To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, July 14, 2024


Rookie Mistakes



RichardFricker-2It’s hard to describe the warm glow that emerges when a freshman Congressman slits his own political throat before his first session is a month old.

Thus it is with Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Tulsa. He has shown Tea Party and evangelical ideology is more important than his fellow citizens.

Quick repeat: President Obama has never won a county in Oklahoma. All state offices and the Legislature are in Republican-Tea Bag hands. So maybe Bridenstine is representing his peeps?

The first thing this SOS [Sooner of the Soil … not to be confused with that chipped beef on toast delicacy that has powered the U.S. Navy for generations] did was to vote to hold humanitarian aid to Sandy victims hostage. He was among a handful of TB folk that stood up to show they didn’t really care about their fellow Americans when it conflicted with his TB ideology.

Bridenstine did this in opposition to the senior member of his delegation, Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Tom Cole. Cole, far from a friend of liberal causes, recognizes humanitarian aid when he sees it. And Cole knows he may well have to go to the same trough come tornado season, which seems to have arrived early last week [and again Sunday night in Hattiesburg, MS].

Bridenstine followed his display of callousness by voting against the re-election of House Speaker John Boehner. This not a particularly bright move when it seems clear the speaker will get re-elected. But it did follow TB ideology. And it may well be that his constituency will have to pay the price should the SOS need a favor for his district during this congress.

In an effort to compound his TB exuberance, Bridenstine made a quick jaunt home to tell voters of his unfailing adherence to his ideology. He told local groups that even if his home district were ravaged by tornados he would vote against aid if the federal government were unable to purchase the aid with give-backs in the budget.

Bridenstine didn’t stop there – no, he went on to tell Town Hall folk that much of the current budget problems were the fault of – guess who? – Speaker Boehner! Yet another swift move from a low-ranking freshman congressman with more ideology than political common sense.

He told the assembled the speaker was the “one person” that could bring the administration to heel. “If he would stand up from the speaker’s chair … I think we would see a shift in this country,” Bridenstine said.

The lesson here is simple: what sounds good on the campaign stump seldom makes for good politics on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Bridenstine seems immune to this lesson; unfortunately his district will pay the price for his learning curve.

The question now is: Does Rep. Bridenstine represent the people of his district or is his mission to impose an unworkable ideology on everyone whether they like it or not.

This is the problem with the Tea Bag and evangelical agenda – it makes no allowance for the human aspect of governance. It is as if these people were born outside the human, rational, life or social experience. It would seem that to leave your fellow citizens to suffer for your ideology and to alienate those who could help you most is not only inhumane and undemocratic, it’s just plain stupid.

It is doubtful many of those who voted for Bridenstine thought he, once elected, would in effect tell them that it didn’t matter what disasters the evangelical god wrought upon them, he would only vote to help rebuild their homes, business and schools if the ransom were paid.

There is a possibility Bridenstine could make an act of political contrition by supporting something such as immigration reform. Don’t hold your breath, but do check your homeowner’s policy.

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



  1. Having a gun is the american right, how you want to protect your family is your bussiness. I beleave that not only do we use guns for protection we use them to get food.Guns have been with us from the very beginning look at your ancestors where would they be with out guns? Just because some are not useing them the way they are intended does not mean everyone should be penalized. Perhaps we should also remove vehicles since there are so many accidents on the roads. There are so many other things that should be regulated/banned that guns are least of our worries.Maybe we should look in to drugs, child pornograph,and slavery. These people need to get their priorities straight afer all thousands of ancestors can not be wrong.

  2. Out of everything I’ve just read you are intitled to your opinion, it’s clear that what youv’e wrote is how you feel and probly you alone feel that way. I hope things change in the near future for you for the better.

    • Latisha,

      The connection is that Bridenstine voted against Federal Disaster Relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. At the same time Oklahomans received disaster relief many times over the last few years for tornado and drought relief. Apparently Bridenstine is so obsessed with “In God We Trust” that he has forgotten about “E Pluribus Unum”.

      He has stated he will resist any attempt and controlling access to the new military combat weapons and ammunition now being made available to the public and along with our senators resists any effort to track who has them. If you are not familiar with the weapons you might go to youtube and look for the Barrett 50 caliber and the 5.56 tracer rounds and penetrator. These rounds make current police soft body armor useless.

      Worst is that Bridenstine has not been honest with us. On his website he either missed or didn’t understand page 12, lines 3 — page 13 lines 24 of the Safe Communities Schools Bill S649 . He posted you can face five years if you:
      • Let a friend borrow a rifle for a hunting trip and you are not present
      • Borrow a friend’s gun to try on the firing range and he is not present

      Those actions are specifically exempted by this bill.

      At the same time our DC legislators are supporting the NRA.

      In case you think the NRA is out for our interests you should know that he NRA’s badly written and proofed $1,000,000 Safe Schools Shield Report can cost Oklahoma $92,000,000.00 for personnel only. It does not include their suggestions for upgrading and / or razing our current schools and brining them to medium security standards. The last 8 pages of this report is ALEC style sample legislation recognizing the NRA as the school security certifying agency of the US and handling our COPS funding,

      Rex Berry

  3. We agree with Michelle Mardis on with she had to say , but we would also like to add .
    We believe that it should be our choice and our rights should not be taken away. We have the right to defend our family’s . We shouldn’t be penalized for the ones abusing the right to bare arms .Even if the guns were banned people would still find a way to get them look back at the proabiton and drug laws.

  4. We have a right to bear arms to keep our family safe. I don’t think you really need to write things if you don’t really know your stuff. We voted the people in office. The congress always say what we want to hear to get in office. Mr. Bridenstine got in office. Because of what he said and got people votes.

  5. Honestly, I think the freshman congressman’s mission is to impose an unworkable ideology on everyone wether they like it or not. Yes, there are a lot of problems in todays society and there will be more problems in the continuing, but the word of one man is not gonna change anything and with the downhill slope the congress has been on for the last eleven going on twelve years and getting worse with “Nobama Care.” My opinion is that we are not truly gonna see a relaxing sunrise any time soon.

  6. I find this thread hilarious…and sad. I do not understand why the “write to bear arms” (haha) was brought into the response to this article at all. I think the article contains interesting insight to this specific political situation, a rookie congressman. I feel like any intelligent, reasonable thoughts must have been deleted from the thread for humor’s sake; I almost hope this is the case. Oh, Oklahoma…

  7. I think there should be certain rules in place for those owning guns. Proper training and registration should absolutely be necessary, but completely disarming the appropriatly trained American is unrighteous. In a sense, it’s the same as taking away one’s freedom.

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.