Oklahomans Deserve The Truth
(We need to get busy if we’re going to defeat U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election. Take a few seconds to sign the petition and urge state Senator Andrew Rice to run against him.)
"Our intelligence system has said that we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction -- I believe including nuclear. There's not one person on this panel who would tell you unequivocally that he doesn't have the missile means now, or is nearly getting the missile means to deliver a weapon of mass destruction. And I for one am not willing to wait for that to happen."--Jim Inhofe on Meet The Press, 2002)
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe's recent bizarre comments on the Iraq occupation completely contradict what he said during the time period leading up to the invasion.
In a recent Tulsa World article (“Vice President Visits Tulsa: Cheney, Inhofe blasts Democrats’ plan for Iraq,” April 27, 2007), Inhofe claims the reasons for the gruesome Iraq occupation initially had nothing to do with finding weapons of mass destruction. Inhofe actually blames the press for the so-called “mischaracterization.”
(Check out this great blog: Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.)
This is not simply political spin. This is a calculated lie by an angry warmonger.
Here’s what Inhofe said, according to the article: "The whole idea of weapons of mass destruction was never the issue, yet they [reporters] keep trying to bring this up.” That's right. His argument is that weapons of mass destruction were never "the issue" for the country's invasion of Iraq.
But this is what Inhofe himself said on Meet The Press in 2002: "Our intelligence system has said that we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction -- I believe including nuclear. There's not one person on this panel who would tell you unequivocally that he doesn't have the missile means now, or is nearly getting the missile means to deliver a weapon of mass destruction. And I for one am not willing to wait for that to happen."
Here’s what President George Bush said on March 3, 2003: ““Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.”
Here’s what the president said on March 22, 2003: ““Our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”
Here’s what the president said on April 14, 2003: “Our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”
(The above Bush quotes were taken from the Think Progress blog.)
We can’t forget as well then Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations before the war in which he claimed the evidence was clear Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The whole idea behind Powell’s speech was to convince a skeptical world that Hussein had such weapons and could possibly use them. Powell said he now regrets making the speech.
Here’s what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said about the Iraq invasion in 2003: "Let us be very clear about why we went to war against Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to the security of the United States and the world. This was a regime that had pursued, had used, and possessed weapons of mass destruction."
Inhofe must think Oklahomans are too stupid to get online and find the facts or read a credible newspaper about the issue. The state’s press has done an absolutely miserable job challenging Inhofe’s bizarre statements. What the corporate press does here can hardly qualify as “journalism” anymore. The press here is one big public relations firm supporting war, corporate greed, and political corruption. Why is Inhofe getting a free ride? His recent bizarre statements should be a major issue in the press here.
Is there not a reporter at one of the big, corporate newspapers in the state who has the guts to challenge Inhofe’s bizarre statements? Will the editors not print the truth? This reporter would be backed by thousands of Oklahomans and millions upon millions of Americans and world citizens who are sick of Jim Inhofe and his lies about the war and global warming. What are you waiting for?
The issue also shows how the Imperial Presidency and its supporters like Inhofe cannot be trusted to tell the truth about Iraq. The right-wing war machine disavows historical accuracy, and it manipulates the masses with cultural wedge issues.
When you can’t trust your United States Senator to tell a simple truth about an issue as important as a military invasion and subsequent occupation and when your local media will not hold important politicians accountable for obvious lies, then our democracy is threatened. People throughout the country are realizing this and are now working outside the corporate media system to bring about real change.
Meanwhile, Democrats need to put together a campaign starting now to defeat Inhofe in 2008.
I’m asking state Senator Andrew Rice to take on this task, and media reports say he’s considering it. What other Democrats are going to step forward and challenge Inhofe’s lies? Let’s get busy.
Henry Vetoes Corporate Measure
Gov. Brad Henry has made the prudent and appropriate decision to veto a corporate immunity bill that would have taken rights away from individuals to sue for damages.
Henry vetoed Senate Bill 507 on Saturday after trying to reach a compromise with legislators on the bill. The bill just barely passed out of the senate so it’s unlikely its corporate toadies in the Republican Party will try to override the veto. You can read about the issue here.
"Governor Henry showed tremendous courage today," according to Emilee Truelove, executive director of the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association. "SB 507 was like David fighting Goliath. It pitted insurance companies, millionaire CEO's and out-of-state lobbyists against our grandmothers, children, firefighters, our state's chief law enforcement officer and innocent victims of drunk driving. Fortunately, Governor Henry rose above the politics and chose to protect the rights of all Oklahoman's, not just a privileged few. This is further proof that Governor Henry's principles are not for sale."
In a statement, Henry said he was still interested in putting together some type of bill dealing with lawsuits that would protect individual rights and improve the system.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe’s recent awkward clash with former Vice President Al Gore over global warming should be another reminder to Democratic operatives that one of the GOP’s most conservative senators can be beat in the next election.
When Gore, whose global warming film An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award, spoke about the issue recently to a Senate committee, Inhofe responded with boorish behavior, interrupting Gore and treating him with basic disrespect. Inhofe actually had to be admonished by one of his colleagues for acting out. Gore, meanwhile, graciously invited the Senator to breakfast to discuss the issue.
