Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Possible Swine Flu at Muskogee VA Hospital

From KOTV:

Possible Swine Flu Case In Muskogee

MUSKOGEE, OK -- The Veterans Administration hospital in Muskogee has told the News On 6 on Tuesday, a patient at their facility appears to have swine flu symptoms.

VA spokesperson Neda McClellan says the patient confirmed he had recently returned from Cozumel, Mexico.

McClellan says the hospital took culture samples and sent them on the Oklahoma Department of Health for evaluation. They expect to know whether or not the patient tests positive for swine flu by Wednesday afternoon.

If positive, this would be the first case of swine flu in Oklahoma.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Rep. George Faught now on Twitter

Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee (pictured above), has launched a new Twitter account. You can follow Rep. Faught here at @Faught14.

Blog Oklahoma has put together a list of Oklahoma Government officials on Twitter, which you can view here.

BREAKING: Arlen Specter Switches to Democrat

RINO Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has switched to the Democrat Party, giving them 59 seats in the U.S. Senate. If Al Franken finally emerges as the victor in Minnesota, as he will, the Democrats will have a filibuster-proof 60 seat majority.

Statement by Sen. Arlen Specter:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the state, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for reelection in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for reelection determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for reelection because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch, which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (card check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

I henceforth dub the senator "Benedict Arlen" Specter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

George Faught on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ban Veto

The following is an email message sent from State Rep. George Faught (R, Muskogee) earlier this afternoon.

Dear Friends,

House Bill 1326 prohibits research done on human embryos. This measure would prevent the destruction of embryos for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells. While this legislation passed both the House and the Senate with strong bi-partisan support, it was vetoed by Governor Brad Henry, at the encouragement of medical professionals and state and city chambers - Yes, medical research is good for business in Oklahoma , even if it means killing human embryos!

This issue has become an emotionally charged firestorm with celebrities and medical professionals promising "cures" for devastating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's and the like. The truth of the matter is that ADULT stem cells have benefited patients suffering from more than 70 different disorders. By contrast, EMBRYONIC stem cells have NEVER benefited a SINGLE human patient - not ONE!

In fact, the ultimate objective of this unethical medical research is CLONING. Scientist need millions of embryos on which to perform their research and the number of aborted fetuses (while hundreds of thousands too many each year) cannot meet the demand. By dividing these embryonic stem cells, countless new exact embryos could be "created" for the sole purpose of "research".

Oklahoma need not go down that unethical path. Adult stem cells, which are perfectly ethical, are where all the scientific successes have been. The enactment of HB1326 will make Oklahoma the sixth state that prohibits embryonic stem cell research as well as so-called "therapeutic" cloning.

Here is how we need each of you to get involved:

1. Phone this list of Senators and urge them to vote YES on the next attempt at the veto override. This should come about sometime next week. It is very important to mention that CLONING is morally unethical and that EMBRYONIC stem cell research has produced ZERO results in human patients.

2. E-mail these Senators and request they stand for the preservation of human life and against the destruction of unborn babies for the purpose of scientific or medical research.

3. Pass this memo and list of contact information on to your church family, friends and neighbors, co-workers and email lists. We need to put a lot of pressure on those legislators who are riding the fence on this issue. Many of these Senators claim to be "Pro-Life" - now is the time to prove it!

(Senators who voted NO on the override attempt – all but Sen. Kenneth Corn voted FOR the original bill!)

Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) (405) 521-5630 anderson@oksenate.gov
Sen. Randy Bass (D-Lawton) (405) 521-5567 bass@oksenate.gov
Sen. Sean Burrage (D-Claremore) (405) 521-5555 burrage@oksenate.gov
Sen. Harry Coates (R-Seminole) (405) 521-5547 coates@oksenate.gov
Sen. Kenneth Corn (D-Howe) (405) 521-5576 corn@oksenate.gov
Sen. Mary Easley (D-Tulsa) (405) 521-5590 easley@oksenate.gov
Sen. Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee) (405) 521-5533 garrison@oksenate.gov
Sen. Charlie Laster (D-Shawnee) (405) 521-5539 laster@oksenate.gov
Sen. Debbe Leftwich (D-OKC) (405) 521-5557 leftwich@oksenate.gov
Sen. Charles Wyrick (D-Fairland) (405) 521-5561 wyrick@oksenate.gov

(Senators who voted YES to override the veto, but will be under extreme pressure to change their vote.)

