Sunday, April 23, 2023

A sequel appears to be where America is today.

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     President Joe Biden will announce his re-election bid on Tuesday.  The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced they support Biden’s nomination and that no primary debates will be held.  Biden, at age 80, is the oldest U.S. president in history.  If he is reelected in 2024, Biden would be 82 when sworn in for his second term.    

     2024 is shaping up to be a sequel rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Biden will be the Democrat nominee.  He faces token opposition and the leaders in the Party appear united in clearing a path to the nomination.  While it is still a year before GOP presidential primaries will be held, Trump, 77, has a double-digit lead among Republican primary voters.   Trump will face several viable opponents for the nomination, but none have the voter base or the fundraising ability of the former president.   If a rematch happens between Biden and Trump in 2024, what must the two candidates do differently than they did in 2020?  Three things

     First, Trump must lead with his accomplishments.  Trump tends to spend more time attacking/mocking his opponents than detailing public policy plan.  During the 2016 election, Trump had great appeal to swing voters.  Swing voters are the people who didn’t attend Trump’s rallies, laugh at his insults, or wear a MAGA ball cap.  They voted for Trump because their manufacturing job had been exported by the Obama administration.    They put Trump in office in 2016, but didn’t show up in 2020. No president in recent history did more to help America manufacturing than Trump.  Buy America appeals to the working Democrat.   Trump should recreate that appeal in 2024.      

     Second, Biden must campaign.  During the 2020 election, Joe Biden used the COVID pandemic as an excuse to hide in the basement.  He did less public campaigning than any presidential candidate in modern history.  That bizarre strategy worked in 2016 because the pandemic had everybody hunkered down.  But that approach will not work in 2024.  Biden must detail his plan on how to deal with record inflation, high interest rates, and diminishing retirement accounts, while explaining how his failed policies created the problem. 

     Third, the VP pick must be carefully watched.  If Biden or Trump are elected in 2024, they would be the oldest president in American history.  That makes the vice president pick very important.  Mike Pence was a capable and competent VP-  Kamala Harris not so much.  Harris is a far left ideolog that would will be a disaster as president.  It’s a safe bet Pence will not be Donald Trump’s running mate again, but whomever he selects needs to be capable.  American voters need to pay very close attention to who the VP picks are because they could very well be president due to the advanced age of the candidates.

    A Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in February showed Republicans spilt between nominating Donald Trump or someone else.  The poll found most Democrats preferred an alternative to Biden.  It found few Americans were excited about a Trump-Biden rematch.  Sequels are seldom as good as the original.  Dr. Don Marquis was an American philosopher that taught at the University of Kansas.  Marquis famously said, “A sequel is an admission that you’ve been reduced to imitating yourself.”  That appears to be where America is today.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Parents shouldn't have to engage in espionage and reconnaissance to find out what school is teaching!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Oklahoma House Bill#2077, authored by Rep. Chad Caldwell, (R-Enid) and Sen. Dave Rader, (R-Tulsa) would have directed the State Department of Education to create an online transparency portal for review of certain school materials.  Caldwell said the bill would have given both parents and the public access to look through and comment on school curriculum, textbooks and library materials. 

     “We tried to find a simple middle of the road common sense solution that would address both sides of this issue.  Parents, not only in Oklahoma, but across the country are concerned about what is going on in our schools,” Caldwell said.  The immediate financial cost to Oklahoma taxpayers to create the portal was estimated to be $1 million dollars.   

     HB#2077 passed in the House Appropriations and Budget Education subcommittee 10-4.  All Democrats on the subcommittee opposed it with one Republican, Rep. Ronny Johns, (R-Ada), a former school superintendent, joining them.  On March 2nd, when voted on by the full A&B committee, HB#2077 failed 24-8.   

