Oklahoma Election 2012: March 2012 Archives

An unknown, untraceable organization called "Protecting Oklahoma Values" has sent three postcards to voters in support of Oklahoma House District 71 Democrat candidate Dan Arthrell and attacking Republican nominee Katie Henke. The District 71 seat is the ballot next Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Dan Sullivan.

Apparently unable to find anything negative about Henke personally or poiltically, the shadowy group behind the postcards seek to label the female candidate in the race as the anti-woman candidate by linking her to what is described as a "disgusting pattern of behavior towards women" by "the right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol."

The postcards supporting Arthrell make a series of claims, most of which are accompanied by footnotes with long URLs, which add credibility, but which are too long to tempt a voter to type them in order to compare assertions to reality.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "tried to cut funding to a Tulsa County program that provides nutrition for women and their children."

FACT: No source material was identified to back up this assertion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed a law saying that birth is not a qualifying event for health coverage."

FACT: The item linked in the footnote is an emergency rule issued by the Insurance Department, not a law passed by the legislature. The rule deals only with "child-only" medical insurance policies and an adjustment in language to encourage more insurance companies to participate in the next open enrollment period and to write child-only medical policies in Oklahoma:

The lack of participation by insurers in the 2011 open enrollment period necessitates change to the rule in an effort to encourage insurers to participate in the 2012 open enrollment periods. During an open enrollment period, children under the age of nineteen (19) shall be offered coverage on a guaranteed issue basis, without any limitations or riders based on health status.

So the Republican Insurance Commissioner was trying to encourage more options for all children to have medical coverage.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed laws that may restrict women's access to infertility treatments and are forcing women to have invasive ultra sounds."

FACT: The first half of the statement refers to a claim by an infertility doctor that personhood legislation would hurt his business. One personhood bill, SB 1433, passed the Senate and is pending in the House. The other, HJR1067, which would put a constitutional amendment before the voters, appears to be dead for this session.

The second half of the statement refers to the 2010 law requiring that an ultrasound showing the unborn child be done prior to an abortion. The claim that an ultrasound is invasive is ludicrous compared to the invasiveness of the instruments used to scald, poison, and dismember an unborn child in an abortion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "required personal information about women's gynecological history be reported to state agencies."

FACT: The footnote refers to the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act, 63 O.S. 1-738, which requires an abortion provider to submit a form to the State Department of Health for each abortion and a separate form for any abortion resulting in medical complications. The forms do not contain personally identifying information about the former mother on whom the abortion was performed. The purpose of the law is to gather accurate and complete statistical information about abortion in Oklahoma.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "continued to take away local control from our schools, interfering in our decisions about the education of our children."

FACT: The link is to a story about Tulsa Metro Chamber President Mike Neal, complaining about the prospect of the State Department of Education bringing in outside management to fix low-performing Hale High School in Tulsa. If our schools can't meet minimum standards, what does it say about "our decisions about the education of our children?" And what about the Democrats and local school officials who oppose school choice and sued to toss out the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship law? Aren't they interfering in parents' decisions about the best education for their children?

The postcard goes on to try to plant blame on Katie Henke for the vulgar email sent by an insurance department employee (he was fired for his offense) and out-of-context comments by State Rep. Sean Roberts and State Rep. Sally Kern.

The postcards bear a strong resemblance to those sent out by an anonymous group in last year's Tulsa City Council election. Could the postcards be an act of revenge by a Republican political consultant against a Republican candidate that didn't purchase the consultant's services or an attempt to clear the way for a consultant-backed Republican candidate to run against Arthrell, who would, as a Democrat, be vulnerable in the regular general election in November? (NOTE: Consultant Fount Holland phoned to say that his firm had nothing to do with these mailers, and that in fact his firm is involved with independent expenditures in support of Katie Henke, and that he would never be involved with a pro-abortion or anti-pro-life mailer.)

A lifelong Tulsan, Katie Henke is a school teacher and is active in Tulsa civic organizations. As a Republican in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, Henke would be in a much better position than Arthrell, a Democrat who would be part of a tiny minority, to influence legislation at the State Capitol.

UPDATE: Current speculation among insiders is that this mailer is the work of Democratic consultants, former Democratic operatives within the state party and state legislative apparatus.

MORE 2012/04/05: Ethics filings show that Protecting Oklahoma Values was organized on March 24 (Kimberly Grayson, chairman, Reid Nichols, treasurer), with the purpose of "To run an independent expenditure in HD 71." It was funded by George Krumme ($5,000 on March 26), Anthony Laizure ($1,000 on March 29), and Ed Abel ($2,000 on April 2). The funds were spent with Heartland Media of Oklahoma City: $4,186.16 for mail on March 27 and $1,000.00 for phones on March 30.

OKGOP-logo.jpgThe following Statement of Principles was adopted as part of the 2012 Tulsa County Republican Platform at the Tulsa County Republican Convention on Saturday, March 24, 2012. It is identical to the Statement of Principles section in the 2011 platform and is nearly identical to the Statement of Principles in the 2003 platform, differing by only 20 words or so. The 2003 statement is not original to that year, but constitutes a consolidation of the preamble to the platform as a whole and preambles to individual sections as found in the 2001 platform. Much of the text almost certainly predates 2001. It is the work of many people over many years.


