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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gerhart Under Fire

The Muskogee Politico and the McCarville Report are locked and loaded, and it appears as though there is a concerted effort to show that the Tea Party isn't what it was in the last election cycle.  Leadership fragmentation, controversial commentary and a run against the Speaker of the House has attracted the spotlight for a man who many believed to be the catalyst for the conservative groundswell in the last election cycle.  The question will be whether or not they will be effective, or simply serve to divide the already contentious Republican Party.

Prepare for GOP fallout.
Al Gerhart is the target at this juncture and could be the catalyst for further fragmentation of the Tea Party movement in Oklahoma.  Who stands to gain?  Who stands to lose?  Those are questions to be answered in the next election cycle, but for now, two of the mainstays of Republican blogs are putting Gerhart's feet to the fire.

From The Muskogee Politico:
On Tuesday, Gerhart and the OCA was dealt yet another big blow when Tulsa metro-based OKforTea, perhaps Oklahoma's largest and most active Tea Party group, notified Gerhart of their immediate withdrawal from the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. Their email, signed by each of OKforTea's organizers, stated "Though OKforTEA has enjoyed being a member of the OCA and though we understand and appreciate its mission, we must withdraw from membership as of March 15, 2011. Please remove the name of our organization from the list of members and any printed materials or websites, immediately."
From The McCarville Report:
Six Republican House members have been singled out for threats by the Sooner Tea Party's Al Gerhart for remarks made in the privacy of their Caucus, leading some to conclude that the collegiality of the Caucus is being violated.

The realization that Gerhart has "inside" information from the Caucus has some members looking over their shoulders and others ready to quit going to Caucus meetings, it appears.
The Tea Party movement as a whole was largely responsible for the amazing victories experienced by Republicans across the nation in both state elections as well as federal elections.  Al Gerhart, the exceedingly controversial figure who once called out Gary Jones (former GOP Chair and newly elected State Auditor), has been both a motivator and a hindrance to conservative movement in Oklahoma and it looks like he has laser-guided missiles directed at him.

Speaker Kris Steele
Gerhart is a man who does not lack the passion of his convictions and as we have all learned at one point or another in our lifetime, such passion is a double-edged sword. 

In many ways, it's as though the GOP is attempting to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  It didn't take very long for Oklahoma Speaker of the House Kris Steele to show where his loyalties lie - his pastor invoking some of the most bizarre and questionable imagery during his first official prayer before the House, then his move to the center and incessant attacks on House Conservatives like Mike Reynolds and Randy Terrill.  There is talk around town that conservatives in the House who have heretofore been silent are seriously considering a move against the Speaker and his choice for a replacement already (Steele is term-limited). 

Al Gerhart doesn't strike many as the type of guy who will back down from a fight and this one looks to be a bloody, 12-round caged death match.

Bring your popcorn and earplugs.