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Friday, April 30, 2010

How Serious Are We About Reform?

Americans are very, very pissed off.  Gasoline prices are going up, unemployment is still a problem, we feel as though our rights and liberties are being eroded and we feel as though the federal government has its grubby fingers in virtually every aspect of our lives.  First with the bailout of banks as a result of the home mortgage fiasco, then with the auto industry and now, the federal government that touts itself as the "protector of the citizenry" has become the consummate provider of corporate welfare to the insurance industry with Obamacare.

Yes, I said it.  Obamacare does nothing but serve the "big business" they supposedly hate by mandating every American purchase a product thereby propping up an already successful business.  For the conservatives in Oklahoma, why hasn't Frank Keating come out against Obamacare?  Why?  Because he is a lobbyist for the insurance industry.  But I digress.

So, I ask you:  How serious are you about reform?  In Oklahoma, we have seen numerous Tea Party rallies that have succeeded in getting people really fired up, but provided no singular leadership or even a platform for supporters to follow.  Tea Party rallies are a good thing, don't get me wrong, but for an already conservative state like Oklahoma where Republicans own the House and the Senate, own all of the Corporation Commission (the agency that regulates about 80% of the state's economy), and in this election cycle, will own the Governor's Mansion, the position of Lt. Governor, the Labor Commission, the Superintendent of Public Instruction position, and probably even the State Treasurer's office, the rallies are tantamount to having Aubrey McClendon lecture Larry Nichols on the benefits of domestic energy exploration.

At a time when the Tea Party rallies should be focusing on how to help Republicans in tough Oklahoma House and Senate Districts, they degenerated to name-calling and bashing committed Republicans such as Oklahoma GOP Chair Gary Jones.

Again, I ask:  How serious are we, as Republicans, about reform?  In 2004, when President Bush won re-election, most talk radio guys and gals were gushing.  They were tickled pink that George Bush had defeated John Kerry and that Republicans still were in control in Washington.  There were auditory celebrations that became legendary.  I, on the other hand, opened my show with a piece from Mozart's Requiem Mass and warned, "To those that much is given, much will be required."  I warned that if we did not follow through with our promises of more jobs, a more stable economy, reduced deficits and fiscal sanity, we would lose the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and in 2010, we would see a Democratic President.

I hate to say it, but I told you so.

We have seen Republican after Republican campaign on immigration reform.  We have received none - and the 14th Amendment remains to be interpreted by the SCOTUS fully.  We have seen Republican after Republican campaign on energy policy reform.  We have seen a lurch to the left, an embracing of "green energy," and domestic energy production that is abundant and clean-burning be left virtually out of the equation (namely, natural gas). 

And here is the really sticky wicket for my Republican brethren in the state of Oklahoma:  What is still the biggest growth industry in Oklahoma even after Republican leadership in the House and Senate?  State government.  Government is still the largest employer in Oklahoma...  Follow me?

If we're serious about reform - REAL reform - we have to take a look at candidates running for political office and determine whether or not they are true servant-leaders with an eye to the future or if they are simply more of the same.  At the same time, we have to ask ourselves whether or not candidates aren't just riding the wave of pissed off people to further their own political careers, or if they have truly considered all of the consequences of their positions and the intended and unintended consequences therein.

Don't think that 2010 is "in the bag" for Republicans.  As a party, we've shown how easy it is to snatch defeat from the hands of victory.  While we were reeling from the fact that Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, there were a handful of people willing to admit that we brought it upon ourselves.  It's easy for us to stomp our feet and scream from the rafters how "President Obama hates capitalism," while Republicans in our own state are passing legislation that would make even the Supernanny blush in comparison.

Think about it:  If we're serious about reform, we must begin in our own back yard, in our own neighborhoods and we do so by using the brains God gave us to step away from the elixir of emotionalism and educate ourselves on the candidates and the issues important to us.  And most importantly, we fact-check.  Trust, but verify.

I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.