"God who gave us life gave us liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

The United States has attained its position as a world leader and champion of freedom by protecting our God-given liberties.

We believe our rights come from our Creator. We believe in the unalienable rights of the individual. It is a government's first duty to protect these God-given rights: to life; to liberty; to property; to the pursuit of happiness.

Government is but one institution among many that exist to serve the common good. Families, religious communities, businesses, the press, and a host of voluntary societies have their roles to play in meeting the needs of society. As Republicans, we seek to reform government so that it performs its proper role with excellence and efficiency, while leaving room for the other institutions of society to thrive.

We believe that today's government is too large and intrusive, exceeding its proper scope, doing things for which individuals and private organizations are best equipped. We believe families, communities, and institutions of faith can best teach the American values of honesty, responsibility, accountability, hard work, compassion, and mutual respect.

We believe that the functions of government should be handled at the level nearest and most accountable to the people. The Tulsa County Republican Party seeks to apply these time-honored principles at all levels of government:

  • Faithful adherence to the U.S. Constitution as originally intended;
  • The sanctity of human life, from the moment of conception to its natural end;
  • The equality of all people before the Law - that individuals should be judged without regard to race, gender, creed, disability or age;
  • Public integrity - enforcing and administering the laws justly, in the fear of God;
  • Restoring and preserving Judeo-Christian morality in our culture;
  • Respecting the dignity of each individual and the integrity of families;
  • Fiscal responsibility and restraint;
  • Defense of property rights;
  • Promotion of free markets, free trade and freedom throughout the world.

At the Federal level, we call for maintenance of a strong national defense, protection of our freedom of religious expression, and protection of our rights as law-abiding individuals to keep and bear arms.

We support the right of Americans to retain their hard earned wages through the substantial reduction of the federal income tax rate and the establishment of a fair system of taxation.

We believe in personal responsibility and individual accountability. We desire to limit government involvement in the lives of families and individuals. We believe that a sound, traditional family unit is essential to the strength, stability, and success of our nation. We will defend the institution of the family against those who seek to use the levers of government to undermine or redefine it.

We believe inefficient government programs have displaced individual responsibility, compassion, and involvement in our communities. We will work to reform or eliminate impersonal, inefficient and redundant programs, while encouraging individuals, families, and private organizations to exercise their civic responsibilities, act with genuine compassion and offer assistance and care to people in need.

We believe it is the right and responsibility of parents or legal guardians to direct the upbringing and education of their children, without interference, regulation, or penalty from the government.

We therefore support the right of parents or legal guardians to choose the method of schooling for their children, whether public, private, charter, home schooling, or other means of education, without interference from the government at any level.

In our public schools, we seek to restore academic excellence. We believe the primary goal of our educational system should be to teach proficiency in the essential subjects, not to indoctrinate children in a worldview at odds with our nation's heritage.

We believe the best choices are not always the easiest, and that decisions which take commitment, sacrifice and perseverance result in more honorable, longer-lasting solutions. We believe the Republican Party provides the best opportunity to translate these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.

The intent of this section is to set out the timeless principles that motivate our involvement in the political process as Tulsa County Republicans. The remaining pages of the platform consist of detailed platform planks, applying these principles to current concerns.

This year's platform committee approved a draft containing a preamble which replaced the statement of principles. Gone from this preamble were any references to the sanctity of human life, the importance of marriage and the family (as traditionally understood), religious institutions, and other mediating institutions to the health of our society. There were no mentions of public integrity, education, parental rights, or morality.

Eleven members of the Platform Committee, led by Steven Roemerman, signed a minority report, proposing to replace this new preamble with the Statement of Principles from previous years, which you see above. Here is the text of the motion:

Whereas conservative social values such as the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the family and public integrity are core values of Tulsa County Republicans and therefore warrant prominence in our party's platform,

Whereas social issues have had prominence in the Statement of Principles for our Tulsa County Republican Platform for many years, but have been omitted from the Preamble submitted in this year's proposed platform,

We, the undersigned members of the Platform Committee to the 2012 Tulsa County Republican Convention, offer this minority report to the Convention, to wit, amending the Platform Committee's report to substitute the Statement of Principles from the 2011 Tulsa County Republican Platform (attached) in place of the committee's proposed Preamble.

After debate, the motion was approved by the convention by an overwhelming margin. The resulting platform consists of the above Statement of Principles and the individual platform planks that had been approved by the 2012 Platform Committee.

During my remarks (which, like Roemerman's, focused on the issue at hand and did not cast aspersions at any individual or question anyone's motives), I quoted Congressman Mike Pence, who was quoted in a recent column by Mark Steyn (well worth reading in full):

To those who say we should simply focus on fiscal issues, I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family collapses.

(In a similar vein, Phyllis Schlafly's latest column is titled "Phony Divide Between Fiscal & Social Issues.")

