The Cliff Notes version for busy radio talk show hosts

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Sometime late Monday morning, a friend called to let me know about the first hour of Pat Campbell's show. I didn't hear it live -- I didn't turn on KFAQ until 7:45, in time to hear the interview with Chris Medlock -- but I listened later in the day. I understand I had an invitation to call in, and if I'd heard it when the show was live, I'd have done so.

As a writer, I take it to heart when it's apparent that I failed to communicate my meaning clearly. In trying to ensure that I cover all my bases and qualify my statements to be as precise as possible, it can happen that the core of my message gets lost in all my words. The blog entry at issue weighs in at more than 1800 words; if I'd had more time to edit, perhaps I could have been more concise.

So here are the highlights of my late Thursday night blog essay, in response to Pat Campbell's comments from Monday, and a few other notes.

1. There is a question mark at the end of the entry's title. This is a headline device often used over an opinion column to indicate that the statement preceding the question mark is being doubted or questioned in the column. When Pat quoted the title on the air, he made the title sound like a statement of fact rather than a question.

2. I supported Pat's point that political advertising on a radio station is not going to sway a talk show host.

3. I estimated how infrequently Pat has dealt with the mayoral election since the filing period, based on the descriptions on the podcast site. I supposed that this might be a cause for dissatisfaction for many listeners.

4. I assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that Dewey Bartlett Jr. hadn't been on the air since late June because Bartlett Jr. (or his handlers) refused to let him come back on. Pat said that Bartlett isn't ducking KFAQ, but he [Campbell] had been "blowing [Bartlett] off" because he had more important issues to cover last week.

I took a look at the hourly show summaries for last week from the The Pat Campbell Show podcast site. Plenty of important content there, but I could see a number of topics that could well have been deferred in favor of a very timely call-in session with the presumptive front-runner for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Tulsa, with the primary less than three weeks away. Perhaps a candidate in next year's governor's race can wait until we've got the city elections (in two weeks) out of the way.

I am happy to hear that Bartlett will be on the show this morning during the 8 o'clock hour. That hadn't been announced when I posted my blog entry late last Thursday evening. I didn't hear it mentioned on Friday either.

4. I didn't write that divorce should be an automatic disqualifier for a candidate. Here, in part, is what I wrote:

While it's true that divorce and remarriage have become very common in the Christian community, devoutly religious Oklahomans still take marriage vows seriously....

Even someone without a religious faith who has ethical standards will judge a divorced person's character based on the context of the divorce. Someone who dumps the mother of his children for a trophy wife will be judged far more harshly than someone who leaves a drug-addicted spouse who refuses to get help.

I have voted for, volunteered for, and endorsed divorced and remarried candidates, but the context and circumstances of the divorce matter to me and a lot of other voters.

Chris Medlock made the point, during his segment with Pat on Monday, that many voters care whether a candidate is the aggrieved party in a divorce or the aggrieving party. Two lawyers, a conservative Republican who specializes in family law and a liberal Democrat, himself divorced and remarried, took time to let me know they think I'm right about this: The context of a divorce can often tell you something about the character of a person.

I know many people who were divorced against their will, because their spouses wanted their "freedom." Others have divorced reluctantly because their spouses were a danger to them or their children. That's very different from the middle-aged man who says to himself, "Now that I've accumulated a degree of wealth, status, and power, I deserve something better than the old frump who bore my children, so I think I'll trade her in for a sportier model."

It does seem odd that a conservative radio talk show host would argue that as society changes our views of a topic like divorce should change with the times. What other marriage-related moral standards should conservatives abandon because the rest of society has abandoned them?

5. Bartlett Jr's divorce is not the "only thing [I've] got on him," much less the most important thing. In the admittedly long-winded entry in question, I brought up Bartlett Jr's endorsement of Taylor, despite her support for Michael Bloomberg's gun-grabbing mayors' coalition and for local implementation of the Kyoto Treaty. I brought up Bartlett Jr's support for the Great Plains payoff, which ripped off Tulsa taxpayers for the sake of keeping the local big shots who put this rotten deal together out of hot water. I could also have raised his support for making the City Council less representative by replacing three districts with three at-large councilors. Many of Bartlett Jr's political positions over the last few years have been in support of keeping the same incompetent bunch of people in power in this city. I can't think of a single-time in recent years that he has spoken in opposition to unnecessary big-ticket projects or tax increases.

6. KFAQ has played an important role in helping Tulsa voters understand how power works in Tulsa and how to reform the system so that it works for all Tulsans, not just a favored few. I've been involved in local politics continually since 1997 and, before that, off and on since 1988. KFAQ brought issues to the fore that the local powerbrokers would just have soon kept quiet, and it challenged the stream of misinformation coming from the establishment's PR machine. It made networking possible between people with different but related causes and concerns, helping us to build coalitions for reform that would never have happened otherwise.

7. This is an important election. As someone who grew up in this city, I want to have a mayor who applies conservative principles to city government. At the very least, I want the Republican nominee to espouse conservative ideals, even if he falls short in the general election.

Can Bartlett win against Adelson? In the 2004 State Senate 33 race, Bartlett had the best coattails a Republican could hope for. Bush won by 8 percentage points in the district, but Bartlett fell short by 3 percentage points.

