Election 2012: March 2012 Archives

Thumbnail image for rino-768px.pngThere's a theory being circulated among conservative bloggers and Tea Party activists that we shouldn't worry about the likelihood of bailout-backing, mandate-loving, flip-flopping Mitt Romney winning the nomination. Anyone can beat Obama, the theory goes -- even with Romney unable to run against Obama on Obamacare -- and if we focus on electing more solid conservatives to Congress they'll be able to keep Romney in check and push him to be more conservative.

But that's wishful thinking, divorced from political dynamics in the real world. Far from being shaped by conservative activists and legislators, a Republican executive tends to reshape the party in his own image. This is true at every level of government, but especially true when there's a Republican president. Republicans have a tendency to defer to the executive of their own party. They find it much easier to resist and block bad ideas from a Democrat executive than from a leader of their own party.

Even before winning the presidency, the nominee begins to shape the party in his own image. His team has a great deal of influence over the platform, the convention rules, the party rules for the next four years, and who gets to speak at the convention. Delegates on the convention committees are under a great deal of pressure to conform to the presumptive nominee's wishes. (That's another reason why a convention without a presumptive nominee would be a good thing.)

A Republican President of the United States is titular head of the GOP. He gets to pick the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who in turn has a great deal of influence over who staffs the party and which consultants are hired. The president has political appointments in the executive branch, ambassadorships, and federal judgeships to hand out. The president has superstar fundraising power: His blessing and support can open the floodgates for a candidate, and his disfavor can cause funding to slow to a trickle. And heaven help a Republican legislator if the Republican president, governor, or mayor opts to back your primary opponent.

But I think the tendency to defer to the executive goes deeper in the Republican mindset than mere access to money and power. Perhaps it's rooted in the long decades when we could elect Republican presidents, but we were in the minority in Congress.

When a Republican is the executive, many legislators and party officials see their job as defending and upholding the Republican executive, rather than holding them to account. It's much easier for GOP party leaders and legislators to oppose a bad idea if a Democrat proposes it. If a Republican official proposes a bad idea, the best you can hope for from Republican party leaders and legislators is silence.

I've seen this at work here in Tulsa. In 1997, a Democrat mayor proposed a 3.5 year, 1/2 penny sales tax and increases in hotel/motel and car rental taxes to fund a new downtown arena, stadium, and natatorium and expansion of the convention center -- $140 million in local tax increases. The county Republican Executive Committee unequivocally opposed the measure, and it failed at the polls.

In 2000, the same Democrat mayor proposed a rehash of the previous project, with some minor differences and funded entirely by sales tax -- 7.5 years, 1/2 cent, to raise $263 million. The county Republican Executive Committee unequivocally opposed the measure, and it failed at the polls.

In 2003, a Republican mayor and a Republican county commission chairman backed a sales tax hike to fund an arena that was about four times bigger and porkier than the plans the Democrat mayor had proposed. 13 years and a full-penny, county-wide sales tax increase for a total of $887 million. This time the Republican Executive Committee fell silent. Many members of the Executive Committee were now political appointees at City Hall and the County Courthouse, and they wouldn't wish to embarrass their bosses. Other Republicans were simply worried that opposing the initiative of Republican elected officials would divide the party. (Never mind that these officials were dividing the party by betraying fiscal conservatism.) Major Republican donors backed the plan and made it clear that there would be consequences if the party or elected officials opposed it. One Republican activist who led the effort against the Democrat mayor's initiatives became outspoken in support; after the election he wound up with a job funded by the new tax. The tax passed.

More recently, in 2009, Tulsa elected a Republican mayor. This gentleman had endorsed the Democrat incumbent for re-election before she opted not to run, despite her embrace of global warming and anti-gun hoohah and the runaway budget growth under her watch that left the city in fiscal peril in 2009. Many Republican leaders ignored the apparent lack of conservative convictions in this candidate and lined up behind him because he was the son of a former governor and senator and had money to self-finance a campaign. (Sound familiar?)

