One of the great mysteries of my life will always be how a smart, well educated, seemingly dedicated to truth, honesty and, of course, democracy lawyer named Deatherage could possibly have gone off the political deep end so dramatically.
By that I mean she runs with the far right flakes who flagellate on Fox, the election deniers who dominate in red states, the billionaires who think everything and everybody has a for-sale price tag behind their names.
Well, Cleta damn sure did once she departed in shame and anger from her roots in Oklahoma way back in about 1986.
Her husband, banker Dale Mitchell, barely dodged prison time for behavior unbecoming – meaning felony convictions – and Cleta suffered an embarrassing loss in a race for lieutenant governor. After those two debacles they bailed out for Houston where she found work peddling term limit legislation on behalf of then U.S. Rep. Dick Armey.
After that idiotic idea tanked, it was off to Washington where evidently Potomac Fever boiled her brains to the point of no recovery because whenever a nutty idea has presented itself over the last 40 years, Deatherage has adopted it as her own.
Besides term limits, she has traveled the country claiming Trump won; has represented the National Rifle Association as it continues to claim that the unique American slaughter of one another by firearms really has nothing to do with firearms; that the fewer the number of people who vote is a good thing if they are minorities and the young; that being on the phone with Trump as he tried to bribe Georgia officials to find him just “11,672” votes was public service; that teaching precinct monitors to disrupt and disparage legally appointed election officials is a patriotic pastime; and finally, Cleta thinks such national Republican figures as Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham, Herschel Walker and even Arizona whack job Kari Lake can do no wrong.
Her recent – and probably most despicable performance – was in front of the Republican National Committee [RNC] where she advocated that no voting places be easily accessible on college campuses because as she admitted in her leaked remarks, the students are increasingly voting heavily Democratic.
That’s my gal who in 1976 beat an incumbent Republican lawmaker in Norman, OK primarily through the help of university students, professors, teachers and others who she now denigrates at every opportunity.
A sign behind my desk at the Capitol said, “In politics no good deed goes unpunished.” For Cleta Beth Deatherage, it has become not just a bad habit of saying it, but indeed living a lifestyle of no regrets and no regards for those who got her started in the first place.
And some people wonder why America has become what it has, politically speaking. Take no prisoners, return no favors, destroy the other party and above all live by the motto “Me First.”
At least Cleta has done one thing for me, and that is to set the example of what I don’t want to be like when I grow up.