     Opposition to HB#2077 was initially from Democrats.  Democrat floor leader, Rep. Andy Fugate, (D-Del City) said, “I’m concerned about the impact to classroom teachers having another place to have to upload information.  If they don’t use the precise, exact language, they open themselves up to be a target.”  But some Republicans also thought HB#2077 had some fishhooks.  Rep. Rhonda Baker, (R-Yukon) said school superintendents in her district opposed it because they didn’t have the manpower to upload the material.  Caldwell responded that his goal was to reduce the burden on the districts, not add to it.  Baker voted to advance the bill in subcommittee, but opposed passage in full committee (very common occurrence).  Three observations:

     First, parents and taxpayers have a right to know what is going on in the schools.  They are the ones paying the bill.  HB#2077 may not have been the right vehicle or had the perfect language, but Caldwell’s idea of accountability and transparency is a good one.  Making it easier for taxpayers and parents to review what their children are being taught or have access to it would have been progress.  It might have been vexatious and burdensome for educators to upload, but that could have been addressed.  Parents and school patrons should not have to engage in espionage and reconnaissance to find out what their local school is teaching. 

     Second, the killing of HB#2077 illustrates the effective power of the education lobby.  Once word got out HB#2077 had gotten out of the subcommittee and had a chance to become law, opposition got busy.  They immobilized and made sure the bill was dead on arrival.  The education lobby is consistently opposed to efforts to provide the public more transparency into what is going on in schools.  Any attempt to force more accountability is resisted. 

     Third, local school board members are important.  These elected officials serve with little or no compensation.  Per Oklahoma statutes, school board members are ‘eligible’ to receive $25 per meeting, not to exceed $100 monthly.  They represent school patrons and parents and are charged with general oversight of the district.  Sadly, most just ‘rubber stamp’ the administration’s recommendation on curriculum and textbooks.  They take more interest in the fiscal issues.  Both are important.  School board members should make it their mission to know what their school is teaching and solicit input from those in their district.    

    School board races were held across the state of Oklahoma in February and April.  Turnout was dismal.  Less than 10% of those eligible to cast a vote bothered to show up and vote.  Until parents and taxpayers start to care more, little will change.

     Several Republican House members opposed passage of HB#2077 in the A&B committee.  If your State Representative was one of them- ask them why they opposed it.  They may have a good reason, but opposing it because the school superintendents in the district opposed it is not one of them.  Opposition to a bill that provides transparency to taxpayers has to be more substantive than just a wink and a nod.


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Sadly, for most politicians ‘standing on principle’ is just a campaign slogan!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Politico, a political newspaper based in Virginia, was founded in 2007 by Robert Allbritton.  Allbritton, a Texan, sold Politico to a German publishing company for $1 billion in cash in 2021. Politico leans left of center (meaning liberal), but their coverage of politics is followed by people on both sides of the aisle. 

     On Saturday, Politico columnist Steven Shephard wrote Republicans were losing races because more than 50% of America supports abortion.    Shephard claims 60% of voters support legal abortions in most cases.  He says only one third of American voters want abortion to be entirely or mostly illegal. Citing last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race, Shephard concludes the GOP lost because the youth vote is not pro-life.  He says Rs will continue to lose if the Party doesn’t, “find a message that puts the Party more in line with the median voter.” Three observations:

     First, standing up for what is right is more important than winning political races.  Shephard may be correct about Republicans losing the youth vote.  Because there is a moral decline in America, interest in spiritual things is down across the board, especially among the young.  Abortion is a Biblical and political issue that polarizes. Polarization makes GOP political operatives nervous and puts their livelihood in jeopardy.  Their response is to ‘rebrand/relabel’ the message by toning down a strong pro-life stance by candidates.

     Sadly, for most politicians ‘standing on principle’ is just a campaign slogan.  All too often, candidates are recruited based on their marketability, not their ability.  Political consultants want a candidate as pliable as wax to be molded into effigies that can get elected.  Once elected, those ignorant and uninformed droids get schooled by special interests on how to vote and behave.  If they play the game- they get funded for reelection.  If they don’t play the game, they are abandoned and another golem is enlisted.  Until voters start paying attention all the time and not just a month before an election, the cycle will continue.