He won the primary and the general election. Tulsa's new Republican mayor then set about demonizing and alienating the Republican supermajority on the City Council. Rather than defend the Republican councilors or at least try to make peace, leading Republican funders and their allies attacked the councilors as bickerers, sued them, and created a redistricting plan that cut them off from their core constituencies, completely drawing the Council's strongest fiscal conservative out of his own district.

Any Republican Tea Party senator or congressman that dares to oppose President Romney's big new entitlement program is likely to meet a similar fate.

The same calls we are hearing now to unite behind our leader will only become more strident and carry more weight with a Republican in the White House and the power that comes with incumbency.

The same arguments being deployed today to get conservatives to fall in line behind Romney's candidacy were used to get conservatives to back Dubya's expansions of government (think No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and of course, the TARP Bank Bailout), and the same arguments will be used to rope conservatives into backing any big-government policy President Romney wants to pursue. We'll be told that opposing the president will damage his presidency, will weaken the Republican Party, and will strengthen the liberals. We'll be told that Romney's policy may be awful, but it's a much better option than what the liberals propose, and those are the only choices on the table.

I'm saddened by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's decision yesterday to endorse Romney and to call for an end to the competition for the presidential nomination. Does Sen. Rubio not remember when the National Republican Senatorial Committee called for everyone to line up behind Gov. Charlie Crist, because Crist's nomination was inevitable, and it was important to avoid a messy primary that would damage the party's chances in November? Isn't Sen. Rubio glad that activists and donors didn't take that rotten advice?

MORE: The best hope for conservative policy at the federal level is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination. The only way to do that is to keep him from getting enough delegates, and the only way to stop him from accruing delegates is to support the candidate running closest to him in the polls.

Romney can't get enough bound delegates to have a majority until June 2. If Santorum can win 365 more bound delegates -- and there are more than enough delegates still to be bound in the south, border states, and midwest to make that possible -- Romney mathematically can't lock up 1144 before the convention.

Rick Santorum is the only man standing in the way of Romney's nomination. A Santorum win in Wisconsin is crucial; you can help by making calls from home now through Tuesday.

STILL MORE: A friend remarked recently that Romney seemed Reaganesque, and noted that both Reagan and Romney changed their minds about abortion rights. There's a crucial difference: Reagan's change of heart against abortion put him at odds with mainstream GOP thinking of the time and hindered his candidacy in 1976. Romney's changes of position always coincide with whatever will help him win.

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.

standupbanner.pngAmericans will rally in 140 cities across the nation at noon tomorrow, Friday, March 23, 2012, to protest the Obamacare HHS mandate requiring nearly all private health insurance plans to cover "all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs," overriding an employer's moral convictions.

Tulsa's rally will be held at LaFortune Park, 5801 S. Yale Ave. Speakers will include Tulsa constitutional attorney Leah Farish. In 2005, Farish received Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Law Project's Mary Beth Tinker Award for her successful defense of the right of a Muslim high school student in Muskogee to wear a headscarf at a public school.

Dozens of pro-life and religious liberty organizations have joined forces to organize this nationwide event, including the Pro-Life Action League, Concerned Women for America, and the Becket Fund for Religous Liberty.

Social liberals often complain that social conservatives want to use government power to impose their views on everyone else. As the Obamacare HHS mandate demonstrates, it's the other way around: Lefties want to use government to force everyone to conform to their moral judgments. We need to stand up for religious liberty if we want to preserve it.

Pipeline monument, Cushing OK
As President Obama visits Cushing, Oklahoma, tomorrow, conservative Oklahomans will gather tomorrow morning in Cushing to voice their support for a common-sense energy policy that allows exploration and development of America's energy resources.

The Obama administration has been blocking the development of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to Oklahoma and the development of oil reserves under the Gulf of Mexico and on Federal lands in Alaska. As a candidate, he announced that under his energy plan, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.

This morning on TV, CNN prominently displayed the headline "Obama to fast-track Keystone XL pipeline." In fact, Obama's denial of the necessary permit to build the pipeline from Canada to the US still stands. TransCanada decided to go ahead with the pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf (which doesn't require the President's permission), and now it appears that the president wants to stage a photo op to take credit for that.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner balked at the idea that President Obama could claim credit for speeding up the approval process of the southern segment of the pipeline. "This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license," Brendan Buck said. "There is only a minor, routine permit needed for this leg of the project. Only a desperate administration would inject the President of the United States into this trivial matter. The President's attempt to take credit for a pipeline he blocked and personally lobbied Congress against is staggering in its dis-ingenuousness. This portion of the pipeline is being built in spite of the President, not because of him."