Inhofe, who is not a scientist and gets a lot of his campaign money from oil and gas companies, doesn’t believe in global warming despite the overwhelming evidence. His infamous remark that global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" has made him and Oklahoma a national spectacle and a symbol of ignorance to the world.
He has embarrassed the state in other ways, as well, from publicly degrading gay people to citing the Bible as a basis for foreign policy.
This is what he said on June 6, 2006 about the Federal Marriage Amendment:
“...As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we’ll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.”
This is what he said about Israel in a Senate speech:
“I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk.
“In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says:
“The Lord said to Abram, "Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. . . . Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee." That is God talking.
“The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am giving you this land,--the West Bank’. This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.”
(The above quoted material is from Wikipedia’s entry on Inhofe.)
Inhofe is an aging religious extremist with rigid views that deny obvious transformational changes in our culture and world. He has become such a polarizing figure he no longer serves the state’s interest. He has become a national cartoon, and this hurts the state.
And he CAN be beat if he runs for reelection in 2008. (Inhofe has not officially announced his candidacy yet.) His “wacko” baggage is huge and growing, he will look like a fool in debates, the GOP is on the run because of its mindless support for President George Bush’s Iraq debacle, and the 2008 elections are shaping up for yet another Democratic sweep.
The Democratic candidate will be running not against Inhofe the politician so much as against the huge amounts of oil money he will receive. Democrats could exploit this issue. As fuel costs rise, Inhofe benefits in his role as a shill for oil companies. Think of Inhofe each time you fill up your car. He's the exact reason for higher gasoline costs. That’s a very real issue.
Of course, the popular Gov. Brad Henry could easily beat Inhofe in the Senate race, but Henry has said he won’t run. Democrats should press Henry to reconsider. His country desperately needs him. As a Democratic U.S. Senator from the reddest of red states, Henry could change the country’s political dynamic in a major way as we develop more truthful and useful definitions of “right” and “left” and “conservative” and “liberal.” If Democrats retain control of the Senate or add to their majority, Henry would receive powerful committee assignments. This could help the state and also set Henry up for his own presidential or vice presidential run.
U.S. Rep. Dan Boren would be another attractive candidate for the seat. He has name recognition and his father’s legacy. (His father, David, is president of the University of Oklahoma and a former U.S. Senator.) He has solid Washington experience. His energy and youth would serve as a powerful contrast to Inhofe, who is in his 70s.
Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins could also challenge Inhofe. Askins ran a formidable campaign and beat former state Rep. Todd Hiett in 2007. If she can beat one Republican ideologue in a conservative place like Oklahoma, then surely she can beat another. Askins could easily bait Inhofe into making campaign gaffes by stressing real family values, not polarizing ideology.
Another person who should consider running is Andrew Rice, the newly elected state senator from District 46. He is young, intelligent and articulate. He has no political baggage. Some may argue he is inexperienced, but don’t forget Don Nickles won his U.S. Senate seat in 1980 after just two years as a state senator. Nickles was considered a long shot as well. Like 1980, the political landscape in 2008 could be a great election year for newcomers.
It’s Askins Against Hiett
Now that the runoffs are over, Democrats need to unite to beat a weakened Republican Party.
National polls shows Republican candidates are in trouble as the country approaches the November elections, but the question remains if this applies to Oklahoma as well. With our local conservative media serving as lapdogs for President George Bush and with wacko U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe calling the Iraq war a “miracle,” it is no wonder many Oklahomans still vote against their own interests.
I would argue for a full assault on the so-called moral values of the Oklahoma Republicans running for office here in this state, though many campaigning Democrats here will no doubt try to find middle ground. Meanwhile, the term “centrist” drifts ever rightward. Perhaps this is understandable given the state’s low college education rates and the predictable right-wing media propaganda we all have to endure here.
Jari Askins, who beat Pete Regan in the Democratic runoff for lieutenant governor, will trounce House Speaker Todd Hiett if she can show how Hiett’s policies and ideology have hurt, not helped, ordinary Oklahomans. This can be done. Democrats, including each and every Regan supporter, need to rally behind Askins with contributions and volunteer help.
Polls show Governor Brad Henry is popular with voters, but U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook remains a formidable opponent with name recognition. Istook is sure to press cultural wedges issues in his campaign, trying to attract Christian right-wing voters. Will the state’s politicized Southern Baptists ministers get behind Istook’s campaign and direct their church members to vote against their own basic interests—wages, health insurance, energy costs—in favor of wedge issues? That’s the million dollar question.
Inhofe’s Iraqi Miracle
So this is the entire Jim Inhofe quote circulating around the nation the past couple of days:
When referring to Iraq in a Tulsa World interview, our bizarre senator said, “"What's happened there is nothing short of a miracle." (Think Progress brought it to national attention in the blogging world.) Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of Americans think the war is going somewhat or very badly.
Inhofe is known throughout the nation as a right-wing nutcase, but, of course, a majority of Oklahomans do not seem to care. As the national media points out his outrageous comments, the state’s mainstream media leaves him unchallenged. It is as if not a single progressive or Democrat even lives in the state, according to the media.
All Oklahoma Democrats need to demand The Daily Oklahoman and The Tulsa World provide fair news coverage. These are biased, right-wing newspapers that continue to keep our state from prospering. They allow the Inhofes and Coburns to tarnish our state’s reputation.