Oklahoma Politics: January 2007 Archives

Coburn in GQ

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In the February issue of Gentleman's Quarterly there's a lengthy and generally positive profile of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, focusing on his campaign against wasteful spending.

This early paragraph in the piece illustrates the myopia of many in Washington:

But for many of Coburn’s colleagues, what is most surprising is not that he has become a thorn in the party’s side; it’s the issue with which he has made his mark. Back in 2004, when Coburn was first running for Senate, fiscal prudence wasn’t supposed to be his issue. In fact, the last thing anybody expected him to become was a voice of restraint in a body of excess. If anything, Coburn was the one known for his excesses, for making pronouncements so outrageous, so far from the mainstream, that at times he seemed like a cartoon of the fanatical right—declaring his own Senate race “the battle of good versus evil,” calling for “the death penalty for abortionists,” and suggesting that the country was under attack by a secret gay conspiracy that had “infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country.” Back in 2004, Tom Coburn was the last man anybody expected to rise above politics and try to lead us back to common sense.

Anybody, that is, except the voters of Oklahoma. Yes, his most enthusiastic supporters shared his concerns on social issues, but it was his determination to fight against waste and corruption that differentiated him from his nearest Republican rival, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys. Anyone who paid attention to his service in the U. S. House, anyone who bothered to read his no-punches-pulled book Breach of Trust would have known that his willingness to stand firm and, if necessary, alone, on fiscal issues are at the heart of why Oklahoma Republicans urged him to run and why he decided to get in the race.

The article covers his medical practice, growing up helping with his dad's business, his living arrangements in Washington, and this about the connection between his social positions and his fiscal stubborness:

Having entered the public spotlight for his social positions, far from the mainstream and widely condemned for his views on abortion and gay rights, he had long since adjusted to the outrage and indignation he aroused. If anything, his social views had bolstered him for the fiscal fight. In a world as upside down as Congress, where waste is the norm and prudence on the fringe, where a man fighting pork and fraud can be ostracized by his peers, maybe it takes someone who is comfortable with that, and has spent most of his adult life on the fringe already, to speak out in spite of the risks.

Go read the whole thing.

(Via Mike McCarville.)

Here is the latest news on precinct elections for the Tulsa County Republican Party, which are scheduled for tonight, from Tulsa County Republican Chairman Jerry Buchanan:

The bi-annual Republican Party Precinct Caucuses will still be held Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. in Tulsa County. However, some Precinct Chairmen of the 262 precincts in Tulsa County will have the opportunity to hold their bi-annual Caucus through next Tuesday, Jan. 23rd due to the road conditions from the weather.

Republicans should contact their Precinct Chairman or the Republican Headquarters for further information Tuesday from 1:00 until 4:00 for more information if they are unsure of the time and date of their Precinct Caucus.

Due to the many calls and email to the Republican Headquarters with concerns to icy conditions, Jerry Buchanan, Chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party, has asked Precinct Chairmen to evaluate the situation in their own Precincts and contact those in their Precincts if they wish to change their meeting dates and times.

The Republican Headquarters can be reached by phone at 627-5702 or email at chairman@tulsagop.org.

If you are a registered Republican voter in Oklahoma, you're entitled to participate in precinct elections. If you're a Republican who cares about the direction of the party, about its strategies and tactics, about its principles and positions, you need to participate in precinct elections.

Republican precinct elections occur three of every four years and are the first stage in a multiple-stage process for electing party leaders and establishing a party platform. Precinct officers are elected and resolutions are considered for inclusion in the party platform. The precinct also elects delegates to attend the county convention, although typically a precinct will vote to be an "open delegation," so that anyone who wishes may be a delegate to the county convention.

The next step in the process is a county convention. In odd-numbered years the county convention elects a chairman and vice-chairman, along with the county's two representatives on the state Republican committee (the governing body of the Oklahoma Republican Party), and the county's two representatives on the 1st Congressional District committee. The county convention also votes on a platform which deals with local, state, and national issues.

The final step in odd-numbered years is a state convention, at which a state chairman and vice-chairman are elected and a state party platform is approved.

(In presidential years, there is also a congressional district convention which elects delegates and alternates to the national convention, and the state convention elects the state's two representatives on the Republican National Committee and chooses at-large delegates and alternates.)

Precinct elections are usually held in the home of the precinct chairman. Typically they last an hour or so, and most of that time is spent considering resolutions for inclusion in the party platform. All resolutions approved by a precinct election are forwarded to the county convention's platform committee, which assembles the planks supplied by the precincts into a coherent platform.

I particularly want to emphasize the opportunity to influence the platform. It can be a tool for holding our elected Republican officials accountable, for expressing the collective opinion of the Republican grassroots. Historically, the local section of the platform has been rather brief as Republican activists have tended to focus on social, economic, and defense issues at the state and federal levels. If you feel we shouldn't raise taxes for river development, for example, this is a way to make that opinion heard.

To find out where your precinct election is being held, contact the Tulsa County Republican HQ at 627-5702.

Even if you can't attend a precinct election, you can still participate in the later stages of the process by signing up as a county delegate through the end of the week, by contacting your precinct chairman or Republican Party HQ at the above number. (This is assuming your precinct votes to send an open delegation to the county convention, which is almost always the case.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from January 2007.

Oklahoma Politics: November 2006 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: February 2007 is the next archive.

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