Here is the email blast from Americans for Prosperity about Obama's visit to Oklahoma and tomorrow's rally:

It's not enough that President Obama refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, denying thousands of jobs and lower gas prices at the pump. Now he's coming to Cushing, Oklahoma to grandstand credit for a private sector energy success - and he hopes you aren't paying attention.

Prove him wrong.

Join Americans for Prosperity tomorrow morning when President Obama visits Cushing.

Click here to register for our rally!

Let's show the President that we are paying attention and we aren't going to let him off the hook. AFP will show up with a simple message: stop playing politics with America's energy.

What:We Can't Wait Rally in Cushing
When:Thursday, March 22nd @ 8:30 a.m.
Where:  Fechner Pump and Supply, 1402 North Little Street in Cushing, OK
Who:You and your fellow Americans for Prosperity activists

Just a few weeks ago Obama said that oil is a "fuel of the past." Now he's talking out of the other side of his mouth and thinks no one will call him on it.

Economists have found that the Keystone XL pipeline that Obama is halting could create over 100,000 jobs, increase refining capacity by 700,000 barrels, lower prices at the pump, and bring millions in tax revenues to Oklahoma and the surrounding region.

America needs commonsense energy policy - not political grandstanding.

Help AFP call out the President and demand real energy solutions.

Photo credit: Pipeline monument, Cushing OK by roy.luck, on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin didn't cancel her spring break vacation plans to rush back to welcome Pres. Obama to the state, and some are complaining that she's being disrespectful and even racist by not doing so. I used Storify to capture a Twitter conversation between myself, Jennifer James, Steve Lackmeyer of the Oklahoman, Joe Fairbanks, with a few others.

Gov. Fallin issued a statement about the president's visit:

"I am pleased that President Obama is able to make his first visit to the great state of Oklahoma this week and to personally see the good work going on in Cushing. The TransCanada pipeline to be built there will connect Oklahoma to oil markets on the Gulf Coast, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 Oklahoma jobs. This project will help to bolster our energy industry and security for years to come.

"I am glad the president supports the construction of the pipeline connecting Cushing to the Gulf. Impeding the progress of something which is so obviously beneficial to both the economy and the energy security of the United States would have been nothing short of irresponsible.

"Unfortunately, President Obama and his administration are practicing exactly this kind of obstructionism on the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil from the Canadian oil sands and several U.S. markets to Cushing. As a result, the United States must go without the hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that would have otherwise been available to stimulate our economy. Just as importantly, the administration's decision undermines U.S. energy security and alienates our closest trading partner, Canada.

"I hope that while President Obama is in Oklahoma he takes some time to listen to our citizens, many of whom work for the energy industry which he claims to support. I think they will tell him that - far from supporting the responsible domestic production of American-made energy - his administration has undermined it at every turn. Rather than embracing the truly remarkable technological breakthroughs that have resulted in the discovery of an additional 100-year supply of natural gas, the president and the EPA continue their hostility to basic and time-tested practices like hydraulic fracturing. The president and his party in Washington continue to support an aggressively anti-energy agenda that will severely hamper the American economy and put the United States at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world.

"In Oklahoma, we recognize that the energy industry is an important ally in job creation and economic development. We believe that American energy is a resource, not a hazardous waste. My great hope is that some of that attitude will rub off on our president, who has lost his way on energy policy and so many other issues."

MORE: U. S. Rep. John Sullivan talks about the Keystone XL pipeline and Obama's visit on Fox and Friends this morning. Sullivan calls Obama's about-face on part of the pipeline a "con job," comparing it to Al Gore taking credit for inventing the internet. Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy notes that the absence of the northern part of the pipeline would require oil from the Canadian tar sands to be shipped by other means, such as the Warren Buffett / Berkshire Hathaway-owned BNSF railroad.

ricksantorumlogo.jpgAlthough the Oklahoma primary is behind us, Oklahomans who support Rick Santorum can still make a difference, through the miracle of modern technology. The Santorum HQ at 6969 E. 71st St. in Tulsa will be open for volunteers to make calls to voters in Tuesday's primary states. Alabama and Mississippi are both considered too close to call, with a danger that conservative votes split between Santorum and Gingrich would allow Romney to finish first. For more information on helping call from Tulsa, phone 918-928-7776.

