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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Steele Announced Committee Chairs - Told You So (Again)

As predicted on this blog previously (here), Speaker-elect Kris Steele has made his appointments and save one committee position, I was spot-on.  Another reason why this blog provides news and opinion that tells you not only what the press releases say, but what they DON'T say.

Mike McCarville has the whole list here.

There are three observations that must be made immediately regarding his appointments and you need to spread the word:

1.  Abnormally large number of Democratic Vice Chairmanships.  Steele has 5 Democratic Vice Chairmanships which makes the meat-eating conservatives who voted conservatively in the last election cycle wonder why he would do such a thing.  It's simple, really.  It erects a firewall of protection for him by having liberal to moderate Democrats backing him.

2.  Disproportionate number of Tulsa and rural appointments.  Steele has virtually no street credibility with the rank-and-file Republicans in Central Oklahoma because most of us are familiar with his past.  He is again making the argument that Tulsa moderates are more important than Oklahoma City conservatives.

3.  Inconsequential bones to Oklahoma City conservatives.  Some of the committee assignments such as Sally Kern, Paul Wesselhoft and even Jason Murphey are really committees that aren't of great significance to how Oklahoma tax dollars are spent.

In the final analysis, there are two appointments to Vice Chairmanships that you need to pay close attention to:

Jabar Shumate
Higher Education:  Steve Kouplen, Democrat from Beggs (43 conservative index score).  This gentleman has been against school choice from the beginning and will continue to be so.

Common Education:  Jabar Shumate, Democrat from Tulsa received a 13 conservative index score and the Chairman of this committee is none other than Ann Coody, former member of the Oklahoma Education Association and she received a 50 conservative index score.  Shumate appears to be a little more conservative than his Republican counterpart on school choice, Ann Coody, but make no mistake - Shumate is not a conservative in the sense that he stands for Constitutional rights where the 2nd Amendment is concerned and neither does he believe that the 10th Amendment should stand supreme on the issue of education funding.

This means that the two committees that oversees approximately 50% of the state budget is in the hands of anti-school choice liberals.  Steele has said that he wanted to place individuals in leadership according to their experience, their talent and skill set and that he himself wanted education reform.  The only reform we can logically garner from these choices are that we will spend more and get less accountability than in the past.  Look for Steele and crew to be at the 50 yard line of the next OU ball game.

For more insight, take a look at Steve Fair's blog here.