To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, September 26, 2021


Quid Pro Quo



RichardFricker-2Is Tulsa’s City Hall the new Tea Party clubhouse? Is 1st District U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine in more trouble than the Tulsa GOP cares to admit?

The freshman congressman recently polled an approval rating rivaling the presidents by only two points. The Nov. 1-5 poll conducted by SoonerPoll showed an approval of 44%. A Washington Post poll gave the president an approval rating of 42%.

Neither percentage is good news for an incumbent. The difference being the president isn’t running for re-election.

If Bridenstine is in trouble, as the numbers indicate, help may be on the way. Because, for newly re-elected Mayor Dewey Bartlett, it is Tea Party payback time.

Bridenstine openly campaigned for Bartlett, his fellow Republican. The freshman leaped in front of cameras, crooned to microphones and even enlisted robo calls for his embattled comrade.

The crème de la crème came when he hosted a Tea Party flash mob Oct. 24 at the Tulsa Press Club, starring failed presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. There were no speeches, only photo ops.

The entire event was over in less than an hour. Bartlett proclaimed himself a Republican, as if voters had forgotten, adding, “It’s not a Tea Party election, but it helps.”

Now it’s Bartlett’s turn. And the Mayor seems eager to deliver.

The mayor’s office has announced a fundraiser for Bridenstine on Nov. 26 at the mayor’s home. The Tea Party’s special guest for the event will be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, architect of the recent government shutdown which laid off tens of thousands of American workers.

Bridenstine’s vote with Cantor creating the shutdown may be why the Tea Party wants an early kickoff to his re-election campaign. The same poll that put the congressman’s approval rating in bed with the president also showed 54% of the voters disapproved of his vote for the shutdown.

Bridenstine’s term thus far has been, in the kindest terms, lackluster. Other than being a Tea Party bobblehead – shouting “Obama’s fault” at every cue – he is not noted for accomplishing much.

As many of America’s poor, disenfranchised, disabled, veterans and other assorted members of the country’s lost wonder where Thanksgiving dinner will come from with food stamps curtailed, they can take comfort knowing there are those who want Bridenstine to return to Washington and his Tea Party mission.

And they are willing to pay $500-$5,000 per pop at the Republican mayor’s home to get the job done.

Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, The Last Day of the War, is available at or at


Previous articleCalm In The Healthcare Storm
Next articleWho Knows Best
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.