Monday, March 18, 2024

Dahm and Deevers discuss Tyrannical Treat's 'terrorist' tirade after Senate filibustering

(Couldn't help myself with the alliteration there.)

On Thursday, conservative state senators Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) and Dusty Deevers (R-Elgin) engaged in a filibuster of-sorts to protest, among other things, the lack of action on conservative members' priority legislation and the general state of how things are run in the Senate under Pro Tem Greg Treat.

At a press conference during the day, Treat commented on the action, saying that he "doesn't negotiate with terrorists," before back-tracking moments later to say, "I am not calling them terrorists; I'm calling their actions 'terroristic'". And yet, as Sen. Dahm points out below, everything that he and Deevers did was above board and by the Senate Rules.

There is a certain irony in Treat's choice of words, as one of his most press releases was about Senate passage of his SB 1330, the 'Oklahoma City National Memorial Education Revolving Fund', a measure aimed at "commemorat[ing] the legacy of those that perished, and those lives forever changed by the tragic events of April 19, 1995, and promot[ing] educational initiatives in their honor in schools across the state." His legislation memorializes something that actually was terroristic and perpetrated by a terrorist; what Dahm and Deevers did was not that.

Before I get to the press releases by both Dahm and Deevers (well worth the read), I'll share some of what they shared on Twitter defending their tactics:

Now for their press releases:

Dahm Comments on ‘Terrorist’ Remarks from Treat

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, released the following statement concerning the actions of Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, after incendiary comments he made at a press conference on Thursday. 

“Last week, Senator Treat chose to directly name myself and Senator Deevers in his weekly press conference,” Dahm said. “He then blatantly said he ‘does not negotiate with terrorists.’ When a reporter later questioned him on calling fellow Senators ‘terrorists,’ Senator Treat tried to backpedal by claiming he wasn’t calling us terrorists but was instead suggesting our ‘actions were terroristic’.” 

When asked about Senate rules, Treat was forced to admit that none of the rules had been broken and that Senators Dahm and Deevers were, in fact, operating within the Senate rules.

“To be clear, Senator Treat believes that Senators operating within the Senate Rules – but in a manner displeasing to him – is the equivalent of terroristic actions,” Dahm said. “To equate our actions with terrorism is beyond abhorrent for anyone, let alone someone who claims to be a ‘leader’ and who seemingly believes that he speaks on behalf of the Senate Republican caucus, Senate leadership, and the Senate overall. America has suffered under terrorist attacks on multiple occasions. One such attack happened right here in our state. The Oklahoma City bombing resulted in the loss of 168 lives – including 19 children. Senator Treat should be ashamed for even suggesting that following the rules is akin to terrorism. He denigrated every life lost to terrorism with his comments.” 

Treat has a history of selectively punishing what he decides in his opinion is inappropriate behavior in the Senate. For example, during his time in Senate leadership Treat has:  

  • Punished Senators for refusing to vote for the largest tax increase in state history. Republicans who voted against tax increases had their bills blacklisted (interestingly enough, Treat did make an exception for certain Democrat bills). 
  • Punished a member of his leadership team for commenting during a press conference that those who disagree on a certain bill must be doing so for financial gain (although the punishment meted out was the aforementioned Senator merely taking time off temporarily from leadership responsibilities during one of the slowest weeks of session).
  • Punished a Senator for comments made in jest about someone outside the state of Oklahoma (the punishment was Senate staff being banned for a year from assisting or sending press releases for the Senator). 

“It remains to be seen if Senator Treat believes that calling fellow Senators ‘terrorists’ for following the rules is acceptable behavior or if it constitutes inappropriate behavior worthy of punishment,” Dahm said. “He has punished other members for far less egregious actions. At the very least, Senator Treat should issue a public apology and admission of error in the same manner he made his original despicable comments. If Senator Treat were consistent, he would prohibit Senate staff from issuing any press releases for him for at least a year, anything less than that certainly could be perceived as hypocrisy on his part.”  

Dahm concluded by saying, “Some have asked if I was surprised by Senator Treat’s comments. And my answer is that it’s certainly consistent with the ‘leadership style’ that he so proudly bragged about immediately after calling us terrorists. I’m no longer surprised by Senator Treat’s actions, no matter how disgusting his comments are to all those who have suffered and lost loved ones to actual terrorism. Senator Treat should be ashamed, but certain leadership styles apparently have no shame.” 

Deevers Stands for Senate Reform Amidst ‘Terrorist’ Remarks by Treat

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 18th) — Sen. Dusty Deevers, R-Elgin, responded today to recent comments made by Senator Greg Treat, shedding light on systemic flaws within the Senate and advocating for reform. In a candid statement, Deevers challenged the status quo and called for a more equitable representation for all citizens.

During his weekly press conference last Thursday, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat labeled Deevers and Sen. Nathan Dahm as “terrorists” because they filibustered the Senate over leadership’s choice to not consider bills submitted by rank-and-file members and suppress the voice of their districts. Treat asserted that he “does not negotiate with terrorists.” However, in a subsequent exchange with a reporter, Treat clarified that he meant their “actions were terroristic.”

While the term “terrorist” typically evokes images of lawlessness, fear, and mass casualties, Treat conceded that both Dahm and Deevers had acted “according to the rules” of the Senate.

The recent filibuster, which kept the Senate in session until after 10:00 p.m., prompted questions about its cause. Deevers explained, “I’ll put it plainly, as I did with a ranking colleague frustrated that his bill, to which he had dedicated many hours, would not be heard on the floor. I understand his frustration. I, too, dedicated many hours to writing and submitting bills for my constituents, yet none of them were even heard in committee. Meanwhile, many of the bills from that ranking colleague received consideration both in committee and on the Senate floor. When I asked him if he could think of anyone else who might be frustrated that their bills were not heard, he instantly understood why we decided to filibuster.”

Deevers then shared a thought-provoking parable to illustrate the flaws in our state Senate system. “Imagine a grand banquet table,” he said. “Some diners feast on the choicest meats, while others are fed scraps. Another group is fed crumbs, and another is left starving, denied even crumbs. Now, let’s not see these diners as the forty-eight senators, but rather as the constituents of each district. Some constituents suffer because leadership stifles their senators’ voices, not allowing their bills to be heard.”

Explaining the parable, Deevers said, “The power-centralizing rules and artificially imposed norms of the Senate are not created to give equal representation for all the citizens of each district; all equally deserving a seat at the table.” He likened the status quo to “a system designed to serve only those at the very top while pitting all the other senators against each other rather than addressing the underlying problems.” He urged his colleagues to recognize that their frustration should not lie with each other but with the dysfunctional system of rules and norms itself.

“The current rules create a hierarchy of unhealthy competition and divisiveness in a culture of fear where the senators getting scraps fight against the senators getting crumbs and those starving. That’s why some of the senators were upset with Senator Dahm and I. They thought we were going to starve them from their meals instead of pointing their finger at the disordered system.”

Drawing a powerful analogy, Deevers highlighted the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome. “Senators getting scraps and crumbs,” he said, “even learn to thank those in power for meager rations while those in power dine without restraint.”

Deevers called for a reevaluation of Senate rules and procedures, advocating for a “Golden Rule” package that prioritizes the equality of all constituents. “Let us work toward a system that truly serves the people of Oklahoma by treating others the way we want to be treated,” he urged. “Let us turn the ladder on its side. Let us welcome all forty-eight Senate districts to the table. Let us represent the people with transparency and accountability. Let us not be like the people whose rulers lord their authority over them; rather, let us serve one another with glad equality as we seek to obey God, uphold our oaths, and represent our people. We can do better.”


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