I Do, But I Don't

I Do, But I Don't

Thursday, November 04, 2010

On A Personal Note...

Some of those closest to me know that I recently went on a pilgrimage to my home state of Washington and it came at just the right time.  There was a primal need within me to go back, to see my family, to visit the grave of my mother and to reconnect with my son, Matthew.  I shot a great deal of video and have been in the process of producing a bit of a documentary of my life, my memories of this previous existence I recall bits and pieces of - though now, things have become more clear for me.

The whole trip was surreal, as though I was having an out-of-body experience, witnessing the revelations of another man who lived what seemed to be a completely different life.  "Butch" was my nickname growing up and everyone in my family calls me by that name and frankly, I don't even remember when everyone began calling me "Ron," but it was yet another of those strange moments that there really is no explanation for.

My son, Matthew, is a handsome and wickedly intelligent young man and his son (my grandson) Rylan are amazing.  I could not be more proud of them both.  Seeing Matthew, hugging his neck and reconnecting was a moment in my life that I will never forget and will cherish until my last breath. 

Seeing my mother's grave was difficult to say the least.  Then, learning more about her death at the age of 33, secrets that no one had shared or perhaps had tried to shield me and my brother from were astounding and at one point, brought me to my knees.  She need not have died - there were misdiagnoses all along and her cancer was more that treatable, and she need not have died.  But, she did. 

The death of my grandmother as well was shrouded in mystery but my Uncle Cliff (my mother's younger brother) who was with her up until the end explained it to me.  Another senseless death that could have been prevented. 

I reconnected with my "little" brother who has lost part of his leg due to complications with diabetes.  He lives now in Vancouver, running his Internet-based business and like me, trying to make sense of it all.

My Uncle told me as we met on the first day of my trip that "some questions will never have answers, and that's okay."  He was right.  I had a list of questions I wanted answered as I made my trek across the western half of Washington, learning that childhood friends had passed, some had married and had kids of their own, that some of my closest family members were gone and he was right - some of the questions I never will have answers for are "okay." 

I guess I wanted my kids to know more about my youth, about their family members whom we haven't had much contact over the years were/are and what they are doing.  It was an enormous blessing and it will probably take months for me to process it all - but at least I am now in a position to be blessed with the opportunity to have something to process.

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?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Smoke Clears...Who Runs For What?

You thought the campaigns were over, didn't you?  Actually, there are a few that have only just begun.  In my estimation and based on emails and messages I have received in the last 24 hours, the race to watch will be that of Lt.Governor-elect Todd Lamb.  Senate District 47 will be up for grabs and there are more than a few names being bantered about, willing to throw their hat in the ring.

Greg Treat - Former Senator Coburn staffer, former campaign manager for Fred Morgan (who was the State Senate attorney and now head of the State Chamber of Commerce) and Director of the Victory Campaign for the GOP.  The Victory Campaign worked to get Oklahoma Republicans elected across the state, with the focus on statewide offices - such as that of Todd Lamb, who sailed to victory and is now the Lt. Governor-elect.

Carol Hefner - The name sounds familiar, doesn't it?  Deer Creek High School graduate, LSU grad with a major in mass communications and journalism, the bride of Robert Hefner IV has been active in Republican politics for a very long time and is a supporter of veterans as well as a well-known advocate in the energy sector. 

There will probably be no less than six or seven names in the special election that will be set because Lamb chose NOT to resign his Senate seat to run for Lt. Governor, but the cost to taxpayers will be minimal.  Though one could easily argue that our Lt. Governor-elect actually cost taxpayers money just by winning his election.

This will certainly be one of the more entertaining races to watch.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Amazing Turnout, Some Predictions

My precinct isn't exactly a lazy precinct - we get pretty good voter turnout though we are often overlooked by the door-knockers.  And today, I was shocked and pleasantly amazed at the turnout for this mid-term election.  Over 750 when I voted at around 1400, which is staggering considering the time of day.

Something of note:
There were a lot of cars in the parking lot of the church that boasted large Mary Fallin bumper stickers - which bodes well for James Lankford and the rest of the Republican ticket.  When this is all said and done, Mary and her crew should send a very large bouquet of flowers to President Obama.  More than anything, he will have helped her to win this election.