Contact these Senators to thank them for their courageous vote to override the veto and encourage them to hold fast to their protection of human life.

Sen. Jerry Ellis (D-Valliant) (405) 521-5614 ellis@oksenate.gov
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm (D-Durant) (405) 521-5586 gumm@oksenate.gov
Sen. Tom Ivester (D-Sayre) (405) 521-5545 ivester@oksenate.gov
Sen. Susan Paddack (D-Ada) (405) 521-5541 paddack@oksenate.gov

George Faught
State Representative District 14
800-522-8502
405-557-7310
george.faught@okhouse.gov
State Capitol 301A
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4885


If you would like to join Rep. Faught's email list, contact his office at george.faught@okhouse.gov, or use the phone numbers listed above.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Persuasion, Marketing, and Mark Shannon on "Ron Paulies"

Oklahoma City talk show host Mark Shannon has had enough of the "Ron Paulies" - read below for his post today.

Black-Pauled

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I had nothing I felt strong enough to write about, (as you may have noticed,) so rather than forcing something, I just left it blank.

Nothing like a couple hours on the air to remedy that problem.

Here's the long and short of it: I've had it with the "Paulies." Those people who claim to be supporters of Ron Paul and the Constitution, but who have no common sense, understanding of how to present themselves or represent their candidate or their beliefs.

Never mind that I happen to be the guy who does the show, the "Paulies" have managed to alienate the host of one of the only call-in shows in the city that actually deals with political topics. They've also managed to do it to every major talk show host in the country from Beck to Limbaugh to Hannity.

They get screened out from the national shows most of the time, and now have managed to be annoying enough that they will be screened out or dumped by the digital time-delay we utilize normally for profanity.

Regardless of your political positions, if you are going to win in politics, which is a "people" business, you've got to be able to communicate with and work with all kinds of people.

"Paulies" don't get it. They think they've got the only "CONSTITUTIONAL" position on every issue, and are just sure the light will all come on for the rest of us ("not really") conservatives in this country.

They heckled Tom Coburn at the Republican State convention, a real TURN OFF. They will talk you into a corner ranting about the FEDERAL RESERVE and how taxation is slavery and one or two other of their limited points, another TURN OFF.

Call your internet radio stations with the other fringe members and have a ball sounding brilliant to each other because no one else wants to listen to you.

If he has any connection to these guys, Randy Brogdon, candidate for Governor, would do well to distance himself from these guys, because he's going to have enough difficulties to overcome trying to defeat a very popular Mary Fallin without having these immature and political novices representing him in any way.

Good job guys. You've slit your own throat.....again.


Although I theoretically line up with quite a few of the positions the "Ron Paulies" hold, I must confess, I agree with Mark on much of what he said. Let me elaborate, by paragraph.
Regardless of your political positions, if you are going to win in politics, which is a "people" business, you've got to be able to communicate with and work with all kinds of people.
This is key. One of the major downfalls for the "Ron Paulies" is their nearly across-the-board inability to communicate with those who do not agree with them. Far too often, they resort to name-calling, which leads to absolutely nowhere.

Politics is the art of persuading opponents to your line of thinking, and it demands the ability to articulate your positions clearly, and in a non-insulting manner. It requires debate, but it must be rational, logical, and courteous.

