidential race. On November 4th, voters across Oklahoma will vote in four statewide races and four state questions in addition to the local races in their area. Amazingly, many people will go into the voting booth not being informed or educated voters. With the advent of mass media and advances in communication, there is no excuse to not be informed when you vote.

The last day to register to vote and participate in the November 4th general election is Friday October 10th. If you are not registered, pick up a form at the local post office or tag agency. If you are registered, make it a point to meet the candidates and determine their position on the political issues. But you should also find out how they conduct their personal lives and manage their business. As David Barton often says, “we should vote for someone we can turn our back on.”

In “ Ten Steps To Change America,” Barton of Wallbuilders- says our current national public stand against God must be set aside. Barton says, “We must regain the conviction that Biblical principles are vital to national success, and we must be willing to pursue their reinstatement. In recent decades, we have wrongly allowed the very principles, which produced morality and virtue, and thus national stability, to be restricted in public life. We need once again to recognize the truth so well understood by George Washington who said “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Barton has been talking about this long before Newt wrote Rediscovering God in America. In fact, John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister who signed the Declaration of Independence said this back in 1782 when asked how to determine who to vote for: “Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. And the people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.” Witherspoon was saying the moral character of a candidate is primary when determining who to vote for.
All too often, the predominate reason someone votes for a candidate is because of what they think that candidate will do for them and their group, association, or industry. How will their election impact me economically? Morality becomes a secondary factor to economic ones. We need people in elective office whose sole goal is to do what’s right- not get more funding for pet projects. Their moral compass must be one of servitude for their constituents, not being a lap dog for special interests. Ben Franklin once said, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Can you hear the trumpet sounding?

As a kid, I remember my parents and grandparents talking about "losing their vote." Of course, they were saying they had voted for the person who didn't win the lection, but John Quincy Adams gave us a guiding principle about voting: “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

Thursday, September 4, 2008

State Representative Pam Peterson at the Thursday evening
session of the Republican National Convention.

State Representative Sally Kern and State Party Chair Gary Jones listen as an unnamed CNN producer
talks with over 20 of the Oklahoma delegation on Monday evening in the lobby of the hotel.

William Layton, 9, is the son of Amanda Layton a New Jersey delegate sitting directly
in front of us Thursday evening. He was vvvveeeerrrry tired!

Angie LaPlante, 5th district Chairperson (foreground) along with Jonathon Storment, back, L-R Ryan Owens, Marjorie Brown,
and State Representative Gary Banz on the floor of the Republican National Convention Thursday evening.

Thursday September 4, 2008: Midnight

We caught the buses to the Xcel center for the final session at 3:30pm. After eating a Chicago style hot dog, Debbie and I made our way to the floor. Michael Bates from Batesline was gracious enough to snap a picture of four of the five Republican District Chairs at the National Convention.
The evening program began promptly at 6pm with Trace Adkins, the country star singing the National Anthem. Then Congressman Tom Cole spoke briefly and several candidates for US House were given the opportunity to address the delegates. The same was allowed for the US Senate Republicans.
I visited with Amanda Layton, an attorney from Riverton, NJ. Amanda and her husband have one son- William- (see photo above). Amanda was sitting with her friend Amy Roschkes. The ladies were very excited about Sarah Palin. When I asked her how she got involved in politics, she replied, "My husband is the County GOP Chairman." My wife Debbie said, "I can relate to that." Amanda's political hero is the former Governor of New Jersey, Christie Todd Whitman. Layton said social and economic issues drive her in politics. "I don't believe in entitlement programs- I worked my way through law school while raising a son," Layton said. They were seated directly in front of us at the Thursday evening session and were gracious and friendly.
Several speakers preceded the keynotes including Minnesota Governor Tim Paulenty. "Barack Obama gives a good speech, but the best sermons are not those that are just preached, but those that are lived." , Panlenty said. The governor emphasised COUNTRY FIRST as his message.
Next on the list was former US Senator Bill Frist who talked about peace through health care. "John McCain knows you don't go to war with a person who has saved your children's lives," Frist said.
He was followed by Lt. General Carol Mutter, who is a retired three star general. She talked about the killing of Megan McClung . McClung died during combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq, on December 6, Her motto was BE BOLD, BE BRIEF, BE GONE. Mutter said "No one will be a better commander in chief than John McCain."
After a moving video about the life of Cindy McCain, the future first lady spoke eloquently to the crowd. "This election is about renewing our commitment to one another." Women always seek a husband who has courage and values and with John McCain, I hit a home run," Cindy said. "I know what his children say of him and there is no doubt what our forefathers would make of him," McCain concluded.

