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Wherefore art thou, Democrats?


Mike Brake June 20th, 2012

Oklahoma will hold elections this year, but we’ll do it largely without the Democratic Party. The institution that dominated state politics for nearly a century is moribund. That’s a shame; we Republicans said for years that twoparty government is better government, and a lot of us still believe that, but the opposition has grown so feeble that it almost feels like bullying to take them on at the polls.

Democrats hold no statewide offices. They failed to file candidates for the two Corporation Commission seats up for election this year.

Of the 24 state Senate seats up this year, Democrats filed for only 12. In the 101 state House districts, they fielded candidates in just 54. There are Democrats running for all five Congressional seats, but they are largely the kind of nobodies who wear funny hats and get 29 percent of the vote.

Their state chairman was once successfully sued for libel by both a Republican and a Democrat simultaneously, and who recently likened tea party activists to Timothy McVeigh.

President Barack Obama is likely to get, at most, one-third of the Oklahoma vote this fall, and his percentage could fall into the high 20s. Recent polling indicates that Republicans have an astounding 21-point edge on the generic state legislative ballot, which portends further GOP gains in the House and Senate of as many as a dozen new seats.

What happened to this once-potent juggernaut?

First, they simply ran out of ideas.

Beginning as long ago as the 1980s, their prescription for every issue was “create a new agency, appropriate more money and, by the way, raise taxes.” Even Bill Clinton was aware that the era of big government was over.

The Democrats’ second failing was allowing their party machinery to be seized by wild-eyed leftists. Extremists tend to be bitter haters, and a glance at the online Democratic bulletin boards confirms this.

“One of those guys has to have a heart attack tonight and of course not survive,” a Democratic poster recently wrote about the conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, which was debating the fate of Obamacare.

Oklahomans are not, by nature, haters.

We are genial folk who can disagree without venom, and we are instinctively turned off by such effluvia.

The people are best served by some semblance of balance among their elected representatives. A loyal but diligent minority can guard against excess, a role we Republicans played in the 1990s and early 2000s. They can also blow whistles on corruption. Republicans were in the minority when we exposed state Supreme Court bribery in the 1960s, crooked county commissioners in the 1980s and ghost employees in the 1990s.

Sadly, there seems to be no functioning minority in Oklahoma politics today. It has been co-opted by mouth-foaming leftists and a motley scattering of Little Dixie cigar-chompers who dwindle in number and influence each year. That’s not good for either party, or for the people.


Brake was chief writer for former Gov. Frank Keating and former U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin.


Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

 
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