Vision2: A distraction from bigger issues

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I was out of town, but last Friday, the Tulsa Republican Club had as its speaker a proponent of the Vision2 corporate welfare and pork barrel tax package. At its October meeting, the Tulsa Republican Club will hear from an opponent of the Vision2 package.

A glance through my email inbox shows that this focus on Vision2 is true of all the other Republican clubs as well.

What's wrong with this picture?

Here we are, just a month and a half away from the most consequential federal election since 1980 -- perhaps the most consequential in our lives -- and Tulsa Republican organizations are focused on a local tax package which is opposed by the Tulsa County Republican Party but supported and promoted by the two Republican county commissioners.

With no statewide races and no suspense over who will be Oklahoma's seven presidential electors, Tulsa County's Republicans could be united in working to reclaim the White House and the U. S. Senate and holding on to the U. S. House. And there are some state legislative seats that the GOP needs to defend and some that the GOP could pickup. Here in Tulsa County, House District 71 has had a Democrat representative for only two years of its 48 years of existence, and yet in April, the special election for the seat came down to a single vote and a couple of ballots stuck in a machine.

Imagine Vision2 were not on the ballot. Tulsa County Republican clubs might be teaching Republican activists what they can do, on the phone or in person, to help Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in swing states or to help Republicans in marginal U. S. House and U. S. Senate seats. Tulsa County Republican clubs might be mobilizing their members to defend the 1st District seat (vulnerable because of the incumbent's defeat in the primary), to gain the 2nd District seat (a tall hill to climb), to help Katie Henke win House 71, and to target open seats and vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Instead, because two Republican Tulsa County Commissioners voted to put a secretly developed, poorly considered, hastily assembled, and divisive tax on the ballot, four years before the current tax expires, Vision2 is starving national and state races of attention and resources. Conservative Republicans in Tulsa County -- the people that got the two commissioners into office in the first place -- have to shift their focus to defeating this lemon of a county tax package rather than helping GOP victory at the national level.

Thanks, John and Fred. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid couldn't have planned a better diversion.

RELATED: Pollster Scott Rasmussen points to the government's role in the economy as the heart of the chasm between the Republican establishment and the grassroots (emphasis added):

Both Romney [with the "47%" quote] and Obama [with his "bitterly clinging to guns and religion" quote] highlighted the condescending attitude that political elites hold of the people they want to rule over. A National Journal survey found that 59 percent of political insiders don't think voters know enough to have meaningful opinions on the important issues of the day. That's a handy rationalization for those who want to ignore the voters and impose their own agenda.

In the nation's capital, this gap creates bigger problems for Republicans than Democrats. Democratic voters tend to think that their representatives in Congress do a decent job representing them. That's because Democrats are a bit more comfortable with the idea of government playing a leading role in American society. However, 63 percent of Republican voters believe their representatives in Washington are out of touch with the party base.

Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats' view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.

Republican voters reject this view. They are more interested in promoting free market competition rather than handing out favors to big business. They detest corporate welfare and government bailouts, even though their party leaders support them.

The GOP base sees government as a burden that weighs the private sector down rather than a tool that can generate growth if used properly. Ninety-six percent of Republican voters believe that the best thing the government can do to help the economy is to cut spending and free up more money for the private sector.

Mr. Rasmussen, those establishment Republicans aren't just in Washington. You can find them at chambers of commerce, state legislatures, city halls, and county courthouses, too.

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2 Comments

Bob said:

Excellent commentary as is your usual, Michael.

Locally, the political leadership runs for elective office as Democrat or Republican.

However, the real party they hold fealty to is the local MONEY Party: The ruling Aristocrat Families that have controlled the City of Tulsa forever, and have no allegiance to anything except themselves and to grow their already enormous wealth.

Let's take a short trip down memory lane, shall we:

RINO Republican Mayor Jim Inhofe on the THIRD attempt gets the Little Bitty Third Penny Sales tax passed in 1980. This "temporary" tax has been around now for 32 years, and has picked Tulsans pockets for over $1 billion.

Democrat Mayor Susan Savage tries mightily and fails to pass "The Tulsa Project" in 1997, and "It's Tulsa Time" in 2000. Both involved "temporary" sales taxes, and construction of a downtown arena.

Her moral authority exhausted, Susan Savage chooses not to run for re-election after TEN years in office.