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback spoke and said, "John McCain lives for something more than himself."

Oklahoma's own Congresswoman Mary Fallin spoke. With images of the Oklahoma City bombing on the screen, Fallin talked about the "Oklahoma standard." "The spirit of Oklahoma and how Oklahomans responded to the bombing is the spirit of the American people to stand together with the spirit and resolve that embodies itself in the spirit of John McCain." "We cannot afford a president who think he can talk with evil," Fallin said.

McCain's best friends, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and former PA Governor Tom Ridge spoke. Ridge said, "It's not about building a record, it's about having one."

After a moving video, McCain approached the podium. He began by accepting the party's nomination. He wrote his own speech and instead of using a TelePrompter, he used a written text. He started out by acknowledging his family, then he stressed his military credentials which are impressive and its not likely that Obama will attack his record. He touched on jobs, education, school choices and energy. His delivery was pleasant and careful. There is no doubt that Obama can string a sentence together, but if people make their decision on experience, judgment, and the best person for the job, it will be McCain.

We fly out tomorrow afternoon- back into Dallas late Friday night- Stephens County GOP HQ GRAND OPENING at 10am Saturday morning.


Sorry for not posting yesterday, but it was a little hectic, so here's a chronological account of Wednesday:

Our morning breakfast was a joint event with the Louisiana delegation. It was at the Crowne Plaza where the Louisiana delegation is staying- however there are two Crowne Plazas in the Twin Cities area. One is in Brooklyn Park and the other is downtown. The bus carrying the Oklahoma delegation went to the wrong one, but we took our car, so we arrived 45 minutes before the rest of the delegation. Former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. was the breakfast speaker. J.C. had spoken at the church prayer breakfast prior to our event. J.C. had the same problem- his cab driver took him to the wrong Crowne Plaza which delayed the start of the breakfast.

The Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, Roger Villere, related the first time he heard J.C. speak was at the 1992 Republican National Convention. He said it was the single best speech he had ever heard at a political event. "I knew J.C. could throw lightening from his arm (referring to his days as a college and pro football quarterback), but I didn't know he could throw thunderbolts with his mouth."

Villere introduced J.C. who was given a prolonged standing ovation. "People ask me why I left congress, but friends, my 8 oz. cup had about 1.5 oz. in it. I was drained." "I needed to focus on my children, my family and while the cheer of the crowd is seductive, at the end of the day, it's not about us," Watts said. "When you get to the point that you are grading your own tests and we know what happens when you grade your own tests- you make a good grade, that means our focus is wrong," Watts continued.

Watts contrasted the definition of a hero and a celebrity. "Celebrities are famous for being famous- known for being known." Heroes are known for their values and resolve." He talked about the WWII generation and the quite resolve they possessed. "I remember the first time I saw my dad cry (the day that Martin Luther King was shot) and it baffled me." "That generation doesn't express their emotions, but they are the true heroes in our society." "John McCain is from that generation," Watts said.

Watts talked issues as well. "We cannot solve the health care crisis without talking about health." "Maybe we should provide tax incentives for those whose cholesterol stays under 200." "We need to become a more health conscious society that puts the responsibility for health back with the people and not the government," Watts said.

