Archive for October, 2010

Does This Surprise Anyone?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by rottenart

When a state that bucked the national trend and voted more Republican in 2008 is in the spotlight for increasing Republican voter registration, it’s not exactly news. So then, shooting par, The Tulsa World reports that OK increased its GOP membership by almost 29,000 since Jan. 15th compared to only 313 for the Democrats. Democrats retain an overall edge, however, leading Republicans 48.1 to 40.5 percent.

So, the GOP is gaining ground on the Dems, who have held an electoral advantage in OK for a very long time. The real question is not why this is happening (Oklahomans are curiously susceptible to the Teabagger line of “NO GOVERNMENT!”) but what can be done about it. Conventional wisdom would dictate that more Democrats equals more Democratic victories. Yet Oklahoma has some of the staunchest conservative representation in all of Congress. So what is up with these OkieDems?

One factor is that the Democratic party in OK is a very different beast than its national counterpart. OkieDems tend to be quite conservative (witness Dan Boren), relatively speaking. Another factor is the sheer enormity of the Republican machine in OK. The GOP has the backing of the immensely powerful energy industry and it’s tough to counteract that, especially when the same industry is currently flooding Oklahoma City with construction dollars.

However, one of the biggest reasons OK is turning redder has to do with the inordinate amount of apathy in this state. I frequently talk about political topics with the people around me and I’m constantly amazed at just how little Okies know or care about their government. Much of the energetic, young, engaged population of OKC doesn’t seem that concerned with retail politicking or, worse yet, doesn’t see any reason to work for victories because the nutjob Right Wing has controlled the state for as long as they’ve been alive. If you know your state has actually gotten more conservative since 2008, what good is it to try to change minds know, when the odds are actually longer?

This is a dilemma that too often goes overlooked at the national level. Understandably, the larger Democratic party is loath to throw dollars down a figurative hole chasing a paltry number of votes. The strategy is sound, no matter how much it might suck for us lonely progressives in the Sooner State. But to ignore OK as a foregone conclusion is to embolden the Right and further entrench their stranglehold.  Even a token show of support to those in the trenches would go a long way towards energizing and engaging those who would otherwise be inclined to sit this election (and every other) out. Additionally, it could have the side benefit of blindsiding the GOP, which certainly takes OK for granted.

In my experience, Oklahomans are a pragmatic lot. If the national party could be convinced to quietly build its apparatus in the state, drawing on the nominal support they enjoy, it could serve to light a fire under the progressives here. And trust me, if you’d like to see a confused, frightened GOP, let them be surprised when a true progressive wins statewide here in the Reddest of the Red states.



How Blue Is Dan Boren?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on October 7, 2010 by rottenart

An interesting tidbit about Republican plans to turn the screws on Blue Dog Democrats to switch parties after the election.  This completely makes sense, especially if GOP gains fail to meet expectations. I’m sure some purists would be happy seeing them go;  they might as well be Republicans anyway. Evidently, Dan Boren is on their hit list and he certainly could be a Republican. I wonder if he’ll be able to resist the temptation to make OK an all red state (he’s the only Democrat).

On one hand, I see the reasons for cutting them loose. I think it narrows the ideological focus a little and helps to streamline it. Yet there’s a lot of worth in the phrase “more and better Democrats.” Giving up on these districts is, in a way, giving up entirely. Keep pushing the ‘more’ envelope, even if it means convincing Boren to show a spine. I’m inclined to believe he enjoys his position as an ‘independent’ Dem who votes with Republicans too much to give it up easily.

One thing is sure: if Republicans are making plans for less than a tsunami, then so should progressives.


Funny, Fox Didn’t Mention This Rally

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by rottenart

If I told you a rally was held on the national mall this weekend, made up of progressives, liberals and Democrats, and it eclipsed Glenn Beck’s Million Moron March in attendance numbers, would you believe me? I know, I know, none of the mainstream news channels bothered to report on it. There were no megalomaniac cable hosts or certifiably insane former politicians trying to co-opt Rev. King’s message of equality. Also, people who weren’t white showed up! All this makes for a sound byte that is BOOOOORRRRIIIINNG!!!! So, best just to ignore it and pretend it didn’t even happen. Hey, it worked for the anti-war march that featured millions of people prior to the Iraq invasion. Did you know that happened? Maybe you read reports that said “tens of thousands”? Starting to get the picture?

The point is that progressives are not just up against an ignorant, archaic, intolerant conservative movement. Despite the fact that the shrill right-wing has been bank-rolled by extremely wealthy business interests (the Brothers Koch come to mind), their ideas sink them every time.  People simply don’t like the message from the right. And why should they? Tax cuts for millionaires and cuts in social services doesn’t exactly jibe with the populist rhetoric they spout day after day and certainly doesn’t cut it with the millions who aren’t filthy rich. No, in addition to a brain-dead right-wing, they also have to contend with a mainstream media that acts as if conservatism is a serious intellectual movement and progressives are all dirty hippies.

Unfortunately, all of the attention from the media will be on a decidedly less progressive rally, the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert extravaganza planned for Oct. 30th. It’s not that I don’t consider these two an island of sanity amongst a sea of ridiculousness, but I feel that they pull attention simply by virtue of being on a cable channel. In some ways, they are part of the problem. If their rating dropped, you can bet they wouldn’t be allowed to continue. It’s a vote of confidence in a left-leaning mindset that their ratings are not dropping, but they also admit to not being news. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, etc. do claim to be objective but are beholden to the same ratings as the clowns.

We are left to further information by other means. Things like blogs and online sources. Talking to our friends and co-workers. Grass-roots is just that. It’s difficult remaining politically active and lead a normal life. But you can take solace in the fact that your viewpoint is popular. The rally on the mall on Saturday is proof of that. The media and the moneyed interests don’t like it, but progressives have the advantage of being in line with the majority of Americans. All the favorable news coverage and screeching on cable can’t do a thing about it.

Jon Stewart Must Read Rottenart

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by rottenart

How else would he know just how big an asshole Tom Coburn is? I mean, holding up our nation’s food safety and now denying aid to Haiti? It’s no wonder people have such a low opinion of Oklahoma in other parts of the country. All you need to do is listen to the people we choose to represent us.

Oklahoma’s inanity and apathy regarding our senators aside, this simply doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint. Much like the food safety bill, Coburn opposes a paltry amount of money in context and, in the process, cuts off the nose to spite the face. As Stewart makes clear,  Coburn is worried about one half of one percent of the total amount being wasted. I for one would like to see a full listing of Sen. Coburn’s expenses on capitol hill. I betcha there’s more than 0.05% waste there. To top it all off,  his ludicrous stand is wrapped in a healthy dose of hypocrisy because he has no problem with a $700 billion deficit hike to protect tax cuts for the nation’s richest 2%.

What the hell is wrong with this moron? Did he accidentally eat his copy of the Hippocratic Oath because it would save on paper cost? If I believed there was a Democrat in OK that had the cajones to stand up to Dr. No, than this would make an excellent campaign issue in 2012. Alas, all I can reasonably hope for is some sort of karmic retribution involving a speculum.

I shan’t elaborate on the ways of the universe; I’ll leave it to your imagination. In the meantime, if you’re so inclined, why not send Dr. Tom a little note to ask him why he’s such a hypocritical asshole?