You can also make phone calls from home into primary states via callfromhome.ricksantorum.com.

Here is a spreadsheet with the results by congressional district, as reported on the Oklahoma State Election Board election night results website. I've combined the results into a workbook with two tabs, one for Republicans, one for Democrats.

Final Republian delegate tally appears to be Santorum 14, Romney 13, Gingrich 13. In the Democrat primary, the delegate result is Barack Obama 35, Randall Terry 7, Jim Rogers 3.

Turnout was way off from 2008 in both primaries. This wasn't unexpected in the Democrat primary with an incumbent president on the ballot, but Republican turnout dropped from 335,054 in 2008 to 286,523 in 2012 -- about a 15% drop in a more exciting primary. Perhaps it was the barrage of negative ads, mainly from Romney and Paul attacking Santorum, and from Gingrich attacking Romney. (I never saw a Santorum ad in Oklahoma.)

Originally published March 5, 2012. Bumped to the top on March 9.

The presidential election is at the forefront for anyone who pays attention to politics, but what happens with state and local elections has as much of an impact on your daily life as the current Occupier of the White House. Filing for this fall's elections in Oklahoma is only about one month away.

One week after the presidential primary, American Majority will hold a candidate training seminar at Reasor's in Jenks, Tuesday evening, March 13, 2012, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Details and registration info after the jump.

First Love, a local band featuring the singing and songwriting talents of Camille and Haley Harris, wrote a fight song for the Rick Santorum campaign. The song "Game On!" came together in the wee hours of this past Sunday night / Monday morning, after they heard Rick Santorum speak and met him at Grace Church in Broken Arrow on Sunday evening. It's a catchy song, and the girls have great pop voices with a bit of a folk edge.

The song has received some national attention, earning a thanks from Rick Santorum on his campaign blog:

What a great anthem for our campaign -- I haven't been able to get the song out of my head! I feel so blessed to have such ardent supporters of our vision for America's future, and am grateful to the entire Harris family for their continued faith in our campaign.

The song has been mentioned by bloggers for Time, The Hill, the Houston Chronicle, Buzzfeed.

I met the Harris girls and their parents Tuesday night at the Santorum watch party. They were being interviewed on an online radio talk show as I sat nearby uploading the latest results by congressional district to the Santorum national campaign team. I thought I remembered seeing another video by First Love, a western swing song.

Sure enough, Haley and Camille sang "Blue Bonnet Lane" (one of my favorite Bob Wills tunes) with the Tulsa Playboys back in January:

IVoted.jpgTimestamp set to keep this post at the top until the polls close at 7 p.m.

It's presidential primary election day in Oklahoma, with polls open across the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Both parties have a primary today. Click here to see the full list of candidates. Republicans have a choice of seven candidates: Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, Paul, Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry. Democrats have five options, including President Obama, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and Midwest City resident Jim Rogers, who was the 2010 Democratic nominee for U. S. Senate.

Click "Continue reading" for details on today's municipal elections, how to find your polling place, showing ID at the polls, how delegates will be bound, and where to find up-to-the-minute election results.

ricksantorumlogo.jpgI had decided some time ago that when Oklahoma's turn to vote came around, I would cast my vote as necessary to block Mitt Romney's progress toward the Republican nomination. Whoever was ahead of Romney in the polls or the closest to beating him would get my vote.

(Dan McLaughlin, aka Baseball Crank, in his recent entry "Mitt Romney, the Unconvincing Convert," details four of the problems with Romney -- "the unconvincing nature of his political conversion, the hazards of becoming enamored with candidates whose primary rationale for running is their money, the unprecedented difficulty of winning with a moderate Republican who lacks significant national security credentials as a war hero or other prominent foreign policy figure, and Romney's vulnerability arising from his dependence on his biography" -- and at that blog entry, you'll find links to McLaughlin's 2007 series on Romney's electoral liabilities.)