On business and industry, J.C. said, "Capital is a coward and will not go into a hostile environment." "We must create and foster an environment that attracts and grows industry."

In a wonderful illustration of cultural diversity, J.C. had a lady from Louisiana and Gary Jones join him on stage. He positioned the three across the stage, separated by a 4-6 foot distance. "What do you see here?" he asked. You see a white male, a white woman, and a black man." "Separately, you may not like one or all of us," Watts said. He then had the three stand shoulder to shoulder and asked, "What do you see now?" "You see us." "That is the key to diversity- seeing beyond the individuals skin color, gender, or cultural background," Watts concluded.

When he turned to the selection of Sarah Palin as the VP pick, Watts said, "the message I'm getting from the top Democrats is- "you dirty Republicans- I dare you appoint a real person."

Because I was in charge of the SERVICE PROJECT at the St. Paul Citadel Corps Community Center (The Salvation Army) and it started at 11am, Debbie, Jeremy and I ducked out early. We arrived around 11:45 and were met by Lisa Mueller, Captain and Corps Office for the Army. I have long admired the work of the Salvation Army. For my money, they get the most "bang for their buck" for those feeding the poor and helping the downtrodden. The Salvation Army was founded in London in in 1865 by William Booth. Booth is famous for saying, "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender." We had nine people show up to help in this worthwhile endeavor. We worked until 2:30, painted their dining hall and deep cleaned the kitchen. Without breaks or stops for lunch, the nine labored with a passion to complete the job and do it with quality. Thanks to Lisa and her team for their flexibility (she was on vacation and came back to be with us for the project) and their understanding of our tardiness (the breakfast ran over slightly). Channel 5 from St. Paul was there filming our work as was the regional newsletter director. I can assure you these nine dedicated, hard working political activists didn't do it for a photo opportunity- our goal was to really show our appreciation to our host city for their hospitality. We had to rush back to the hotel to clean up and change to catch the 3:30pm bus to the convention center for the delegation photo.

When we arrived for the delegation photo, Texas was getting theirs shot immediately before us. Because of the size of their delegation- 140 delegates plus alternates, it was difficult to get all in the picture. Ours went smoothly and I must credit Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Williams for organizing the group before we got on the risers. Congressman John Sullivan and Congresswoman Mary Fallin joined the delegation in the photograph. Jeremy, even though he was a guest, was allowed to be in one of the photos. He has enjoyed his experience at the convention and has made friends with several of the delegates. So long as he keeps the "family secrets" secret, we may invite him back.

When I got the the convention floor, my friend and fellow blogger Bobby Cleveland was excited because his normally non-political daughter-in-law, Christine Cleveland, had text messaged him stating that while working at the Cleveland County HQ in Norman, a lot of women had been coming in getting McCain yard signs. They were says the reason was because he had picked Sarah Palin as the VP nominee. "I'm fired up," Christine told Bobby. Bobby had on a second UNCLE SAM hat Wednesday night. One of his grandsons had asked for the dred locks one- even thought he thought his grandpa looked "dorky" on TV with it on. As Bobby described his convention experience- his first- his eyes were full of tears as he talked about the moving National Anthem presentation. "I just got to thinking about what that flag means, " Bobby said.

Senator Norm Coleman spoke first and said we create jobs three ways: (1) We make government more efficient. "The Democrats plan to raise taxes to create jobs is like putting Round-up on your garden," Coleman said. (2) Increase our energy supply. "We must drill, pursue alternative energy sources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Coleman said to applause. (3) Reform Health Care and education. The Minnesota Senator is up for reelection against former comedian Al Franken in November.

