You have to appreciate all the attention actor Alec Baldwin has given Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators lately.
Back in March, the 30 Rock television star called Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe an “oil whore” in a tweet to his some 700,000 followers on Twitter, which created a minor controversy but also awareness. The tweet, from @alecbladwin, went like this: “Is there a bigger Oil Whore alive than James Inhofe?” He also tweeted, “Oil Whore Jim Inhofe has betrayed every man and woman who lost their livelihood on the Gulf due to BP’s overwhelming negligence…” and “We need to have Inhofe retire to a solar-powered gay bar.”
On Monday, according to a media report, Baldwin spoke at the National Press Club in Washington about the importance of arts funding and mentioned that U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, another Republican, is “not as wonderful as we would like him to be on the issue of the arts.”
Baldwin also listed some Oklahoma organizations that received funding last year from the National Endowment for the Arts, including the Oklahoma Council of the Arts, which got $773,000.
For some in Oklahoma, Baldwin’s comments will likely seem intrusive and elitist, but I think it’s great anytime a person of his stature brings public scrutiny to the state’s politicians. It’s a reality check. Coburn is a media darling on The Oklahoman editorial page, for example, and Inhofe pretty much gets a free ride here from media outlets in his campaign against climate-change science. Baldwin’s comments, even if humorously outrageous, help to correct the local media distortions and give support for progressives here.
Baldwin has hinted that he may run for a political office in the future, maybe even running for governor in New York. In the meantime, I hope Baldwin keeps speaking up about Oklahoma politicians.