by Steve Byas, Oklahoma Constitution
Those who advocate casting a vote for Dorman to punish Fallin for some of the disappointing actions of her governorship (or voting for one of the two non-serious gadfly independent candidates) are hurting others besides Fallin.
Recent polls indicate that Governor Mary Fallin should win comfortably over Democrat challenger Joe Dorman, although not by the margin expected by other Republican incumbents running statewide this Fall.
This indicates that loads of activist Republicans are disenchanted with Mary, but not enough to commit the stupid act of voting for the Democrat candidate for governor.
Those who advocate casting a vote for Dorman to punish Fallin for some of the disappointing actions of her governorship (or voting for one of the two non-serious gadfly independent candidates) are hurting others besides Fallin. They are hurting the state, the Republican Party, the conservative cause, and in the end, themselves and their own family.
Sure, I understand the frustration. But, after knowing Mary Fallin for about a quarter of a century, I have come to the conclusion that Mary is just Mary, and when you come to expect disappointment, it is not all that much of a disappointment.
What I would like to do is make the case to conservative Republicans that the best choice in this governor’s race is to cast your vote for Mary Fallin for reelection.
Where do I start? First, state Representative Dorman is a Democrat, and I do not believe there is one single Democrat in the Oklahoma Legislature worth voting for. When we first started the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper back in 1979, there were Democrats in the Oklahoma Legislature worth voting for, some who made the Top Conservatives list, but those days are long gone.
This does not mean that Dorman is “evil,” or even a flaming liberal. He is just a Democrat, and as such, he is going to make Democrats happy more often than he makes Republican happy. Look, his Conservative Index score is only 39% lifetime, with a mere 31% score this year. I realize that is fairly good for a Democrat, but that only makes my point. For some reason, some excuse a lot of bad votes from a Democrat. I understand holding Republicans to a higher standard, but I do not wink at bad votes simply because the legislator is of the Big Government party.
As a Democrat, Governor Joe Dorman will fill state government with a whole lot of Democrats. Expecting these Democrats to be conservatives is laughable. I guess you can find a four-leaf clover every now and then, too. Regardless of what many people argue to the contrary, there are many Republicans who are worth appointing to state offices. No, I do not expect Governor Mary Fallin to appoint multitudes of conservatives, but I can guarantee you that she will appoint a whole lot more than Dorman, simply because she will appoint more Republicans than Dorman will appoint.
Then, we have the state judicial appointments. If Dorman were to pull the big upset, expect liberal Democrats to take the place of retiring state judges at the appellate court level. While these judges face the voters in retention votes every six years, no appellate judges have ever been denied the additional six years by the voters. Dorman’s judges, drawn from the ranks of an increasingly left-wing Democrat Party, will issue liberal decisions for years past the time Dorman is back home in Rush Springs, eating watermelon at the annual festival.
Let’s say there is an unexpected vacancy in the U.S. Senate. Do you think Governor Dorman will appoint anyone better than Jim Inhofe to fill that vacancy until the election? Get real. And, guess who will be the candidate of the Republican Party for the U.S. Senate should the great Jim Inhofe have to step down from the Senate? I suspect it will be Joe Dorman. If you cause the election of Dorman for governor, you just might be picking Inhofe’s replacement as well.
Realistically, I do not expect Governor Fallin to lead us to the conservative promised land, but she will probably sign good bills, if the Republican-dominated Legislature passes them. Sure, she waited to the last minute to sign the repeal of Common Core, but she did sign it. In our last issue, we analyzed the “conservative” ratings of the six governors who have resided at the Governor’s Mansion during the years of the Oklahoma Constitution (1979-2014). Whatever else one says about Fallin, of the six governors, she had the highest conservative score, at 63%, edging out fellow Republican Governor Frank Keating. I will admit that 63 is not great, but it is a whole lot better than the 31% score that Dorman had this last session. It is almost twice as good.
Sure, I could mention some bad policies and bad moves by Governor Fallin the past four years, and I have for the past four years in these pages. I fully expect I will be back next year, bellyaching about something else that Mary Fallin has done, or something else that she has failed to do.
But for now, I am going to use my head and vote this November for the person who is clearly the better candidate – Mary Fallin.
Byas is the editor of the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper, Oklahoma's conservative
quarterly paper since 1979.