Sometimes, people won't agree with you 100% of the times. Okay, very rarely, if ever, will someone agree with you 100% of the time. However, you must be able to put aside your differences, and work towards achieving a common goal, despite your lack of total philosophical unity. If the "Ron Paulies" truly wish to accomplish something, they must learn this valuable lesson.
"Paulies" don't get it. They think they've got the only "CONSTITUTIONAL" position on every issue, and are just sure the light will all come on for the rest of us ("not really") conservatives in this country.
This is something that has bothered me in regards to supporters of Ron Paul (as well as other libertarians; the RPs are just the most prominent). It's almost as if they are the only ones who can interpret the Constitution - and heaven forbid if you question them! They tend to have this almost arrogant attitude about it; 'We're Constitutional conservatives, and since you don't agree with us, you're big-government liberal establishment socialists!!!!!!'
They heckled Tom Coburn at the Republican State convention, a real TURN OFF. They will talk you into a corner ranting about the FEDERAL RESERVE and how taxation is slavery and one or two other of their limited points, another TURN OFF.
I definitely agree in regards to Tom Coburn. Sen. Coburn, albeit making a mistake in my eyes regarding the TARP vote, has been the conservative's best friend for years (would the RPs have rather had Kirk Humphreys or Brad Carson?). Some people, in their quest for philosophical purity, would 'throw the baby out with the bathwater', and completely disregard any good Dr. Coburn has done, and continues to do. As I said previously, we'll never agree with someone 100% of the time - we must be able to lay aside those differences, and still work for a common goal (smaller, more limited government, et cetera).

On the other issue: sometimes, in order to persuade a person to your side, you find something that you both agree on, and work from there, rather than starting with something that seems 'extreme' or 'radical' to the normal person. For instance, instead of beginning by ranting about the Federal Reserve, how about discussing wasteful government spending, intrusion into the private sector, or even policies that lead to inflation. Those topics are more mainstream, but are still related in a general way to the Fed. The more varied your portfolio of issues, the more likely you can find an area of agreeance, and the more likely you can persuade someone to your line of thinking.
If he has any connection to these guys, Randy Brogdon, candidate for Governor, would do well to distance himself from these guys, because he's going to have enough difficulties to overcome trying to defeat a very popular Mary Fallin without having these immature and political novices representing him in any way.
Absolutely! To win in a election such as the Governor's race, Brogdon must be able to appeal to voters of all persuasions, not exclusively the libertarian, Ron Paul-ish type. While avoiding pandering, he must expand his outreach to Republicans who may not agree with him on some issues (i.e. non-fiscal conservatives or non-social conservatives) if he wishes to beat Mary Fallin. Belonging and appealing too much to one strict faction will not lead to victory for Randy Brogdon.
Good job guys. You've slit your own throat.....again.
This is a prime example of what I've just written about. Mark Shannon and the "Ron Paulies" probably agree on many issues, but the manner with which they've presented themselves has alienated a potential ally.

In addition to politics being the art of persuasion, it also demands marketing. If you can't persuade or market it in such a way as to appeal, you won't win many victories.

Monday, April 20, 2009

OKGOP Convention Update

Sorry for the lack of updates since the state convention; I've been away from a computer ever since my last post.

First of all, Gary Jones won the state chair race by an overwhelming percentage. I neglected to write down the exact figures, but Michael Bates put them up on his Twitter account. Gary Jones received 73.5% of the vote (1282.4 - apportioned vote), and Cheryl Williams got 26.5% (461.6 - apportioned vote). I expected Gary Jones to win, but not in such a blowout.

What I was especially surprised with was the outcome of the caucus resolution. Coming into the convention, I thought that it might pass, but after Sen. Coburn ripped the caucus, things went downhill in a hurry for it.

Questions asked were not sufficiently answered by the Pro-Caucus folks, and some were blatantly ignored. The crowd sentiment against the caucus began to grow, and culminated when the debate started. Tom Roach spoke for the caucus, and focused not on defending or arguing for the resolution, but on slamming the opponents of the caucus (and calling out specific names). Very unprofessional, and his speaking hurt his cause, and sealed the deal.

The pro-caucus caucus (had to say that) saw the fiery crash coming, and tried to table the amendment indefinitely, thereby saving it for a future convention. However, convention chairman State Rep. John Wright ruled that the convention now 'owned' the resolution, and a tabling motion was out of order. The caucus then proceeded to fail miserably.

State Sen. Randy Brogdon officially announced his intention to run for governor just before the chair vote, and the convention hall erupted (especially when compared to the warm reception Mary Fallin received).