During the other preliminary speeches, I visited the South Carolina delegation to find a delegate named Mike FAIR. During the permanent rules meeting, their representative had sat by me and told me about him. Mike is a South Carolina State Senator, had been married 39 years, has one daughter and 3 grandchildren. He was up for reelection this cycle, but didn't draw an opponent. He lives in Greenville, SC and when I asked him who his political mentors were, he cited Senator Strom Thurmond, but said the major influence in his life was his father. "Even though my dad and his dad were not political people, they taught me the values that guide me politically," Fair said. He is excited about the Palin pick because one of the most important issues for Fair are pro-life issues. "South Carolina is a very Republican state and I expect this will be a good year for us with McCain/Palin at the top of the ticket." Fair is a rare name and it was nice to meet a "Cuz" at the convention.

The keynote speeches featured Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, whose zinger "I have one solution for energy conservation- keep Al Gore's private plan on the ground." Romney said, "America is strong, not because of government but because of the American people." "The right course is to build the private sector," he concluded.

Next up was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee was warmly received by the delegates. He finished second in the primary and is certainly the most articulate of the presidential candidates in 2008- including Barack Obama. "I want to thank the elite media for helping to unite the GOP," Huckabee said to thunderous applause. Sarah Palin has been unmercyfully attacked and maligned since it was announced she was the VP pick. "There are three things we don't want to change in America- Freedom, Opportunity to prosper, and Liberty," Huckabee said. In a swipe at Obama's Europian tour, which Huckabee called OBAMA'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, the Guv said, "Barack forgot he was running for President of the United States, not the world." On Sarah Palin, Huckabee said, "Sarah Palin got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden running for President."

During a break, I visited with a fellow Oklahoma delegate, Thomas Kiene. Thomas is a retired engineer from Seagate and we have a mutual friend- Sammy & Amber Bishop. Amber underwent a liver transplant a couple of years ago and Sammy's parents are friends of ours in Duncan- Jack & Ann Bishop. Thomas was elected delegate at the Third District Convention. He is married, has two kids and 4 grandkids. "I'm be right up front with you- I'm a Ron Paul supporter," Thomas said. "I believe we have to change the Republican party because when we had both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, we didn't see the changes we were promised during the campaigns." Kiene was against the war in Iraq, which I told him I disagreed with him on. I told him about my political mentor- the late Dr. Gerald Beasley, who introduced me to Dr. Ron Paul several years before. Kiene has met the Congressman and said while Paul is inspiring the movement he said it's not just about Ron Paul. "It's about true constitutional government," Keine said. I found Thomas to be gracious and civil and while our dialogue for fifteen minutes ranged from theological to political, I believe we probably agree more than disagree. Thomas is raising fruits and vegetables(truck farming) now and lives in Piedmont.

Also during the break, fellow delegate David Weston and I talked theology. David is an ordained Southern Baptist deacon and the former State Party Finance Director. David is a good Bible student and the discussion was fun. The only places David and I disagree are where he's wrong. Seriously, I appreciate David's consistent passion for politics and his recommendation to Olvis Kennedy of the Lexington Observer to run my weekly opinion/editorial piece. The Observer article never fails to generate comments each week to my Inbox- some actually positive.

The former Mayor of New York City, Rudolph William Louis Giuliani was the next speaker at the podium. On Obama's record of voting "Present" during his tenure in the Illinois legislature, Giuliani said, "He couldn't figure out whether to vote yes or no- it was too hard." "I have some advice for Obama- the next time you are unsure about making a decision, call John McCain," Rudy said to loud applause. Talking about the Iraq war, Giuliani said,"In the the single biggest policy decision in the this election, McCain got it right and Obama got it wrong." "Our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain," Giuliani concluded.

I took a break to visit with my son and ran into Michael Bates from Tulsa. Michael is a fellow blogger and is blogging from the convention. You can access his site at He invited me down to bloggers row and I plan to visit it tomorrow night.

After a moving a Capella singing of the National Anthem, Vice Presidential designate Sarah Palin took the stage. The three minute ovation was impressive. After accepting the nomination of Vice President, Palin talked about her background. "I'm a hockey mom and the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick," she proclaimed to the excited crowd. She introduced her family which included her parents- both educators. "They taught me this is America and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity," Palin said.