But as the presidential field narrowed and the Oklahoma primary approached, I've come to the conclusion that the last remaining conservative alternative, Rick Santorum, is not merely the best tactical vote, but the candidate closest to my views on economic, social, and defense and foreign policy issues and the best candidate to fight and win the general election against the incumbent.

On economics, Rick Santorum supports bold entitlement reform and immediate action to address the climbing national debt, not kicking the can down the road for another decade as some have proposed. He rightly identifies the importance of manufacturing to economic recovery, particularly for the middle class, and his corporate tax plan, combined with regulatory reform, would make it easier for manufacturers to bring jobs back to the US. His personal income tax plan is a significant simplification over the current complicated tax code -- two brackets, five deductions -- but it has the advantage of being politically plausible. It's not the sort of shocking departure that would be easy to demagogue. It retains the deductions that most taxpayers use and expect.

As a senator, Rick Santorum was a leader on the issue of welfare reform, understanding the moral and economic imperative of helping Americans by helping them move from dependency into self-sufficiency.

Energy is a major focus of Santorum's speeches. He sees the controversy over hydraulic fracturing, a practice that dates back to World War II, as nothing more than the Green Left's latest fundraising gimmick, now that manmade global warming has run out of gas. Santorum rightly identifies the political agenda behind the Obama administration's restrictions on energy exploration, production, and transportation. To Obama and his allies, higher prices are a feature of the Obama energy policy, not a bug.

On foreign policy, Santorum understands the essence of the threat faced by western civilization and is willing to give it its proper name. Santorum says the "Global War on Terror" is a misnomer. Terror isn't an enemy; it's a tactic used by the enemy, which he correctly identifies as radical Islamism. A President Santorum will not bow to foreign potentates.

When asked by an ORU student to contrast his foreign policy with that of Ron Paul, Santorum said, "I believe in peace through strength; he believes... well, maybe I'll just say, he doesn't. I believe that America is the source of stability in the world.... If we do what Congressman Paul has suggested.... there are forces in the world that would replace us, that would not have our best interests in mind. There wouldn't be a vacuum." He noted that radical Islamists, China, and Russia are poised to move in in response to American disengagement from the world.


The media has made Santorum out to be the social issues candidate, but social issues haven't been the focus of his campaign materials or his speeches. His thoughts on social issues line up perfectly with the majority of Oklahomans, and while other candidates (including President Obama) pay lip service to these issues but shrink back apologetically when challenged by the liberal media, Rick Santorum patiently defends his views, which are grounded in first principles. Santorum was a leader in the fight against the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion and in the effort, inspired by the plight of Terri Schindler Schiavo, to protect the incapacitated from being starved and dehydrated to death.

Yes, Rick Santorum has made some disappointing compromises during his 16 years in Congress. But so have the Oklahoma politicians who have endorsed Romney, a man whose entire political career has been about morphing his political positions for political expediency.

(When a planet wobbles from its predicted orbit, astronomers know to look for a hidden force pulling on the planet. It's how we discovered Neptune and Pluto.)

Some Republicans are laundry-list conservatives -- they can check all the right boxes on the candidate survey, but they miss the heart of the matter. As I wrote about the 2010 governor's race:

In my years of involvement in conservative and Republican politics, I've noticed that there are those politicians who profess support for the laundry list of conservative positions on the current list of hot issues and then there are those who understand the issues of the day in terms of the bigger picture -- a coherent philosophy of government, society, and human nature and a view of the long-term consequences of today's decisions. Elected officials in the latter group seem less likely to be led astray; when a new issue comes along, they have a philosophical compass to guide their decisions, while members of the former group are susceptible to lobbyist suasion.

I'd rather have a laundry-list conservative in office than the left-wing equivalent, but I'd much rather have a leader who sees today's issues in terms of our future liberty and prosperity, guided by a coherent conservative philosophy.

Rick Santorum is that kind of leader. It shows in his personal life and in the politically costly stands he has taken, common-sense stands that sent the nasty, radical Left into conniptions.


