To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Observercast

Losing One’s Soul

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Only Cleta Deatherage Mitchell groupies should attempt to read the attached and very long screed about the life, lies and now lunacy of the former liberal lawmaker from Norman, OK.

I knew Cleta very, very well for six of her eight years in the Oklahoma Legislature as we represented adjoining house districts in primarily Norman, the University of Oklahoma college town. Either she has had the first ever successful brain transplant, having received whatever gray matter remained when former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms passed from this earth or, and much more likely, she is simply doing what Watergate’s Deep Throat fervently urged The Washington Post’s reporters to do: Follow the money.

You see, Cleta is smart, quick on her feet, coldly convincing and conniving to her inner core. And, politically speaking, very flexible.

The ragtag, motley crew of liberals, environmentalists, do-gooders and college crowd that formerly made up her voting base in Socialist Norman is not exactly the bunch that can breech the ramparts of mostly conservative, poorly educated, often proudly racist, homophobic and ignorant greater Oklahoma, evidence of which was convincingly displayed when Cleta Beth got clobbered in her run for Light Governor in 1986. By the way, I strongly supported her.

But factually and without question in my simple, small town Okie pol mind, Deatherage went from flaming liberal to arch conservative, very right wing demagogue when love of her life – banker, backslapper and eventually bankrupt wheeler and dealer Husband #2 – was convicted of more than bad behavior while being in charge of other people’s money.

Love can be spellbinding [I know, I’ve been married three times] but for her to profess that hubby Dale was/is “the most honest person I’ve ever known” means either she has met a lot fewer people than I thought or indeed love is both exhilarating and blinding.

I saw her transition up close and personal immediately following Mr. Mitchell’s many convictions for bank fraud around 1986, the year she was rejected by voters in her one and only campaign for statewide office. Their smiles soon disappeared and they did as well – to greener, much greener, pastures populated by other corner-cutters who know the “cost of everything and the value of nothing.”

Yes, I stole that quote from the now-departed scribe Frosty Troy but, you know, as a career politician, I learned early on that one needs to be flexible, amenable, agreeable or very disagreeable; whatever fits the situation, whatever the cost.

After all, in politics winning is everything or, even better said, winning is the only thing, apparently even if you have to beg an honest Georgia election official to violate his oath of office and “find me just 11,780 votes.”

Which reminds me, what’s that line about “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” Yep, political power especially can be very addictive, even to a once starry eyed, little do-gooder from backwater Norman, OK.

And it can be very expensive, even costing some their souls.

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.