      Second, life begins at conception.  Even most liberals concede that fact, but even if they don’t believe it, it is still true.  God said He gives life.  He is the Creator.  In America, a person has a right to believe otherwise, but it doesn’t the change facts.  God is the Creator and man is His creation.  Legalizing abortion puts man in direct conflict with what God has said.  Former President Reagan wisely said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” 

    Third, America has too much emphasis on relevance or not enough on reverence.  The familiarity of basic Bible truths is at an all-time low.  Modern day churches, Christians, and parents have abandoned the message of the Gospel for a pertinent gist, which has resulted in a dearth of truth.  Emphasis on self-fulfillment has created a society of narcissistic people who are self-centered, arrogant and have no empathy or consideration for others.  Because they believe there is no absolute truth, they are on a continual journey for admiration.  They look at those who believe the Bible as unlearned, unscientific boobs, sitting on a tree stump picking their teeth.  They fail to see they are the unenlightened.  May God open their eyes.

     Shephard concludes his column by saying Democrats need to be careful expanding abortion.  He says the Party who ‘moderates’ their position on abortion will likely win elections in the future, by attracting the youth vote.  If the GOP weakens their position on life in the womb, they will lose a huge percentage of the base and cease to be the Republican Party.  That will guarantee its defeat.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Blind loyalty/allegiance often leads to disappointment for the devoted.

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     On Thursday, former President Donald Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.  The indictment, the first directed at a U.S. president, concerned Trump’s alleged role in a hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels, a porn actress.  The former president is expected to appear in person at an arraignment on Manhattan Island Tuesday.  Three observations:

     First, the indictment is a misuse of the legal system.  Most legal experts believe the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg doesn’t have a strong case.  They predict Trump will be found not guilty, if the case goes to trial.  Bragg is attempting to tie the payment to Daniels as an in-kind campaign contribution.  They believe that would be a stretch, since no campaign monies were used for the payment.  A former Federal Election Commission Chair says the payment would not be considered a political contribution.

     Bragg openly campaigned in 2021 he would indict Trump if elected.  That is highly inappropriate for a prosecutor.  District Attorneys are not to engage in ‘selective enforcement,’ or targeted prosecution.  Bragg is soft on real crime.  Bragg, 49, announced four days after he took office that he would not enforce what he called low level offenses.  Offenses like resisting arrest, prostitution, and cannabis related laws are not enforced in Manhattan.  Bragg also announced burglaries and store robberies, ‘”where the offender displays a dangerous weapon, but does not create a genuine risk of physical harm.” would be reduced to a misdemeanor.  Bizarre! But Bragg is aggressive in going after high profile political figures. He indicted former Trump advisor Steve Bannon in September on charges of fraud, the same charges Trump pardoned him for.  Bragg, a Harvard grad, is politically ambitious and a self-promoter. 

     Second, President Trump is basking in the attention.  Most people would have angst or perturbation if they faced indictment by a prosecutor, even if they were innocent.  But not Trump.  The former POTUS has stated he wants to be handcuffed and a mug shot taken.  Both are not likely to happen.  Trump subscribes to the theory any press is good press and there is no such thing as bad publicity.  Painting himself as the persecuted victim who is being picked on helps Trump with his base.  Reportedly Trump has raised $4 million dollars in campaign funds since the indictment was announced- 25% came from new donors.  By indicting him, Bragg likely handed the former POTUS the 2024 GOP nomination. 

     Third, this indictment is not about Trump.  Bragg denies it, but he and most every Democrat hate what Trump was able to accomplish in his single term.  They hate Trump’s policies more than they hate him.  But they recognize their socialist stratagem won’t sell to the public.  They resort to attacking the messenger.  They condemn him for his boisterous, egotistical, muckraking personality.  The real bulls-eye is conservative policies.

     Breaking the law or misbehavior by elected officials should never be excused by all Americans.  Every person of character, no matter their Party affiliation or political leanings, should demand integrity and forthrightness from elected leaders.  No one should ever be considered above the law, including former presidents.  No one should excuse misbehavior or turn a blind eye to shenanigans, even from zealot DAs. 

     Bragg’s actions are obviously partisan, but Democrats have ‘circled the wagons’ around him.  Many Republicans have done the same for Trump.  Blind loyalty/allegiance often leads to disappointment for the devoted.