Like Ann Coulter used to believe, before she drank the Jim Jones powdered drink mix, I believe that Romney would be a disaster as the GOP's general election candidate. He doesn't provide enough of a contrast to Obama on the big issue that drove the big Republican gains in 2010: Obamacare and the need to repeal it before it comes into full effect. Back on September 7, 2011, the Wall Street Journal editorial board called Romney's economic plan "surprisingly timid and tactical."

The attempt by Romney fans to end things quickly and create a bandwagon through endorsements underscored his inability to withstand scrutiny. The best hope of the Romney camp was to dishearten conservatives, to crush their hope of a conservative alternative, to convince them to surrender early on to the inevitability of the Romney nomination and not waste their contributions and volunteer time on another candidate.

Romney is this year's "it's his turn" candidate, the latest representative of a 24 year pattern in which Mr. Second Place becomes front runner for the next go-around, attracting endorsements and cash from bandwagon-jumpers who like to bet on a sure thing. States leapfrogged each other on the primary calendar in hopes of having some voice in the process, but the plurality-takes-all delegate allocation rules in most states made an early win essential for all but the most well funded candidate. In 2008, the race was all but over by Valentine's Day. Romney threw in the towel the day after Tsunami Tuesday. Republicans then spent the next 10 months with a bad case of buyer's remorse, mitigated only for a week or two after McCain's vice presidential pick.

Despite brazen violations by a few states, the new GOP rules for 2012 have had the desired effect of slowing down the process, allowing for more states and more Republicans to have a meaningful say in the choice of a nominee, providing time for voters to take a close look at potential nominees before they have the nomination practically sewn up.

Back in December, when Rick Santorum was barely polling above Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer, I dismissed him as an also-ran, handicapped by the 2006 loss of his Senate seat and his unwise endorsement of Arlen Specter.

But as I wrote that, Santorum, accompanied by his wife Karen and their children, was working harder than any other candidate, campaigning in every county in Iowa. His persistence paid with a first-place finish on Iowa caucus night, a shoestring campaign finishing just ahead of the candidate with all the money in the world.

Unlike the other not-Romneys who emerged and faded under scrutiny, Santorum has shown staying power. I believe it's because his positions on the issues are really what he believes. They aren't calculated for the sake of political expediency. Santorum has thought through the big issues that challenge our nation.

Even if I haven't persuaded you to support Santorum on his own merits, I hope you'll consider the tactical case for a Santorum vote in Oklahoma.

If you're an Oklahoma conservative who doesn't want a nominee who has flip-flopped on all the big issues, who has rejected and embraced Reagan and the conservative movement on an as-needed basis, voting for Rick Santorum is the best way to block Romney's momentum and keep the Republican Party's options open. If you're an Oklahoma fan of Gingrich or Paul, voting for Santorum is the best thing you can do to block Romney and keep your man's candidacy viable.

Tactical voters have to begin from the starting point of the latest polls. Who is in a position to finish first? Who is in a position to win delegates? The number of tactical voters is small enough that you can only hope to tilt a closely balanced race. In a recent poll, Santorum was leading statewide and in each congressional district. Right now, what's in the balance is a win for Santorum big enough to deny Romney any Oklahoma delegates under Oklahoma's proportional delegate allocation rules. It's an important step toward knocking out Romney and opening up the race.

In Georgia there's a different answer to that question, and if I lived in Georgia, I'd cast a tactical vote for Newt. If I lived in Virginia, where only Romney and Paul are on the ballot, I'd vote for Ron Paul. But in every other Super Tuesday state, including Oklahoma, Ohio, and Tennessee, Santorum is the best tactical choice.

But I think that if conservative Oklahoma voters will listen to his speeches and compare his record to the other candidates, you'll come to the same conclusion that I've reached: Rick Santorum is the best candidate to carry our conservative Oklahoma values into the general election and on to the White House.


This is a preliminary report, mainly so I can get the audio and some photos online. I plan to transcribe additional quotes as I have opportunity.


Sen. Rick Santorum spoke to a standing-room only crowd of about 1000 people at Grace Church last night, March 4, 2012, focusing attention on his energy and tax plans and the importance of Republicans nominating a candidate who presents voters with a clear choice in November.

