U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin will be a formidable candidate in the 2010 Oklahoma governor’s race, and her election could give Republicans control of the state government.
Fallin, 54, a former lieutenant governor and state representative, announced she was running for governor on Friday. She has widespread name recognition and deep political experience. She is telegenic. She also supports the GOP hard-line conservative platform, which continues to sell well in Oklahoma, the reddest of red states.
Political pundits have speculated U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, another Republican, might run for governor as well.
On the Democratic side, both Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson have indicated they will run for the position.
The 2010 elections are distant, but Democrats need to energize around their gubernatorial candidates. Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate. A Republican governor, along with the GOP legislative majority, could advance an ultra-conservative agenda—an agenda of “isolation”—that would limit the state’s economic opportunities and further damage the state’s national image. For now, Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat who cannot run again for governor, can veto the worst GOP legislation.
If you think the state is conservative now, just wait until the GOP controls the legislative and executive branches of government here.
Much could depend on the economy. If President Barack Obama’s financial rescue plans are successful and the local economy is thriving in 2010, Democrats here can depict Fallin as an obstructionist and a hard-line ideologue. If the economy has not improved by 2010, and Democrats move to the right, as many do in Oklahoma, then Fallin’s chances increase.
Here are some excerpts from recent posts:
The decline of The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World is ultimately a good thing for journalism in this state, though it’s tragic people are losing their jobs in the process.
But I see the layoffs as the beginning of the end for the state’s corporate media’s chokehold on how information is disseminated in Oklahoma. Let’s never forget these two newspapers are business monopolies, which have a bottom line that has never included public service to the state’s citizens. They exist to make money. Period. Can a pro-corporate mentality ever create balanced, fair news coverage?
They also produce a non-sustainable product that relies on fossil fuels and creates waste. Big newspapers, in hard-copy form, are archaic and static. They don’t link. They are relics of a different era.
State’s Big Newspapers Continue Decline, January 9, 2009
In recent years, Oklahoma leaders handed out huge tax breaks to the state’s richest citizens setting up the immediate shortfall, though some expect this new economic downturn could last for years. The state essentially squandered its moment when it was flushed with cash to improve its educational and health systems and infrastructure. Instead, it rewarded its richest citizens, who were also enjoying huge tax cuts from the federal government.
The “trickle-down” theory of economics was finally repudiated under the President George Bush administration, which left the country with its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Let me repeat this: Tax cuts given to rich people don’t stimulate the economy; they simply make rich people richer. The economy always does better when government invests in its people and infrastructure.
State Faces Budget Shortfall, January 26, 2009.
The Bush administration admitted to ordering wiretaps on U.S. citizens without required court approval. In 2007, Congress legalized warrantless wiretapping, but questions remain. Who exactly was wiretapped? What information was collected? Were people wiretapped for political reasons? Can people determine if they specifically were wiretapped by the government? There should full transparency on this issue for U.S. citizens who have not been charged with a crime or are under investigation for terrorist activity.
Will Bush Administration Face Real Investigations, February 13, 2009
These “Carry on Campus” measures, proposed across the country and supported by the National Rifle Association, simply create more potential for violence at universities and colleges. Gun advocate extremists are using the recent shooting tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois to push their agenda. Last year, virtually all of the state’s higher education officials opposed a similar measure and in all likelihood they still do.
Petty Politics, February 16, 2009
In essence, SB 320 would have allowed the state’s science teachers to present information challenging evolution theory, which the legislation labeled controversial. But the theory is only controversial in a religious sense because it seems to contradict creationism.
The bill was a disingenuous attempt to get intelligent design ideas in the science classroom. Intelligent design is creationism masquerading as science. It argues the world is so complicated it must have been created by a designer, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. It’s only dressed-up conjecture.
Brogdon Bill Bites Dust; Committee Considers Kern Measure, February 18, 2009
As President Barack Obama and his administration try to lift this country out of the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, it’s vital we remember that it was neoconservative ideology that created the economic mess.
Under former President George Bush’s reign of incompetence, the federal government failed to appropriately regulate the banking and mortgage industries, and, of course, it was former President Ronald Reagan who ushered in a new era of market fundamentalism, which erroneously holds that unregulated free markets create widespread prosperity.
Here’s the bottom line: The recent financial crisis has proven once again capitalism needs strong government structure and regulations in order to work. Left to their own means, greedy corporate executives, excused by Republican ideology, will exploit the financial system for personal short-term profits. This causes huge wealthy disparity and eventually a complete system collapse. Then taxpayers must clean up the mess.
It important we revisit the recent failed neoconservative policies to make sure we don’t repeat the past and to ensure those people who have been right about the economy and other failed Republican policies in pragmatic and philosophical terms have a voice in reshaping the country’s large and small institutions.
Obama’s speech on Wednesday was brilliant, and he did mention the importance of looking at past mistakes. He has bold plans for America’s future when it comes to energy, health and education. The country needs a visionary and strong leader right now. If anything, Obama’s stimulus plan should spend more money, not less.
But none of his plans will work if those who were right about so many important issues over the last eight years are not given a voice or leadership positions. These are people on the national and local levels. Obama and his administration need to empower these people as soon as possible.
Many Americans are rightfully angry that many bankers and corporate executives who were fundamentally wrong and made bad decisions are still in positions of power and leadership. Wall Street, collectively, also failed to speak out against Bush’s budget deficits or his reckless spending on the Iraq war over the last several years. Many large corporations have failed this country and ruined lives because of excessive greed by top executives, who made bad business decisions.
Meanwhile, right-wing media pundits who supported Bush’s every failed policy action—from the economy to energy to the Iraq war—are still ensconced in power and spewing their hate-filled anger at a president who has been in office for about a month.
Throughout the country, many local government institutions, some of which receive federal tax dollars, are still led by people who stayed silent during the Bush years or supported the former president’s failed policies. Why are they still empowered? How can they bring about change now? Why not give people who spoke out and were right a chance at leadership?
Empower the people who were right about everything and not afraid to speak out during the long, gruesome Bush years. Then you will get change and reform.