On John McCain, Palin said, "As the mother of one of those troops serving overseas, McCain is exactly the kind of Commander-in-Chief I want want leading our troops."

Palin questioned the motives of politicians when she said, "some politicians use change to promote their careers and others use their careers to promote change." Obama is running on a platform of change. In another shot across Obama's bow, Palin said, The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery." "Obama talks about fighting for you, but let's be clear, only one candidate has really fought for you," Palin said to thunderous applause.

Palin was join on stage by her family. She proudly held her special needs child, hugged her husband and children. She was joined on stage by McCain, who proclaimed, "It's clear we made the right choice."

After a short break, it was time to conduct the business of the roll call vote. State-by state announced their results, but Arizona the home state of McCain was called upon they passed. The protocol is to allow the home state to "put the nominee over the stop," so each state passes when that number is reached. The procedure is largely symbolic, but allows the home folks to feel they were the state that actually gave him the victory. After that was done, Arizona announced their votes for McCain and he was proclaimed the 2008 Republican nominee for President. The states that had passed when then given the opportunity to have their votes recorded and state-by-state, that was done. When it reached Oklahoma, outgoing National Committeeman Lynn Windel introduced US Senator Jim Inhofe to read our votes. The votes were 39 for John McCain and 2 for Ron Paul. Due to a pause, Senator Inhofe's mike was turned off and the secretary of the convention stated publicly- "Oklahoma casts 41 votes for McCain" which was not true. Senator Inhofe attempted to have them come back and have Oklahoma's votes restated, but that was not allowed. It could have been due to the latest of the hour, or as some believe, the Ron Paul supporters are not given the respect of other candidates supporters. While I don't know the motives of the persons conducting the roll call, it was clearly a mistake and while not intentional, it did create the perspective in some people's minds that was the case.

Lynn Windel, National Committeeman from Oklahoma, said the official record will record Oklahoma with the 39-2 spilt, but we can't change what happened on the floor.

Arriving back at the hotel, Gary Jones, State Party Chair, asked the Ron Paul supporters in the Oklahoma delegation, who number about 25 to meet with him in the hospitality suite. He asked me to join them. Gary started the meeting by apologizing to the two delegates whose votes were not recorded properly. He stated he would release a press statement concerning the error and would ask the NRC to announce from the podium tonight the error in the recording of Oklahoma's vote. While I understand the disappointment the Paul supporters felt, their spirit of forgiveness for what was clearly human error was not apparent.

Tempers flared during the meeting and accusations concerning Gary Jones from several Ron Paul supporters were inappropriate and uncivil. Gary Jones is not a perfect man or a perfect Chairman, but he is an honest, ethical, principled man whose convictions have cost him financially and politically. He is my friend and I have known him long before he became the Chairman of the Republican Party. To accuse a principled man of being unprincipled is not a tactic that advances a cause. I will likely be attacked and maligned for my support of my friend, but I can not stay idlely by and watch a good man be attacked by the ESTABLISHMENT Republicans and others.

I believe in the principle of Matthew 18 that says Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. This forum in Room 711 was much too public and should have been handled between the two delegates who votes were not reported correctly and Senator Inhofe. That fundamental step was not done and the public forum allows for misunderstandings, resentment and hard feelings to develop. Read my Saturday evening post concerning Debbie and I's attendance at Bethleham Baptist Church where John Piper preached Saturday evening. The message is very applicable to this situation.

Former State Representative Porter Davis and I had a brief conversion after the meeting that I enjoyed. Porter's father is William "Bill" Davis who owned William E. Davis in OKC for years. Mr. Davis is an honest, ethical businessman who sold his company several years ago. Porter and I have several mutual acquaintances, including a distance cousin- Mike Fair who served in the Oklahoma legislature. Porter was a voice of reason and rightly pointed out that there was political passion in the room and new energy and interest in politics. As a long time political activist, who has begged for poltical volunteers, I appreciate passion. I only hope the error is corrected to everyones satisfaction. As I told Porter, I don't take myself too seriously, because after all, I'm not getting out of life alive.

