To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Cheap Thrills, Senator



Sen. Jim Inhofe’s endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry comes as no surprise. What it does do is bring to mind the scene from the 1942 classic, “Casablanca” where Captain Louis Renault must find an excuse to close Ricks to keep the Germans happy.

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much.

It is a little difficult to discern how Inhofe’s support rises to the level of news. Of course, Inhofe supports Perry – they are loons floating on the same pond.

It is much akin to announcing water is wet. Of course, if President Obama were to announce water is wet Inhofe would go public and gargle sand.

The important thing is not so much Inhofe’s endorsement, but rather the type of person Inhofe feels should lead the country. It says more about Inhofe’s character than it does about his endorsement.

Inhofe wants a man who would slash teacher jobs, funding for education, reduce education salaries and then insure his victims, in order for the state and his political mentor, former GOP senator and fellow Texan Phil Gramm, to collect on insurance policies after their death. So much for the dignity of man’s labor. But, then Inhofe has never been known to hesitate when it comes to exploiting the constituency.

All of this is neatly explained by Huffington Post writers Jason Cherkis and Zach Carter. The plan, as they explain, was to induce retired or soon to be retired state educators to allow the state to take out insurance on their lives. When they died, of whatever causes, the state would collect the policy, split the money with Gramm and his cronies at UBC, the educator’s families would get nothing.

Lest we forget, Perry also wants to cut medical benefits to state employees. A rather hand-washing scenario should the plan have worked. State educators balked at the idea of selling their lives to the state and Perry was forced to abandon the scam.

Inhofe wants a man to be president who developed a scheme whereby he awarded millions and millions in job creations contracts to various corporations who in turn contributed to his various past and present campaigns. Never mind that the contracts were seldom fulfilled and many of the jobs claimed to have been created would have been created anyway or were already in the pipeline.

There is a name for awarding contracts and then accepting donations from the corporation. In non-legal parlance? Kickback is the word that comes to mind. But if the person awarding the contract controls the investigative process there is little chance of being brought to book.

Over the years Inhofe has never shied from his position that any corporate profit is a good profit. And he has never met a corporate contribution slimy enough to refuse.

This particular scam is detailed by Louis Dubose of the Washington Spectator in his recent article, “How the Texas Governor Created His State’s Budget Crisis.” The article also goes into great detail as to how Perry’s administration set the wheels in motion to gut the Texas education system. Dubose is the former editor of Texas Observer and quite knowledgeable of Lone Star politics, and Perry in particular.

Inhofe wants a man to be president that makes unsubstantiated claims of success. In particular he wants a man who takes credit for the work of others, much like the previous president from Texas.

Texas commentator Jim Hightower has written several columns on Perry’s claims to fame. He has debunked them all, but Perry is a Teflon sort of guy.

The Republican electorate seems not to care if he’s being honest. For the most part, looking at Perry’s barnstorming numbers the electorate is more concerned about what Perry is willing to do to society’s have-nots, needy and working class than what he will DO to this nation if elected.

The Republican Party has had many great statesmen tread the halls of congress and occupy the White House. It is a far stretch from these men and women to what the candidates GOP has pandered to in the last two weeks.

But this is the party and the government Inhofe and his fellow travelers have in mind for the American people: open corruption, gutting of education programs, no corporate accountability and no recourse for the common citizen.

It is sad indeed knowing a United States senator, elected by a popular vote of the people, holds the electorate in such contempt as Inhofe’s endorsement of Perry suggests. It is sadder still that the electorate is willing to endure such abuse because they dislike gays, Mexicans, the elderly, the poor and disadvantaged more than they cherish their own integrity.

Inhofe’s also calls to mind the musings of Texan, David Allan Coe, Cheap Thrills, wherein he says:

They judge a boy by his friends,

And all mine are trash

Cheap Thrills indeed senator, Cheap Thrills indeed.

Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Martian Llama Racing Explained, is available at



Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.