On a different note, the convention chair was superb. I heard many people say that they've never been to a convention that was handled as well as John Wright did. I have tremendous respect for Wright, and this merely confirmed why I do. Jon Wright follows the rules to the T, and is fair to all sides, as was evident at the convention. A better convention chair could not have been found.

All in all, it was a good convention. Over 1200 delegates attended, and the future looks bright for the Republican Party in Oklahoma.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

State GOP Convention Saturday

The 2009 Oklahoma Republican Convention takes places on Saturday, and I will likely be unable to post until the conclusion. However, I have a few things to say.

One, I fully and enthusiastically endorse GARY JONES for state chair, and Angie LaPlante for Vice Chair. These are both solid, conservatives individuals that I have had the privilege of knowing, and I can think of no better team for the Republican Party. Under Gary's leadership, the state party has flourished, and made tremendous gains in every area.

Also, I oppose the Caucus, for reasons laid out in my post previously.

For now,

The Muskogee Politico

Chicago Tea Party and CNN's Extreme Bias

Behind the scenes at the Chicago Tea Party, where CNN reporter Susan Roesgen shows her extreme bias.



I'm just floored. I thought I had seen it all, but this tops pretty much all the bias I've ever seen.

Muskogee Tea Party Pictures, Part 1

Here is the first handful of pictures from the Muskogee Tea Party that took place on Wednesday, with around 225-250 attendees. I'll post some more later, as well as video.

Here's a link to the Muskogee Phoenix front-page above-the-fold article. They also posted video on their website here.

People beforehand, lining up to sign in.

Yours truly, kicking things off.

Dave Amis, Americans for Prosperity.

3 year old Sarah Lemmons of Checotah holds a wonderful sign.

The crowd of nearly 250.

Our third speaker, local businessman Greg Gaither.

Jim Conroy, FairTax.

Charlie Williams, with a good quote.

The wonderful crowd again.

Final speaker, local businessman Rob Raasch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

36 Communities at Muskogee Tea Party

36 communities were represented at the Muskogee Tea Party today.

Cities and towns represented by attendees included Muskogee, Tahlequah, Fort Gibson, Wagoner, Pryor, Shawnee, Porum, Muldrow, Checotah, Chouteau, Eufaula, Gore, Stigler, Coweta, Wainwright, Webbers Falls, Roland, Sallisaw, Boynton, Hulbert, San Clemente CA, Cookson, Stillwell, Warner, Oktaha, Braggs, Lequire, Canadian, Vian, Tulsa, Hitchita, Haskell, Red Oak, Morris, and Broken Arrow.

Update on Muskogee Tea Party

Pictures and video to come, but there were over 220 people present at the Muskogee Tea Party.

Word is that over 3,000 went to the Tulsa Tea Parties, possible over 5,000 at the State Capitol, along with hundreds at various other locations across the state. This was huge.

There could be over a million people across the nation who attend the tea parties.

Muskogee Tea Party TODAY!


I will be uploading pictures and video sometime today or tomorrow from the Tea Party. Come join us!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Early Ethics Returns: Brogdon Raises $22K

The first quarter ethics reports are starting to roll on in, and there are some interesting tidbits out there.

For instance, Attorney General Drew Edmondson has $231,000 cash on hand in his gubernatorial candidate account, through the end of 2008. Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins
hasn't submitted her first quarter '09 report yet, and neither has Edmondson.

On the GOP side, Mary Fallin's report is not in yet, but Randy Brogdon's 'Exploratory Committee' report is.

From March 17th through March 31st, Brogdon raised $22,700, with expenses of $325 and carry-over from his State Senate account of $7,383.71. Brogdon hopes to raise $100,000 by some point in April. One of the interesting contributions to Brogdon is a $5,000 (maximum) donation fron Lloyd Noble II.

The deadline for campaigns to report is the end of April.

UPDATE:

Randy Brogdon has announced a one-day fundraising drive for April 15th (tomorrow), attempting to raise "$15K on the 15th". You will be able to track the progress on RandyBrogdon.com starting at midnight tonight.

