Fallin picks Coffee, Nichols to head transition team; Dank issues warning

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My first reaction? Yuck.

Governor-elect Mary Fallin today announced the selection of the two co-chairs of her transition team, Devon Executive Chairman and former Oklahoma State Chamber Chairman Larry Nichols and Senator Glenn Coffee.

I was disappointed to see that both are from Oklahoma City, so talented Tulsans and other Oklahomans are likely to be overlooked for Fallin administration positions. More than that, I was disappointed not to see a Tom Coburn-style limited-government conservative as one of Fallin's picks.

Now, both are accomplished men, Coffee as a leader in the Oklahoma State Senate and Nichols in the oil and gas business, but the message I received from these appointments is that the Fallin administration is going to follow the wheeler-dealer Republican path, as I had feared.

Republican officials tend to divide into wheeler-dealers and square-dealers. Square-dealers are in earnest about reducing the size and scope of government, simplifying the tax code, and reducing red tape. What rules there are should be fair to all and equally applied. The market, not the government, should be picking winners and losers.

Wheeler-dealers pay only lip service to the professed Republican values of limited but effective government. For wheeler-dealers, big, complicated government is good, because it can be used to reward political supporters and to punish political adversaries. It's a modern version of the Jacksonian spoils system, but instead of rewarding their voters with government jobs, the victorious team rewards its campaign contributors with tax and regulatory changes to give them an advantage in the marketplace. In theory, the campaign dollars will continue to flow from these favored contributors and from those hoping for such favor, as they come to understand that you must pay to play.

Wheeler-Dealer Road leads to scandal, corruption, and ejection from office. That's the path that congressional Republicans went down in the mid 2000s (Enron, Jack Abramoff), and the path that former Oklahoma Speaker Lance Cargill and his consultant buddies started us down. The result: Congressional Republicans lost their credibility and their majority in 2006, and the free-market ideals that Republicans professed (but didn't practice) were discredited. But Oklahoma Republicans of the square-dealer variety rejected Cargill's leadership, corrected course, and continued to grow their majority, producing last Tuesday's breathtaking result.

Fortunately, the Oklahoma legislature has a number of stalwart square-dealers who will call their colleagues to account. One of them is State Rep. David Dank, who has a must-read op-ed in the Monday, November 8, 2010, Oklahoman. A few key points:

To deliver what we promised, we must take at least five clear actions.

First, our conduct must be above reproach. Oklahoma has experienced too many sordid scandals throughout its history. Voters are right to demand good character from their elected officials, and anyone who violates that trust should be shunned....

Finally, the new Republican super majority must be worthy custodians of the public's money. It's theirs, not ours, and we must be held accountable for how we spend it. Our model should be Oklahoma's outstanding Sen. Tom Coburn, and that should start with a careful examination of tax credits to assure that only those that actually create jobs are enacted or retained.

I was honored to receive a strong vote of support from my constituents in District 85 on Election Day. But I am also old enough to know that today's approval can become tomorrow's rejection for those who fail to keep their promises.

Republicans have a unique opportunity to remake our state -- but only if we honor that public trust we were handed last week.

MORE: Fallin names economic team: Bob Sullivan, David Rainbolt, Gary Sherrer.

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2 Comments

Roy said:

Certainly you did not figure Fallin might do differently?

While under no conceivable circumstances would I have voted for her opponent (whom I've properly already forgotten), neither could I vote for Fallin. I expected her to do just what she's doing. Possibly my 'no compromise' might have wavered had I thought the governor race close. But I'm trying to encourage people to stick to principle strongly enough to persuade the politicos that they will have to listen or they will not get their choices elected.

Bob said:

Fallin is exactly what I suspected:

A clueless, bottled-blond brain-dead RINO who raised her money from the GOP Wheeler-Dealers, and as such they are mapping out a plan to reap the spoils of her election victory.

Expect $100,000,000's in new state income tax credits awarded to the state ruling oligarchy for faking filling new jobs. Exactly as before.
Devon Energy Chmn. Larry Nichols is exactly the wrong person for this important job.  His leadership in the Oklahoma State Chamber means he's no friend of the working man.
Be sure that Nichols is no Reformer. He and his puppet-master Aubrey McClendon tried mightily to engineer the defeat fo GOP Reformist State Rep. Mike Reynolds of OKC.  They spent mightily on a RINO Republican opponent against Reformer Reynolds, but failed.

Four years of Fallin?  Expect the Worst.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 9, 2010 7:39 AM.

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