Thursday September 4, 2008- 1pm

Breakfast had several speakers including Congressman Tom Cole who said Palin's speech reminded him of the country music song written by Tom T. Hall called Harper Valley PTA. It was a major hit single for country songstress Jeannie C. Riley in 1968, which is probably before most of the people in the room. The song tells the story of a junior high student who is sent home with a note to her single mother from the PTA of the school decrying her behavior by small-town standards. The mother decides to speak to a meeting of the PTA where she addresses various episodes of misbehavior on the part of several of its members, concluding, "This is just a little Peyton Placce/And you're all Harper Valley hypocrites." Cole was complimentary of all his congressional colleagues.

Congressman Frank Lucus and Congresswoman Mary Fallin spoke as well. Fallin will address the convention tonight in prime time at 8pm. Senator Inhofe spoke as well and he explained what happened at the convention and offered an apology to the two delegates whose votes were not announced correctly. They were not in attendance at the breakfast. Inhofe who is up for reelection said that he was being targeted by the Hollywood elite like Richard Pombo was in 2006. "They spent 4-7 million dollars in his race, busing in college students paying them $18 an hour to campaign for Jerry McNerney, Pombo's opponent. Pombo had served in the House for seven terms and was a target because of his views on global warming in which he agrees with Senator Inhofe. "They don't care who my opponent is, they just want me gone," Inhofe concluded.

Lynn Windel, National Committeman and Bunny Chambers, National Committeewoman, gave their final adresses to the delegation. Both are retiring after the convention. It was moving and emotional for both they and the delegates. They have done great jobs of helping to build the party in Oklahoma from the grassroots up. (See photo at top of post)

Jeremy and Debbie are at the Mall of America and I'm blogging. We have to be in our seats for the convention tonight at 4:30pm, so buses leave the hotel at 3:30pm. Stay tuned- tonight is always the most exciting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


We left the hotel at 5pm on the last bus going to the Xcel Center. We walked to the BNSF/Koch Industries reception. The reception was held at the historic St. Paul library. The buffet table was decorated with Sunflowers in honor of the Kansas flower.

In the buffet line, I met Jamie Woodworth, the 4th district chair of the Kansas Republican Party who also works for U.S. Senator Sam Brownback. We thought it was interesting that we were both 4th ditrict chairs. The speakers at the event were Senator Brownback and Congressman Tom Cole. The Senator suggested the Saddleback Civil Forum format be used to compare the two candidates- one on economic issues, one on social issues, one on Foreign Policy, etc.

Brownback had two requests for the Oklahoma delegation: (1) That Oklahoma would lose to Kansas in football this fall and (2) Work hard for GOP candidates at all levels.

4th District Congressman Tom Cole was introduced by the CEO of Burlington Northern/Santa Fe as "the quarterback of the US House election team." In his role as Chairman of the RNCC, Cole is charged with helping in the reelection efforts of GOP US House members nationally. He said that Kansas has a good chance of picking up two House seats in November- one with current Kansas State Senator Nick Jordan who is running against five term Congressman Dennis Moore. Congressman Cole said he thought Jordan is a clear opportunity to pick up a seat. The other seat Cole said we should pick up is the 2nd district in Kansas where CPA and current Kansas Treasurer Lynn Jenkins is running. Jenkins won a contentious primary. She beat Jim Ryun- the former Congressman- by 1,000 votes in the primary, but Cole said they have come together for the general election. The seat is currently held by Nancy Boyda.