State Committeeman Talks Caucus vs. Primary Moratorium

A Message from Muskogee County State Committeeman Jamison Faught

The issue of how Oklahoma Republicans choose their nominee for president is very important, and should not be taken lightly. Whether we have a caucus system or a primary affects the ability of hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans to participate in the process of selecting our next president.

That’s why I am calling for a moratorium on the caucus vs. primary issue.

Do we want the Republican party to be the Party of the Oligarchy, where the elite few make the decisions for the whole? That is what we would be, if we consider voting on our presidential nominee selection system at the 2009 State Convention.

Such a small percentage of registered Republicans will be present at the State Convention, making decisions that will affect not only the long-time party activist, but also the average Republican who is not even aware that the Party is considering changing how they can vote.

Currently, the state of Oklahoma has over 860,000 registered Republicans. 335,000 Republicans voted in the Presidential Primary that took place in February of 2008. How many will be attending the 2009 State Convention? 1,000? 1,500? 2,000? Whatever the actual attendance is, it is an extremely small percentage of the overall Republican population in Oklahoma, many of whom are unaware of the convention, or the fact that how they vote for President may be changing due to actions taken at this convention, without their input

Some of the 'Caucus OK!' proponents speak of the Republican Party being a private organization (in the context of the state paying for the primaries). I ask, what private organization would dramatically change how they operate without notifying all of their members? That's what is happening right now with the caucus/primary discussion.

Yes, let’s have a healthy debate on whether to keep the primary, or move to a caucus, but let’s make sure that that decision is what the party as a whole wants. That is why I call for a moratorium.

Here is what I propose. The Oklahoma Republican Party should vote on whether to keep the primary, or to move to a caucus. However, we postpone that decision until every registered Republican in the state is contacted (or contact is attempted) about the possible change, and given an opportunity to attend a special convention scheduled for that very purpose. I call on the state party to establish a fund dedicated solely to financing such a contact operation. If such a course of action is taken, I will give the first donation.

This is much too important an issue to be decided without input from the members of the Republican Party as a whole, not just a select few.

So again, this is my proposal:

  1. The State Party dedicate a fund to be used specifically to contact via mail (or other form of contact, if available, balancing cost and effectiveness) every registered Republican in the state. I will donate the first $50. Republicans on the state email list, and county email lists, would not have to have a postcard mailed to them, and activists could gather names of other people who do not need notification, saving more money.
  2. Schedule a special convention to deal exclusively with the caucus vs. primary issue, once enough money is raised.
  3. Vote to either keep the current primary, or move to a caucus, after all registered Republicans have been given the opportunity to attend if they so wish.

Thank you for considering my proposal. Whatever is decided, we should unite as a party, in order to accomplish greater things in the future.

Jamison Faught
State Committeeman, Muskogee County

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BREAKING: NAVY FREES CAPTAIN OFF SOMALIA

Finally!

MOMBASA, Kenya – An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, the ship's owner said.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said a pirate who had been involved in negotiations to free Capt. Richard Phillips but who was not on the lifeboat was in custody.

Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

Maersk Line Limited President and CEO John Reinhart said in a news release that the U.S. government informed the company around 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday that Phillips had been rescued. Reinhart said the company called Phillips' wife, Andrea, to tell her the news.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Somali Pirates... Get Calls from the Media!

Reuters on the hostage situation:

MOGADISHU/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy negotiated on Thursday with Somali pirates who held an American ship captain hostage in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean, their first such seizure of a U.S. citizen.

The gunmen briefly hijacked the 17,000-tonne Maersk Alabama freighter Wednesday, but the 20 American crew retook control after a confrontation far out at sea where pirates have captured five other vessels in a week.

Four gang members were holding the captain, Richard Phillips, on the ship's lifeboat after he apparently volunteered to be a hostage for the sake of his crew.

Reached by Reuters via satellite phone, the pirates on the lifeboat sounded desperate. "We are surrounded by warships and don't have time to talk," one said. "Please pray for us."

[...]

In Somalia's Haradheere port, an associate of the gang said they were armed and ready to defend themselves.

