Monday, November 20, 2017

OCPAC's Michener: "Mary's Little Lamb"

The following column was submitted by OCPAC President John Michener. Michener is publicly supporting gubernatorial candidate Dan Fisher; OCPAC endorsed Fisher during the summer.

(cartoon provided)
Mary’s Little Lamb
by John Michener

During the 2016 legislative session, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 1552, which could have closed abortion mills across the state and prevented the opening of a new child sacrifice center in 2016 and another one in 2017.  This was a highly publicized bill which had the full attention of Republican Party leadership.  Even before session had begun, back on October 8, 2015, Governor Mary Fallin had pledged her support to the bill’s author.  However, when it finally hit her desk, Governor Fallin vetoed the bill.  Having condoned murder by abortion when she had a chance to stop it, Governor Fallin has innocent blood on her hands.  But this article is about another guilty party who shirked his responsibility on that same occasion.

According to Article 6 § 15 of the Oklahoma Constitution, “The Lieutenant Governor…shall be president of the Senate…”  A president is one who presides.  Most Oklahomans do not realize that the Lt. Governor is in charge of the Senate and has the right to preside in that body whenever he wishes.  This is made clear in Article 5 § 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which says in part:  “The Senate shall…elect one of its members President pro tempore, who shall preside over its deliberations in the absence or place of the Lieutenant Governor.”  The term pro tempore comes from the Latin and means temporary.  The President pro tempore is a temporary president for when the Lt. Governor is not present.  Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the Lt. Governor has the right to preside in the Senate.

In fact, in April 2000, as then Lt. Governor Mary Fallin was preparing to run for governor, she presided in the Senate for several days during the Right-to-Work battle.  At the time she was praised by political pundits for exercising leadership.

This point is extremely important, because in the 2016 struggle to abolish abortion, a struggle that was fought and lost in the Senate, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, a self-proclaimed pro-lifer and the President of the Senate, was nowhere to be found.

On the last day of session, hundreds of citizens were at the Capitol calling for a veto override, and thousands of pro-life advocates across Oklahoma were praying for success.  Pastor Dave Mehlhaff was stationed just outside the Senate Chamber when he saw Senate President Todd Lamb walk by.  Mehlhaff reports, “I approached him in-stride, as he was walking past the chamber entrance, and we exchanged a few pleasantries.  Then I explained that we were at the capitol working to get an override of the Governor’s veto of SB 1552.  I asked him if he would be willing to speak to senate leaders to convince them to reconsider the bill.  His response was something like, ‘When I sponsored legislation as a senator, I preferred to carry my own bill, and I prefer to let those who sponsored this bill do the same.’”

If the Lt. Governor were the champion of life that he claims to be, he would have stepped into the Senate chamber to preside and ensure that SB 1552 was reconsidered.  Because he neither exerted influence, nor took up his leadership role as President of the Senate at this critical time, the Senate adjourned early for the year, leaving business on their desks, rather than record their votes for or against abortion.

You may be wondering if 2016 was an aberration, but Lamb has been conspicuously absent again in 2017 from the fight for life.  In a March 22 meeting with Oklahomans United for Life, Lamb was asked to provide needed leadership in the Senate.  Senator Nathan Dahm was carrying the same doctor-licensing bill that Lamb failed to support in 2016, and Senator Joseph Silk was carrying a bill that would have elevated the crime of abortion from a misdemeanor for the unlicensed, to a felony homicide for anyone.  Once again, Lamb chose not to offer public support.  Those bills never received a hearing in Todd Lamb’s Senate.

Maybe you believe Lamb will lead the charge once he is governor.  In the same meeting just referenced, Lamb was asked directly if he had a plan to end abortion as governor.  Instead of embracing this opportunity to share a bold vision of leadership, Lamb dodged the question completely, defensively saying he was not going to talk about the governor’s race.  “I’ll talk about my role as Lt. Governor,” he said, “but any political issues in the future, this is not the place for it.”  When pressed with the question, Lamb did allow that, “The best way to answer hypothetical in the future is to point to my track record in the past.”

So let us take Lamb’s advice and examine his record.  When Lamb was in the Senate, he was known for advancing typical pro-life bills that treat murder by abortion as healthcare, rather than a crime.  In 2009 he authored a bill to guarantee women “informed consent” before murdering their babies.  Since his ineffectual “pro-life” efforts eight years ago, he has been keeping quiet and running for governor.  In the meantime, murder by abortion has continued unabated, and two new abortion mills have begun operation in Oklahoma which Lamb might have kept from opening simply by performing his duty as the president of the Senate.

Todd Lamb has been employed by government for nearly his entire adult life.  Before taking up each of his Oklahoma offices, Lamb had to take this oath:  “I do solemnly swear…that I will faithfully discharge, according to the best of my ability, the duties of my office…”

Do the last dozen years in state government represent the best of Lamb’s abilities?  He has done nothing substantive for eight years, and he refused to preside in his Senate.  Perhaps his principles are not as strong as he proclaims.  Perhaps he does not understand his constitutional duties.  Perhaps he is afraid that a controversial stand might threaten his run for governor.  Whatever the reason, judging by his record, Todd Lamb is not the leader we should trust to defend the preborn.

The people of Oklahoma are beginning to see through the lies and deceit of so many of our officials who call themselves pro-life.  We must learn from past performance, or we are doomed to repeat it.  Todd is not a leader; he is a lamb…Mary’s Little Lamb.

John Michener is President of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC), and Director of Oklahomans United for Life.

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