Prediction Time
1.  Governor's Race:  Mary Fallin wins with close to 60% of the vote, prepares for her Palin-esque rise to fame. 
2.  Lt. Governor's Race:  Todd Lamb wins with about the same margin as Fallin, goes on vacation to a super-secret place only known to former CIA agents.
3.  Auditor's Race:  Gary Jones wins with 57% of the vote, Burrage retires to his ranch, muttering "I coulda been a contender."
4.  Superintendent of Public Instruction Race:  Janet the dentist wins with 60% of the vote, carries even some rural, Democratic counties. 
5.  Labor Commissioner Race:  Costello wins with over 60% of the vote, hires both Jim Marshall and Richard Engle.  Charlie Meadows spontaneously combusts with joy, Cheryl Williams takes over OCPAC.
6.  Insurance Commissioner Race:  While I had thought that Doak would pull off an upset, Mike McCarville doing the voice work for Kim Holland will definitely draw Republican votes away from Doak. 
7.  OK5:  James Lankford wins with over 60% of the vote, sending the first-ever camp counselor to Congress.  The rest of the country giggles.
8.  Christine O'Donnell:  Once again, she is NOT a witch, though a little magic might have helped her in this race.  She gets soundly defeated, joins Palin in a national "Republican Hotties Of 2012 Tour."
9.  State Questions:  Pretty much as I predicted, the most notable being SQ744 - bitch-slapped in the same manner as the gasoline tax increase a few years ago. 

This has been an exciting cycle for Republicans and under the new leadership of the Republican Party in Oklahoma, it appears as though as long as the promises made are truly kept, Republicans will have the opportunity to do what we elected them to do:

a.  Foster an environment where business can grow and flourish in Oklahoma.
b.  Lower business taxes and personal income taxes.
c.  Create more accountable government entities.
d.  Improve the standards of public instruction.
e.  Lower worker's compensation costs for business.
f.  Let the streets flow with milk and honey.

Good luck.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Most Important Statewide Race: Auditor

There are a lot of sexy government jobs up for grabs tomorrow.  The governor's office is pretty sexy and the winner gets to have some say as to the legislative process, to propose a budget and the like - and even veto lousy bills.  The Lt. Governor gets to cut ribbons, get lots of pictures taken and travel to exotic locations as the head of the Tourism Committee.  Those are two of the sexiest jobs in the state of Oklahoma but this election cycle, neither are the most important or critical.  Don't get me wrong:  They have significance to be sure, but this cycle, the most important is that of State Auditor and Inspector.

Bean-counting is a turn-off for most of us who have long ago thrown away our pocket protectors, but it is the State Auditor and Inspector who will hold the keys to good, conservative and accountable government over the next four years.  Accountability in government has been one of the critical elements we have lacked in Oklahoma and there really is only one man for the job - Gary Jones.

Gary has ran before and lost to an opponent that has been removed from office because of the corruption that Gary himself has exposed.  The role of the Auditor is to do just that and as a private citizen, he has found more corruption than the elected officials who have held that post. 

Imagine for a moment if the Republicans sweep the statewide offices, but the Brad Henry appointee is still in office.  Do you think for a moment his job won't be to find some kind of payback?  He will be a bee in the bonnet of every statewide office holder who happens to have an "R" next to their name.  With Gary, you have objectivity and non-partisan ass-kicking.  Those who know Gary know that he is an equal opportunity destroyer where corruption is concerned.  He doesn't give a damn whether or not you're a Republican or Democrat. 

Tomorrow, when you go to the polls, don't forget to tell your friends and family how important this office is to the taxpayers of Oklahoma and make sure they vote for the right guy...Gary Jones for State Auditor.

Get Our Heads Right

Tomorrow we go to the polls to elect some really good, qualified candidates and in other cases we're forced to elect the lower-life-forms posing as human beings because that's pretty much all we have to choose from.

As many of you already know, I have just returned from a pilgrimage of sorts to my home of Washington state where I reconnected with my oldest son, Matthew, and saw my father and also visited the grave of my mother.  It's given me new insight as to what really matters. Politics, you see, more than anything is a revenue producer for most.  It no longer really is about public service - no matter what you've been told.  It's about making money and with a very few exceptions, it is the case across the nation, not just in the great state of Oklahoma.

People are supporting candidates whom they have previously bitch-slapped and they are doing so because of hope of future employment.   Others support the same candidates because they have been fooled into believing the press releases sent out by the same.  It's a game and a sick one.  Once in a while (and it isn't very often), we run into a few good candidates but generally, they aren't the ones getting the big endorsements because after all, endorsements are all about payback later on anyway.

The next 24 hours will be a little nutty, but remember what really matters.