While standing in the security line to get into the Xcel center, we were directed to go to another gate they were going to open up. After we had walked two blocks they changed their minds and we had to walk back to the original line. I struck up a conversation with State Senator Harry Brown from North Carolina. Brown owns a couple of car dealerships in Jacksonville, NC and was elected to the state legislature in 2004. He didn't draw an opponent this year, so he will be returned to office. He is married, has three children and two grandchildren. When I asked him about Palin, he said, "She is a great choice. She will motivate the base and the hoopla about her daughter's pregnancy is something that can happen to any family." "I believe they have handled it well." Kristen Brown, one of our interns from CTI is also from North Carolina and she and the Senator struck up a conversation. His political mentor was the late US Senator Jesse Helms. With all the personality of a salesman, Brown was engaging and personable.

The Convention program began with US Senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota. Coleman said of McCain, He has never said no to adversity." The invocation was offered by Miles McPherson. McPherson is the President of Miles Ahead, and Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He also played professional football for the San Diego Chargers. Using a line that former Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. has used, Character is doing what's right when no one is looking,"McPherson altered it slightly and said we should always understand that God is watching. "There are some times when the National Guard, the Government, your boss, your company or your mother can't help you, but God is always there," McPherson stated.

I then met with RNC Regional Communication Director Campbell Kaufman. Campbell is a volunteer for the convention, but also operates Cornerstone Government Affairs, a PR firm in Washington, DC. Campbell is from Baton Rouge and we have a common acquaintance. He took me through Radio Row where broadcast media was set up. As we walked through the facility, I bumped into former Congressman J.C. Watts and we talked briefly. He asked if I was going to do a live broadcast of Darrell and Leonard, a radio show that State Representative Dennis "Leonard" Johnson and I hosted several years before. We both laughed and went our way. J.C. will speak to the Oklahoma delegation tomorrow morning at breakfast. I met Don Tatro, Dr. Coburn's Press Secretary. Tatro is a polished young man who pledged to add Fair & Biased to his press release list. Campbell escorted me back to the delegate section and I enjoyed the visit with the PR guru. It's obvious he is very professional and well organized. When people of that ability and caliber are volunteering their time, it gives you hope that our side is going to be OK.

The next speaker was Congresswoman Michele Bachman, the first woman elected to Congress from Minnesota. Michele and her husband are raising their family of five children plus they have opened their home to 23 foster children over the years. Bachman remarked, "Some Presidential candidates know more about service than others." "Service survives and thrives best in an environment of freedom." "We want to let you keep more of your hard earned money and give your money to those causes that touch your heart." The Congresswoman concluded her remarks by says, "John McCain doesn't just speak about service- he has lived a life of service."

Wes Gullett, John McCain's former administrative assistant, addressed the convention and related the story of how in 1991, while visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage, Cindy McCain took two young female infants back to the U.S. with her. The Gulletts adopted one- Mickey- and the McCain's the other. When asked about the adoption several years ago, McCain said, "Well it was primarily my wife's Cindy's idea. She was in Bangladesh and she and some of the medical personnel visited Mother Theresa's orphanage to try and help the children there. There were two little baby girls there. One had a heart problem the other a severe cleft palate. Cindy was very concerned about their ability to survive and their need for medical treatment, so she decided to bring them here for medical treatment. She fell in love with both of them. We decided to adopt Bridget. Two close friends of ours adopted Mickey, the other child. As the story of the adoption was related from the podium, Cindy McCain wiped tears from her cheek. Her adopted daughter beamed and looked lovingly at her mother. It was a special moment- particularly to anyone who has been involved in the adoption process.

There was then a tribute to the military. Five former Congressional Medal of Honor winners were in attendance, as were twenty four former POWs. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife Barbara were seated with the Cindy McCain and her mother in law, Roberta McCain, 96, surrounded by these military heroes.