In 2003, her successor RINO Republican Bill LaFortune, a faux reformer, with the help of County Commissioner Dirty Bob Dick, helps get Vision 2025 passed on the mantra of "It's About Jobs". He goes down to defeat at the end of his single term in office, and Dirty Bob retires to his regular foursome at the Oaks Country Club.

Democrat Successor Mayor Kathy Taylor enlists the aid of Republican County Commissioner Miller to promote the "Kaiser River Sales Tax", which despites enormous expenditures to promote this new tax, goes down to a resounding defeat. Mayor Taylor also saddles us with 30 year bad deals on the new OTC Palace, and the ONEOK Ball Park. Her popularity exhausted, Mayor Taylor choses not to run for re-election.

Her successor Republican Dewey Jr. now takes up the mantle of tax-and-spend RINO's everywhere with the promotion of Vision2. He is the chief cheerleader and slop job attendant for this early renewal of a 13 year "temporary" tax which will push the tax to 2029, concurrent with the contemporaneous colonization of Mars.

Along with bone-headed cram-down bad deals from his TMUA on chloramine in to poison our drinking water and leach our household plumbing, and his TARE board 1x per week trash pick-up at 2X the price, and financing $17 million in Toters, Dewey, Jr. will I predict join the growing line of one-term Mayors, despite enormous likely financial support from King Kaiser and his cronies.

Michael, the history of Tulsa leadership is not really about the GOP or the Democrats, it is maintaining the status quo for the ruling elite, and exploiting Tulsa's poor and oppressed middle class through ever increasing taxation.

Bob said:

Michael:

In re-reading your excellent commentary on the divisive Vision2, I recalled that the same general election strategy was followed by the Vote Yes forces back in 2000 for "It's Tulsa's Time" sales tax ploy.

It was a general election. In fact, it was an open Presidential election between Gov. George W. Bush and VP Al Gore. It was expected to be a close election, and we were not disappointed, as Florida's close election made it a prolonged nail-biter.

The Vote Yes forces had recovered from their lopsided defeat in the 1997 "The Tulsa Project", which was held as a solo Special Election.

Just as they are doing in Vision 2, they chose to crowd into a close Presidential Election contest.

And, unlike their 1997 sales tax gambit, there was NO PUBLIC political opposition from elected officials. The various city Mayors and county elected officials were 100% vocally supportive of the tax, or else cowed into silence.

Our current elected officials got so indoctrinated in a field trip to hear Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett tell them how important it is for the elected officials to stay unified in support of a sales tax initiative like Oklahoma City's MAPS I, II, III.

While a couple of our city councilors have been sniping at the Vision2, NONE is publically opposed.

However, on the Friday before the 2000 sales tax election, Congressman Steve Largent appeared on an influential local talk radio program: The John Erling Morning Show, "Erling in the Morning".

Largent spoke persuasively and at length AGAINST the "It's Tulsa's Time" tax. That one elected official, held in high regard by his congressional district, by his public comments alone probably helped tip voters against the tax.

It failed narrowly by 52-48%.

The closeness of the election heartened the sales tax promoters, and three years later they were back with a revised package and "reform" Mayor Bill Misfortune, and city employee Karen Keith to make the sales tax pitch.

As a reward for his efforts, 3 years later Mayor Misfortune had 60% of the GOP voters cast their votes for ANYONE but him in the subsequent primary election. He "won" the primary with a paltry 40%, and went on to defeat against Kathy Taylor. Karen Keith reward's was a $105K year per job as a Tulsa County Commissioner.

I'm happy to report that for the first time in eons of time, I will be voting for a Democrat against a RINO:

Ms. Julie Hall, is the Democrat candidate for the District 39 State Senate Seat. She bravely helped lead the "Who Owns Tulsa?" opposition to construction in her White City neighborhood of Queen Ruth Kaiser's group home at 10 North Yale.

Ms. Hall's opponent is none other than RINO Republican Brian Crain, the Tulsa World's annointed attack dog, who publically attacked County GOP Chairman J.B. Alexander and the censure vote, after the County GOP censure vote against Tulsa County Commissioners Smaligo and Perry.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 24, 2012 12:08 AM.

Tulsa Christmas Parade clears up any confusion was the previous entry in this blog.

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