(Oklahoma should do much more to take care of the health insurance needs of its teachers, professors and their dependents in an effort to attract and retain quality educators. In addition, the state’s teacher retirement system needs more funding immediately. Read DocHoc’s commentary this week in The Oklahoma Gazette.)
The GOP’s talking points about the November elections go something like this: If you elect a Democrat majority to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, then those big, bad ultra-liberals will be empowered and, my gosh, what will happen to America then?
But here is the truthful way to frame it: Those politicians who opposed the Iraq war and then spoke out against the president’s incompetent strategy in the war were right, and we should want to be govern by people who are right, not by those people who were terribly wrong about Iraq and continue to lead this country into a foreign policy abyss.
(Personal note: On this blog and in other published writing I have consistently opposed the Iraq war. I started publicly opposing the war before it even began. I and others have predicted each and every fiasco—no WMD, not enough troops for security, the mistake in abolishing the Iraqi military, the Shiites’ alliance with Iran, the onslaught of sectarian violence—correctly 100 percent of the time. Yet for this I’m still constantly attacked and even threatened here. I’m not alone in this position, of course, but when did being right become something so radical? As a professor, I actually think it’s my duty to strive to be right. I’m reminded of George Orwell’s statement, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”)
It’s true that U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, will most certainly become House Speaker if Democrats get a majority. But she is hardly a political extremist in the mold of former Speaker Tom Delay, the corrupt Republican bug killer from Texas who ruled with an iron, ideological fist. It’s not even close. Pelosi wants a strong military. Pelosi wants to fight the terrorists in stronger, more intelligent ways. Pelosi wants a growing economy. Pelosi has five children (count ‘em, FIVE) and goes to church. Wow, what a ultra-liberal. Her husband is even—now get this, folks—a real estate developer. What a liberal occupation. Sounds like a whole nest of communists and socialists to me.
The right-wing noise machine always makes a big deal about the fact Pelosi is from San Francisco as if that great American city is flawed in some way. Hey, you know what it costs to buy a place in Frisco? More than you probably have. You know why it costs that much? Because everyone wants to live there. You know why everyone wants to live there? Because it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. Heck, the vast majority of people in Oklahoma can’t even afford to take a trip there, much less live there. But the Rush Limbaughs, the Bill O’Reillys, the Sean Hannitys, they can afford it, right?
And, yes, Frisco’s progressive and liberal ambience has a lot to do with the gargantuan property values.
Of course, here in Oklahoma, you get this type of GOP-sponsored, trickle-down drivel on the editorial page in The Daily Oklahoman about the Golden State: “Out in California, truly the land of the freak and the home of the bravado . . .” (“Campus Corn: GOP club thrives in unlikely place,” October 25, 2006). What ridiculous, ignorant stereotyping. But then intelligence has never been an appreciated trait among the newspaper’s editorial writers. Okay, listen Okies, you’re “freaks” if you want to own a house near the beach, live in 72-degree weather year around, make a lot of money at your job, and have decent health insurance. Why, that’s just plain “freaky,” ain’t it? Pass the bottle.
But you know what? Here in Oklahoma, where the liberal voice is still intentionally and methodically silenced by most of the state’s media outlets and landmark institutions and where some of us still dream endlessly about having a real dialogue of diverse political views, we’re getting ready to elect us a heap of Democrats come November. It could be the start of turning the tide against the conservative juggernaut here. I hope so.
So Ernest Istook, you can make up all the lies about Gov. Brad Henry’s record you want and The Daily Oklahoman can give you all the cover and legitimacy it can. But it doesn’t wash. Even a lot of people here, one of the most conservative states in the country, have stopped believing the GOP propaganda.