"Our friends are still holding the captain, but they cannot move, they are afraid of the warships," he told Reuters. "We want a ransom and, of course, the captain is our shield. The warships might not destroy the boat as long as he is on board."

Wait... Reuters called the pirates on their sat phone? They contacted these thugs for quotes??

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brogdon Announces Massive Tax Rebate Plan

Brogdon Announces $2.6 Billion Tax Rebate Plan for Oklahomans

Tulsa, OK, ­- April 08, 2009 – Senator Randy Brogdon today announced his plan to introduce legislation that would provide up to $2.6 billion in tax rebates to the people of Oklahoma.

“Governor Henry has chosen to listen to President Obama and the Washington insiders on how Oklahoman’s tax dollars should be spent,” said Brogdon. “I choose to let the people of Oklahoma decide for themselves how to spend their money.”

“The plan is simple,” continued Brogdon. “For every dollar of President Obama’s stimulus program that Governor Henry decides to spend, I will introduce legislation that rebates the same amount back to the people of Oklahoma.”

Brogdon then went on to describe his plan if executed to the full $2.6 billion. “We would first start by issuing a sales tax rebate of $400 per person. For example, a family of five would receive a $2000 tax rebate. And then we would rebate up to $1 billion of what Oklahomans paid last year in income taxes,” said Brogdon. “That could amount to an income tax rebate of anywhere up to 40% for the average Oklahoman.

“This ensures that all Oklahomans get back their tax dollars with ‘No Strings Attached’,” said Brogdon. “Only then can we truly ‘stimulate’ Oklahoma’s economy back into prosperity.”

Randy Brogdon is the State Senator for District 34 which covers Northeastern Tulsa County and portions of Rogers County. He and his wife of 37 years, Donna, currently reside in Owasso, OK. For more information about Randy Brogdon, please visit www.RandyBrogdon.com.

Press Contact:
David Tackett
918-894-7929
jdt@randybrogdon.com

Friday, April 3, 2009

Steve Fair on the Caucus

Steve Fair wrote such a great rebuttal to the CaucusOK! movement, that I had to re-post it here in it's entirety.
Earlier this week you may have received an email in support of moving Oklahoma Republicans back to a caucus system of choosing which presidential candidate receives Oklahoma’s delegate votes to become the Republican nominee for President.

Most knowledgeable Republicans who have studied the caucus proposal being promoted feel passage would be extremely devastating to our party and could set our party back over 20 years.

The information provided in support of this change to the caucus is extremely misleading and comes from individuals whose goal is to create a system that would allow a very small, well-organized minority to manipulate the process to promote their own political agenda.

Let’s analyze each statement made in support of the Caucus.

In 1976, 1980, and 1984 the Oklahoma GOP supported Ronald Reagan for President - through a caucus system instead of a "Presidential Preference Primary".

Ronald Reagan lost the Iowa Caucus in both 1976 and 1980. He then came back and won the New Hampshire primaries. So using that logic, if New Hampshire had a caucus Ronald Reagan may have never become President. How can we empower the grassroots to support conservative leaders like Reagan in the future? Answer: Restore the Oklahoma GOP to the Caucus System?

Back to the Reagan example. In 1976 Gerald Ford won the Iowa caucus. One week later Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire primary. In 1980 George H.W. Bush won the Iowa Caucus. The following week Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire Primary. I don’t know of anyone who would argue that Ford and Bush 41 were more conservative than Ronald Reagan.

Counties across the State, including Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, have already passed a proposal known as "Caucus OK!" that would restore the Oklahoma GOP to a caucus system, and it will soon be heard at the State Convention, Saturday, April 18. I would invite you to visit the Caucus OK website http://caucusok.org/to learn more!

While it is true the proposal was passed in a few counties it was soundly defeated 52-28 in Cleveland County, which was perhaps the only county to have a full and open debate on the issue. Cleveland County even suspended its own convention rules to allow the principal proponent of the caucus proposal to debate for the measure. It was still soundly voted down.

[MP: I might add that Reagan did not become the nominee because Oklahoma had a caucus in place. Also, we didn't have a Ronald Reagan running in 2008, so we didn't have a chance to elect a Ronald Reagan.]

