To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Observercast

It’s Easy To Be Fearless When There’s Nothing To Fear

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Lots of smart, patriotic and courageous citizens continue to post a rather obvious question. It goes something like this: “Why can’t Sens. Inhofe and Lankford, and so far 42 others, not see what is so clear and distinct to the rest of us? It was Trump’s endless huge lie for nearly a year that triggered the riot. That the only way he could lose would be if the election was rigged, thus stolen from him and by extension his supporters.”

Something along that line.

The reason is related to my headline above. The elephant incumbents, and Democrats as well, know the election process is so tilted toward them it is almost impossible for them to lose, thus they have nothing to fear.

So let’s take a look at some of those “tilts.”

  1. $$$$$$$ and lots of it. After the Citizens United ruling in 2010, which strangely said corporations are people, even more cash became available, almost 90% of which goes to incumbents. An example of this situation was 2020 when Inhofe’s general election opponent, Abby Broyles, raised more than $1 million from 6,000 small donors but was swamped by massive contributions to the defense industry’s favorite lapdog.
  2. If reportable donations are destructive to democracy try a dose of dark dollars … actually not a dose; how about a deluge. Take the now-deceased Sheldon Adelson or the still breathing Charles Koch. No, you take them. Their view of our form of government as just another commodity – to be bought and sold like coal – seems so boorish, so corrupt, so ruinous that it would not be tolerated. However, the Supremes legalized it, 5-4, the one percenters have funded it and why not? During the pandemic period of March-December last year their wealth grew by over $1 trillion while the bottom 80% of Americans saw their income reduced.
  3. Incumbents have huge, taxpayer-funded staffs, offices and other perks that challengers must somehow compete with. So, unless one is independently wealthy, the jig is up before the game begins.
  4. Free public service announcements such as, “If anything good has happened to you this year I did it. Now send me a contribution.”
  5. Seniority is designed to help us, they say. In fact, it does more for the incumbent’s bottom line – salary is $174,000 plus expense accounts and the best health care anywhere.

In summary, these advantages, plus voter apathy, gullibility and often just plain ignorance, give incumbents the confidence that regardless of the their behavior, they will not lose the next election or any that follow. Why else would 15 sitting Republican senators not attend all or some of yesterday’s testimony and, of course, this group includes our two toadies, Inhofe and Lankford. However, you can bet they’ll be in their seats in a matter of hours to vote “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” concerning the culpability of former President Donald John Trump for the riot in the capitol Jan. 6.

How crass. How arrogant. How disgusting. How awful and, of course, how often displayed. Why would we expect better now when we haven’t before? Just the opposite. Instead of punishing bad behavior we reward it, encourage it, praise it and re-elect those who deliver it, at least a majority of Okies do who still bother to vote.

Makes me dream of seeing at least mediocrity in DC. I’ve long given up on excellence.

And Speaker Carl Albert down there in Bug Tussle? Quit spinning in your grave. I can’t get any sleep up here in Lexington.

Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson
Cal Hobson, a Lexington Democrat, served in the Oklahoma Legislature from 1978-2006, including one term as Senate President Pro Tempore.