I will have more to say about this in the next day or two, but for now I wanted to get the substance on the record.

MORE: Here is the Tulsa County platform committee majority report (1 MB PDF), with the Preamble (the section that was replaced) highlighted.

Tulsa County Republican activists gathered today at the Union High School Performing Arts Center to decide on delegates to the congressional district and state Republican conventions and to adopt a platform that will inform the work of platform committees at the state and national conventions. The only dispute in the peaceful and surprisingly brief convention involved restoring the long-time "bold colors" Statement of Principles to lead off the county platform, in place of the watered-down "pale pastels" preamble that had been approved by this year's committee. (I'll detail that dispute in a separate entry, but thanks to Steven Roemerman and several other members of the platform committee for their willingness to present a minority report.)

After the chaos at many Missouri county caucuses last Saturday (see first-time attendee Duane Lester's account of the Nodaway County caucus) and reports of strife at the Oklahoma County convention earlier in the month, there was some nervousness about a conflict in Tulsa between newcomers supporting Ron Paul and long-time conservative activists at our convention.

As it happened, the convention went very smoothly, starting with the final gathering of the rules committee before the gavel this morning. The rules committee, made up of supporters of a variety of presidential candidates, unanimously approved a couple of final tweaks to the rules. And although a SNAFU resulted in an earlier version being printed distributed to delegates, only one delegate, a Ron Paul supporter, got upset by the lack of an accurate printed copy, and the upset didn't last long. The platform dispute I mentioned didn't break along lines of presidential preference, but boiled down to an old-timer who has been trying for years to water down the platform and got farther this time than ever before.

The need to hear and resolve 30 credentials appeals delayed the start of official business by nearly an hour and a half. The appeals panel of five heard from people who tried to attend their caucus, but it wasn't held at the advertised time and place, people who were elected as county delegates but whose name was left off of the precinct's delegate list, and a couple of people who just registered to vote and thought they should be able to participate.

While waiting for the credentials committee to complete their work, we heard from Congressman John Sullivan on his energy-independence efforts, Corporation Commission chairman Dana Murphy and Commissioner Bob Anthony, Oklahoma's longest-serving statewide official, State Auditor and Inspector (and former GOP state chairman) Gary Jones, state chairman Matt Pinnell, Tulsa County Commission chairman John Smaligo, Insurance Commissioner John Doak, and State Senator Rick Brinkley, among others.

The oddest moment of the day: After concluding his speech and starting up the aisle away from the stage, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr stopped at my row, extended his hand to me for a handshake, waited for me to look up -- I was typing on my laptop and wasn't paying close attention -- and said, "Where'd you get all that gray hair? What happened?" I shook his hand and gave him a puzzled look in return. (I've had all this gray hair for about seven years. I don't dye it.)

But once started, things rolled quickly, with adjournment coming at 2:45 pm, more than an hour before the expected close of business. The reports of the credentials (who's qualified to vote in this convention), rules (how we conduct business in this convention), and delegates (who will we send to the next level of conventions) committees were adopted with near unanimity.

Four proposed changes to the state party rules were approved for recommendation by wide margins -- these will be brought before the state convention in May. The proposed rule changes would:

  • eliminate any gender quotas on members of state and district committees,
  • remove the right to seats at the county convention for precincts with no voters and for precincts that fail to hold caucuses by the state deadline,
  • require that only elected county convention delegates and elected officials can be delegates for their counties at the district and state conventions, and
  • require Republican candidates to declare their areas of disagreement with the state party platform.

In their pre-convention session, the rules committee adopted two last-minute changes. One of the changes was to allow candidates wishing to address the convention (including some candidates challenging incumbent Republicans) a few minutes to speak during the lunch break.

The other change simplified the process of determining who would go as Tulsa County's delegation to the state and congressional conventions, where national convention delegates are selected. If the county voted to send an "open" delegation to both higher-level conventions, those delegations would consist of every delegate elected by their precinct to the county convention, rather than requiring delegates to sign up. While it is theoretically possible that a thousand or so delegates would show up to share Tulsa County's 331 votes, the usual situation is that a fraction of the total will show up, particularly to the state convention. This approach to filling the delegate list broadens the possible pool of Tulsa County delegates, improving the likelihood that we'll be able to claim all of our votes. And, at my instigation, we made this form of open delegation the default, in the event that delays or disruptions prevented the convention from electing delegates before adjournment. (This topic deserves an entry of its own for a full explanation.)

County Chairman J. B. Alexander, Vice Chairman Mike McCutchin, convention chairman State Sen. Dan Newberry, convention parliamentarian former State Rep. John Wright, convention secretary Melinda Voss, and credentials committee chairman Ted Darr deserve much credit for the smooth convention. Following state rules strictly and developing and following strict guidelines to cover ambiguities in the state rules may be the difference between a peaceful convention and a contentious convention.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Election 2012 category from March 2012.

Oklahoma Election 2012: February 2012 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Election 2012: April 2012 is the next archive.

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