BY ARNOLD HAMILTON
As I watched the dumbed-down dialogue, I often wondered, for example, what the Republican candidates seeking to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn would do, policy-wise, if elected.
In other words, what are they “for” – in a governing sense.
This we know: They hate Obama and his “liberal,” “socialist” agenda. They love Jesus. They hate federal spending [except when it benefits the special interests bankrolling their campaigns]. They love the Second Amendment.
And, oh, they really, really, really hate ObamaCare and will vote again, again and again to repeal it.
Call it Cynicism 101.
The candidates and their invisible “Dark Money” backers clearly are contemptuous of Oklahoma voters – dismissing them as so ignorant, so detached, so … so … dumb … that they will mistake banal sloganeering as a blueprint for governing.
A few thoughts on the nonsense we’ve heard:
– Former state House speaker and Senate candidate T.W. Shannon vows to “stand against the Washington status quo” – conveniently ignoring the fact he’s a creation of the Washington status quo.
His mentor [and former boss] is congressman-turned-Washington lobbyist J.C. Watts, who appears in campaign ads touting Shannon’s candidacy.
And Shannon’s campaign team includes six-term U.S. Rep. Tom Cole’s political braintrust. Cole, of course, is a key member [deputy whip] of the GOP House leadership and formerly headed the National Republican Congressional Committee – both about as status quo Washington as you can get.
– Dark Money groups financed ads against both Shannon and the Senate front-runner, U.S. Rep. James Lankford – but most of the outside spending came in the form of attack ads against Lankford.
Unhappy Lankford supporters can thank the U.S. Supreme Court for their candidate’s plight – ironic, since I’d bet most Lankfordites cheered the court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling that opened the Dark Money floodgates.
– Speaking of Dark Money, is it any wonder the Oklahoma County district attorney is reviewing allegations that Shannon’s campaign and Dark Money groups illegally coordinated their efforts?
You would have to be awfully naïve to believe there was no coordination between “independent” Super PACs operating in Oklahoma this year and the campaigns they supported.
The Dark Money ads this year are clear and convincing evidence of the dangers of big money in politics – made even worse because no one is quite certain who’s writing the big checks.
– Did outgoing state Sen. Cliff Branan fail the third grade reading test? He evidently thinks he’s bidding for a seat on the Cooperation Commission.
Branan actually is a candidate for Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry and utilities, among other things. But Branan’s TV ads proudly declare he would be a “champion of our energy industry” – a lapdog, rather than a watchdog.
He also touts that he’s anti-abortion and pro-gun rights – no doubt vital for GOP primary voters to know since the Corporation Commission regulates neither.
Can campaign advertising possibly be more opaque?
– Arnold Hamilton is editor of The Oklahoma Observer