8. We didn't lose in 2006 because conservatives criticized Bill LaFortune. We lost because LaFortune turned his back on the conservatives who backed him, and he didn't correct his course and reach out to the grassroots until the final week of the general election campaign. If Republicans don't thoroughly vet our nominee, the Democrats will do it for us after it's too late to make another selection. (Remember Chad Stites?)

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David Van Author Profile Page said:

Exactly what needs to be said!

A well-written manifesto on this mayoral election!

Bob said:

In Monday's show, besides Pat Campbell's lengthy response to Michael's 1,800 word blog questioning whether he was "In In the Bag for Dewey Bartlett?", Pat even challenged my COMMENT supportive of Michael's blog.

I had been very laudatory of Michael's analysis, and agreed that Pat Campbell appeared to be "in the bag" for Dewey, Jr.

I also endorse 100% Michael's "Cliff Notes" blog entry today:

Dewey, Jr. has been on the wrong side of critical local public policy issues for YEARS.

RINO Dewey, Jr. endorsed Democrat Mayor Taylor: TWICE.

He is also a supporter of the odious "Tulsans for Better Government" that wants to inject three At-Large City Councilors, replacing three of the nine existing council district positions. This action would require these three city council candidates to run expensive City-wide races, races that the local ruling moneyed establishment can easily control via their mega-bucks.

And, finally, he gleefully voted to fork over $7.1 million in city taxpayer money to Bank of Kaiser, Mayor Taylor's former employer, chortling all the while on TAIT's T-Gov broadcast..........

Regarding Dewey, Jr.'s divorce: I know nothing about it, nor should I really.

I was, however, amazed to learn that the happy, smiling family picture in his direct mail pictures his children and their Step-Mother, the trophy wife.

That is pretty brazen.

I like this post, mostly because the title is sooooo good. Nice, but delicately helps the "busy talk show" host. It's not a slap in the face, but a thumb on the forehead. At least, in my interpretation.

Too clever.

XonOFF said:

Something tells me PC is about to get his Tulsa Politics Merit Badge.

Once people realize what's really going on around here, it's like that.

Brooksider Author Profile Page said:

I agree with the post, except for the end. Number 8. Bill LaFortune lost because he appeared almost incoherent against Taylor. She was decisive, positive, and energetic. BF was not. He was outmatched. For the crowd that wants the City run like a business, she was clearly their man.

I agree with Medlock that Taylor has focused incorrectly on downtown development. Most of Tulsa is more concerned with the traffic problems at 71st & Memorial & crime at 21st & Garnett than anything going on downtown. I have long felt City government would perform better if City Hall were located at 41st & Yale.

And on a different topic (sorry), is anyone ever, ever going to help west Tulsa?

John Coman said:

Michael Bates is a great asset to the city. Thanks for the updated Cliff Notes version. It all makes sense now.

NathanS said:

I sort of disagree with #8 but I disagree with John R's shill for Taylor as well regarding #8. Medlock succeeded in getting Bill LaFortune to humble himself and appear on the Michael DelGiorno show late in his general election. Chris did this after Lafortune and Randi Miller used every dirty political trick in the book to make sure that LaFortune won the general election in a three way(The now infamous Richard Roberts helped out with that too by switching his endorsement from Medlock to Miller).
After doing this, and getting a reluctant endorsement over Taylor from Michael DelGiorno, the arrogant Bill LaFortune suspended then Police chief Bean in a desperate attempt to show what little influence he still possessed. This resulted in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) switching its official endorsement from LaFortune to Taylor, because Taylor promised to reinstate Bean as her first order of business. Taylor was lying, of course. As soon as she got elected, she was on a search for a "minority" to replace Bean.
LaFortune's loss was well within the margin of votes controlled by the FOP when you consider the family members and associates they have that vote the police line. Taylor did not win by being more articulate, she won because Bill Lafortune was foolish.
I personally get very irked when I hear political hacks saying someone they agree with is "well spoken" or "articulate" as if an articulate sociopath is more desirable in office than an honest man with a slower tongue. I do not share that view or respect those who advance it.

Brooksider Author Profile Page said:

I apologize for seeming to shill for Taylor. I work for the woman, and believe me, I'm not happy about it. But I worked for Bill LaFortune too, and wasn't happy about that either. For full disclosure, I also worked for Susan Savage, and really did enjoy that. She was an excellent administrator, regardless of her politics.

Taylor's apparent articulation was only in comparison to LaFortune's. She is obviously more comfortable in a command position, and in that same way she misinterprets her role as mayor.

My point, as I keep trying to clarify, is that being mayor is a difficult job. Maybe Medlock is right and we need a city manager. Saying so won't get it done. How would he proceed to sell such an idea. How will be be better than this or a different mayor?

I am sure this administration had enough information to make better decisions, but did not. The revelations about the cost of OTC are only new to the public. City employees anticipated this from the beginning.

On the election issue with FOP: The FOP is just one of several unions and many special interest groups vying for influence. Dealing with those interests is part of the mayor's job. It isn't a valid complaint to say this or that group turned against an official. Of course they do, as would any group if it were to their advantage.

I was told by a reliable source that Bill LaFortune was shocked to learn he could not replace department heads at will. Whether that is a good idea or not is not relevant. Anyone running for mayor should know those things. Maybe there should be a civics test for candidates.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 25, 2009 12:36 AM.

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