A video about the actions of Master at Arms Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor was played which detailed his life. Monsoor was a Navy Seal killed during the Iraq War by a grenade which was thrown onto the rooftop by an insurgent in the street below. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest and fell onto the floor. Immediately, Monsoor fell onto and covered the grenade with his body, saving the lives of three people. Monsoor was critically wounded and, although evacuated immediately, died 30 minutes later. Two SEALs next to him were injured by the blast but lived. For his heroic efforts, Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His sister was in attendance representing the family. A sustained standing ovation honoring her brother was moving and she was absoluted touched by the tribute.

First Lady Laura Bush took the stage and introduced her husband, but before she did, she outlined some STRAIGHT TALK about "W". She listed his accomplishments:

  • Test scores for minority students are at an all time high nationally.
  • The quality of the Supreme Court Nominees by George W. Bush.
  • The partnering with Faith based organizations to aid citizens- a move that has prompted 35 states to emulate the federal program.
  • AIDs Relief- When Bush took office only 50,000 people suffering from AIDS were receiving proper medical treatment- today that figure is 2 million.
  • AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST- He has kept America safe! There has not been a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

Because of Gustav, President Bush addressed the convention by satellite. He said, "I'm sorry I couldn't be with you in person, but with Laura there, you have clearly upgraded." On McCain, Bush said, "If the Hanoi Hilton can't break John Cain's resolve, the radical left will not be able to either." "One Senator believed the surge would work and that Senator was John McCain." Bush said he and McCain had disagreed occasionally, but he said on the Iraq war McCain had told him, "I would rather lose an election than to see my country lose a war."

After the President, a tribute video to former President Reagan detailed his life. Then following, another actor turned politician turned actor former US Senator Fred Thompson took the stage. Obviously at ease before a crowd, the Law and Order star had the crowd eating out of his hand. You could have heard a pin drop as Thompson described the conditions of McCain's imprisonment as a POW. "We hear a lot about hope today, but John McCain knows about hope- HOPE was all he had in a prison camp in Viet-nam." Thompson continued by saying, "Being a POW doesn't qualify a person to be President, but it does reveal character." "There are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves about John McCain, Thompson said, "Who is this man and can we trust him with the presidency." Thompson concluded his remarks by describing Barick Obama's plan to raise taxes on businesses and not people. "I guess that means if you don't buy gas, or clothes or any goods and services from a business- if you don't get a paycheck from a business, this tax increase will not impact you." Thompson's remarks were well received and the enthusiasm from the crowd was contagious.

Perhaps Thompson's funniest line was when he spoke about VP designate Governor Sarah Palin. "I think I can safely say this is the first major party nominee that can properly field dress a moose-with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt." The crowd roared with laughter.

The final speaker of the evening was Senator Joe Lieberman, the Independent/Democrat from Connecticut. In his slow, deliberate speaking style, Lieberman said, "County matters more than party." Quoting from Washington's farewell address (Link: where the Father of our Country said that party would be a determent to our survival, Liberman expalined why he was endorsing someone not of his own party. While certainly not the fiery orator like Senator Zell Miller- the Georgia Democrat- who delivered THE speech of the 2004 convention, it was still historical. Oklahoma delegate Don Burdick from Tulsa remarked, "It's amazing the Democrat nominee for Vice President just eight years ago is now endorsing the Republican candidate." Recognizing the paradox of his being at the GOP convention and endorsing someone not in his party, Liberman said, "If John McCain would just another Republican, I would be endorsing the Democrat, but while Senator Obama is a talented person- eloquence is no substitute for a record." Liberman then turned his remarks to the Democrats and Independents viewing the convention by broadcast media. "To my Democrat friends, this is no ordinary election- these are not ordinary times and John McCain is not an ordinary candidate." I urge you to vote for the person best able to lead our country and not for the party you belong to."

We got back to the hotel at 11pm and went directly to our room. Tomorrow is a busy day with a SERVICE PROJECT from 11-2 at the St. Paul Salvation Army Feeding Center. Twenty five Oklahoma delegates and alternates will paint their dining hall and deep clean their kitchen. This will happen right after breakfast where Congressman Watts will speak.