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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Oklahoma Democrats Wondering, "What Now?"

After landslide victories across the state of Oklahoma, the GOP and its leadership are relishing the fruit of their labor.  It's an exciting time for the GOP to be sure but not so much for the Democrats.

On the Democratic chat board, Demookie.com, Tim Reese asks the question, "Have we hit the bottom?  Where do we go from here?"  The responses are fascinating to read.

One person writes:
Not even incumbents like Holland or Fields were competitive. State House disaster, Senate with Gumm going down, the great sharia law menace to our state averted...YES...we are OFFICIALLY on the bottom. The projected state deficit within range of a billion dollars will exert ENORMOUS pressure on any and all welfare, social service, and health care programs, the prison system, the educational system, etc., and the bad news? The state of oklahoma voted for that outcome by a 60+% majority!!! The upside? Absolutely no evil state Democrats left to blame for the state's future problems because they don't hold a single office now, and we can be the crazy bomb throwers. BUT, they will now double and triple down on the greatest satan of all, one Barack Obama, to blame for all that goes wrong, and with their money and media power, they'll likely do well with that ongoing strategy. Nationally, utter gridlock, likely government shutdown over some confrontation, a serious effort to impeach President Obama, all lie ahead, but the worst thing of all is the coming economic depression because there WILL be a financial crisis ahead. It will be another "double dip down" or worse in the stock market, a major sell-off in the US Debt security markets, a collapsing dollar, or even some international event, any of which will lead us to the "Brink of the Abyss" just like where we were in 2008, but we won't have a Congress that will have the sense to do what's necessary to attempt to avert that outcome. The crazy right-wing and tea party crowds WON'T let anything resembling bailouts or stimulus spending to happen, so we will be in deep you-know-what when that inevitably occurs.
This person has a point.  If things continue to head south, there will be no Democrats to blame, but rather the Oklahoma voters will be frothing at the mouth to blame Mary Fallin.

Another writes:
Now is the time for the democratic party leadership to begin the blame game publically of which the repugs have done so effectively over the last 8 or so years. If the democratic leadership will start using TV, radio and BUY newspaper advertisement to enlighten the public of the reality of all of this...We have no one to blame but ourselves for this overwelming defeat..we are going to see a significant turn down of Oklahoma economy in the next 6 to 8 months. When this happens an advertisement campaign should come out telling people this is brought to you by the republican party...."are you better off today than you were 3 years ago?".... hold on it is going to be a helluva ride for the next two years.
Analysis By Ron Black, the 400lb Gorilla

More of the same sentiment as expressed earlier, but here is my analysis:
If you recall, the Oklahoma Democratic Party's demise began right about the time Howard Dean let loose with his horrific scream on national television.  The Democratic Party Chair at the time started a shift to the left, away from the vast majority of the base - which happens to be quite conservative.  The Democratic Party in Oklahoma is not the socialist, Marxist breed that we find in Washington.  And the shift to the left destroyed the Party's ability to raise money, to communicate a coherent message that distances itself from the national platform.

Is there hope for Oklahoma Democrats?  Other than switching parties and becoming Republicans, there may be, but it's going to require wholesale change at the top.  Guys like Ben Odom need to step up to the plate, reasoned Democrats like Tim Reese and even Brad Henry need to reach out to their base and explain to them that they screwed up.  And yes, they have got to communicate a stronger message that truly represents who they are...unless they truly ARE socialists.

The problem is that in many cases, perception is reality and this is what one member of the chat board said, and it's the kind of thing that scares the hell out of people:
*sigh* How did we go from being a state that had a strong agrarian Socialist Party to a state that is almost overwhelmingly Republican?