In the 17 years since the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, political leaders of all stripes have reflected on the tragedy in written statements peppered with words and phrases like “resilience,” “resolve,” “the Oklahoma Standard” and the like.
But it took the absence of one press release for all hell to break loose.
KOKH-TV Channel 25 was the first to admonish the White House for not issuing a press release April 19 to commemorate the tragedy’s anniversary. State Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell called the oversight an “epic fail,” suggesting that President Barack Obama dissed Oklahoma because the state is a solid GOP win in presidential elections.
Fox News predictably picked up the story and found equally predictable outrage from U.S. Rep. James Lankford, who tsk-tsked that the White House should know better.
Then the dominoes of outrage came a-tumbling. Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins, while confessing disappointment in the lack of an Obama statement, went on to tell Fox that if bombing perpetrator Timothy McVeigh were alive today, “he most likely would be a tea partier.”
Pinnell’s response was in the oh-no-you-di’n’t vein. “This is as offensive and despicable as they come,” he said. “To imply that a deranged madman who killed 168 people, including 19 children, is someone like me, a ‘right-winger,’ is way over the line. He should immediately apologize.”
“Resilience,” “resolve,” “the Oklahoma Standard” — words and phrases you likely won’t find describing partisan gamesmanship in the Sooner State.