Hitchhike on outta here

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Urban Tulsa Weekly gave its cover story spot this week to Oklahoma Observer publisher Arnold Hamilton. It's called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Republican Galaxy," but it's all about how poor lefties like radical pro-abortion, anti-religion activist Barbara Santee and homeschool hater Jim Wilson will survive Republican domination of the Sooner State.

Hamilton notes the transformation that has taken place over our state's first 103 years:

Less than a century ago, Oklahoma was known as a hotbed of the populist-progressive movement, embracing politics so radical, so anti-corporate, so anti-establishment, so pro-little guy that it's almost incomprehensible when compared to 2011.

What Oklahomans have figured out, although it took a while, was that progressivism doesn't work. A progressive constitution of the sort Oklahoma was born with is the governmental equivalent of designing a plane without due respect for the laws of gravity and aerodynamics. It's the political version of the old hobo anthem, "The Big Rock Candy Mountain." Oklahoma's progressivism has held us back, as our neighbor to the south as zoomed ahead as one of the most prosperous and fastest growing states in the union

Hamilton seems to forget that the progressivism for which he waxes nostalgic was thoroughly racist. The same solons who framed our "progressive" constitution took up Jim Crow laws as their first legislative priority.

Hamilton says that Oklahoma is now "reliably red, corporatist Republican," but I think he's mistaken to use the adjective corporatist. Oklahoma Republicans are mainly populists, at least at the grass roots level. Corporatists will always flock to and seek to influence the dominant party, whichever it may be, and the newly elected Republicans will have to resist pie-in-the-sky promises of economic development for special tax credits and subsidies held out by their fair-weather friends in the corporate welfare world.

The coping strategies suggested by the lefties that Hamilton interviewed include ignoring local news, watching liberal TV fantasies ("The West Wing") like some lovelorn spinster reading Harlequin paperbacks, drinking heavily, and leaving the state.

State Sen. Jim Wilson says he may retire to Vermont, after drowning his sorrows in tequila (worm included). That's a fine idea, and I hope many of his left-wing compatriots follow his suggestion. If you'd rather not live in a state committed to the free-market principles and traditional mores that made America great, there are plenty of other options out there.

As Tommy Duncan sang, "If you don't like your bunk, pack up your junk."

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2 Comments

mark said:

Michael, you say --

“Hamilton says that Oklahoma is now ‘reliably red, corporatist Republican,’ but I think he's mistaken to use the adjective corporatist. Oklahoma Republicans are mainly populists, at least at the grass roots level. Corporatists will always flock to and seek to influence the dominant party, whichever it may be, and the newly elected Republicans will have to resist pie-in-the-sky promises of economic development for special tax credits and subsidies held out by their fair-weather friends in the corporate welfare world.”

I think you and Hamilton are both correct. Oklahoma’s grass roots are indeed populist; but the elected leadership of both major parties tends toward corporatism. So when Hamilton says that Oklahoma is now “reliably red, corporatist Republican”, I think he means that corporate interests can “rely” on top government officials with a sympathetic ear and an open State checkbook. And who can argue with that observation? Gov. Fallin revealed her corporatist allegiance long before she was elected governor . . . and she has not disappointed her sponsors.

I do, however, have to take slight issue with your opinion that “Oklahoma's progressivism has held us back.” I’ve always felt that progressivism died in mid-century at the hands of the Democrats, so I’m inclined to view any contemporary regional “losses” to be attributable to other factors. But even if the progressivism of the State’s first decade or two were to blame for some competitive losses to less progressive states, that is nothing to be ashamed of since one of the dominant strains of thought in that movement was the Gospel of Jesus. I think most Believers would sacrifice a little economic efficiency for a little more systemic morality.

On that point, I’d again recommend Jim Bissett’s book, "Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside 1904-1920" – the 2000 winner of the Oklahoma Historical Society’s award for “Best Book on Oklahoma History”.

Some of our friends on the left don't seem to be coping well. Over at Arnold's website, one of his writers suggests that some Oklahoma legislators probably "should die and go straight to hell."
http://www.okobserver.net/2011/03/01/goodbye-ms-chips/

Where's Rob Bell when you need him?!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 1, 2011 12:43 AM.

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