"An enlarged , invigorated , and empowered grassroots volunteer and donor base will result from the restoring of the caucus system."

There is no evidence that this would be the case. Iowa has been the example given to support this assertion, claiming Iowa gets more attention and activity because of their caucus. Truth is, Iowa receives attention because they are first in the process. New Hampshire receives an equal amount of attention and they have a primary. Current RNC rules do not allow Oklahoma to conduct their selection process earlier than it is currently held, either primary or caucus. Changes are currently being discussed by the RNC and will more than likely be put into effect before the 2012 elections.

"A caucus system is a nomination process that truly reflects a consensus of the Party grassroots."

Again, there is no evidence to support this claim. In 2008 over 345,000 Oklahoma Republicans turned out to vote in the Republican Presidential Primary. If the proposed caucus were to be approved we would be telling those Republicans that we didn’t care about their opinion and that their votes didn’t matter.

"Moving to a caucus system will increase fundraising opportunities for the Party."

The change as proposed would not generate additional revenues; in fact, it would be extremely costly to the Oklahoma Republican Party, as it requires the party to furnish ballots, including absentee ballots, to all Republicans at no cost. The OKGOP would also be responsible for conducting the voting process, including having to verify whether those showing up or mailing in ballots were indeed eligible to vote.

[MP: Yet another great point. The Party would have to have the capacity to send an absentee ballot to every registered Republican, as well as notice of the change to the caucus. To not do so (or be able to do so) would be morally wrong.]

"Moving to a caucus system will save Oklahoma tax-payer dollars (up to $3 million)."

This is not true, as the change to the caucus does not eliminate the primary. The Democrat party will still conduct their voting via a primary. It does not change the law.

[MP: Notice the clever twisting of the figures by the Caucus OK! folks. The "up to $3 million" amount would be if the Democrats moved to a caucus as well. A shameful, deceitful tactic, if you ask me.]

"Moving to a caucus system will increase Oklahoma's influence and attention in the national election process."

Since 1988 when Oklahoma moved from the caucus to the Primary, Republicans held 32 seats in the Oklahoma House; we now hold 61. In 1988 Republicans held 15 seats in the Oklahoma Senate; we now hold 26. All in all, Oklahoma Republicans have done quite well under the current system.

[MP: The only way Oklahoma will gain more influence on the national scale is if we have tremendous population growth, or replace Iowa or New Hampshire as first-in-the-nation. Either way, not likely to happen.]

CONCLUSION
The truth is a caucus system would empower a few influential activists who believe they know better than the general population what Oklahoma needs. A caucus system would establish an oligarchy which is a form of government where power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society- aka Political Pharisees. That is never good and goes completely against the principles of the U.S. Constitition which is inclusive and protects us from the establishment of an oligarchy.

[MP: Exactly! The oligarchy point is one that I have used many times in arguing against the caucus. This would disenfranchise huge amounts of Republicans across our great state.]

Oklahoma Republican activists should be about the business of educating Oklahoma voters and encouraging more conservatives to become involved in the process. Moving to a caucus system would be a step backward in Oklahoma. We have accomplished too much with a Presidential Primary! While not a perfect system, it is infinitely better than moving back to a Caucus system. Vote No at the State Convention!
I could not have said it better. I agree with Steve - vote against the caucus resolution at the Oklahoma Republican Convention on April 18th!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Punch-Drunk at the G-20?

Is Obama "punch-drunk" at the G-20?

(L-R, back row: Pres. Obama, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and Russian Pres. Dmitry Medvedev. Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao in foreground.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Candidate Announcement

In light of several revelations about ordinances the Muskogee City Council has passed in recent months, I have decided to announce my candidacy for City Council, Ward One.

In the coming days, I will be launching a website: muskogeeneedschange.com.

It's high time that Muskogee had city councilors who really represented the people. The current council does not. That's why, in the spirit of this time, I will be running for City Council.

In a side note, I will be joining fellow blogger Michael Bates in running for municipal office.

(APRIL FOOLS!!)