The backdrop for the event were big video displays with the slogan, "The courage to fight for American jobs." At the heart of the speech was Santorum's emphasis on promoting job growth by supporting the development of domestic energy resources and a simpler tax system.

Santorum called for throwing out the tax code and replacing it with two rates, 10% and 28%, and retaining only five deductions: children, charities, pensions, healthcare, and housing. "Maybe I'm for a simple tax code for a selfish reason.... Unlike everyone else in the race, I actually do my own taxes."

Corporations would be a simple net profit tax with a single rate of 17.5%, half the current maximum rate. (The US maximum rate will be the highest in the world as of April 1 when Japan is set to cut their rate.) In order to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, Santorum proposes a rate of 0 for manufacturing and processing.

He noted that the complex tax code puts small businesses at a disadvantage to larger rivals, as it's harder for a small business to find the loopholes that big companies use.

On energy, Santorum focused on Obama administration obstruction of energy exploration. He mentioned a visit to a shale oil well-head Tioga, N. D., and the hindrance caused by the lack of a pipeline that could bring that oil more efficiently to market.

MDB20987 MDB20995

Santorum, accompanied by his wife and three of his children, expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome they've received in Oklahoma. Noting that Gingrich and Romney both have home states with primaries on Super Tuesday, while his home state of Pennsylvania won't be voting, "if I feel like I have any home state up on Super Tuesday, it's here in Oklahoma."

After the speech, Santorum worked the rope line taking pictures with everyone who wanted one. Later, he and his family posed with Jim Bob Duggar and family, here from Arkansas to campaign for Santorum.

Shortly after Santorum began to speak, he was interrupted by a heckler, who, I was told, was an Occupod. (I mistakenly tweeted that the heckler was a Paulbot, which was not the case.) The heckler was shown the door. From my side of the auditorium it was impossible to make out what the heckler was shouting.

MDB21074 MDB21084

1170 KFAQ morning show host Pat Campbell kicked off the event by explaining his break with usual practice in endorsing Santorum, rather than revealing his choice after the election. (Co-host Eddie Huff has also endorsed Santorum.) Campbell was a new talk show host in Erie, Pa., in 1994, when Santorum ran against an appointed incumbent Democrat to win a seat in the Senate. Campbell said Santorum is the only politician he's ever endorsed.

MDB20967 MDB20973

Campbell spoke about the mockery being directed by the mainstream media at Santorum's faith, specifically comments he made in a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University:

But the reality is those things that Rick Santorum talked about at Ave Maria -- I believe them, you believe them. When they laugh at Rick Santorum, they're laughing at us. They don't get us. We're flyover country.... If Rick Santorum, his wife Karen, and their children were to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, tomorrow, they'd fit right in, because he is one of us. He gets it. All of the things that we cherish and hold true and sacred, Rick Santorum holds true and sacred.

Campbell stated that Santorum presents the strongest contrast in the general election to Barack Obama, noted the endorsement Santorum received from Jim Inhofe, and called on the audience to volunteer, explaining the importance of getting Santorum over the 50% mark to win all of Oklahoma's 40 delegates.

In her introduction, Rep. Peterson called Santorum "the real deal... the most authentic conservative that is running today... a sincere, authentic, genuine conservative, and he's been that way for years, and he hasn't changed."

Peterson recalled meeting Ronald Reagan in Tulsa in 1976, when the conventional wisdom said that Ronald Reagan was too conservative to be elected, and Gerald Ford was nominated because he would be electable. Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter. "We had to wait four years for a real conservative" to be the Republican nominee in 1980. This time around, Peterson said, "we do not have four years to wait for a real conservative to run for president." She concluded by calling on the audience to "stand to your feet, cheer, shout, and welcome the best choice for president of the United States, Rick Santorum." The audience complied enthusiastically.


I started recording in the middle of Pat Campbell's introduction -- sorry, forgot to start the recorder before the meeting began. For the sake of completeness, I have my recording of Santorum's speech below, but KFAQ has much better audio at this link. (Unfortunately, they don't have the introductory material.)





Pat McGuigan reports for Capitol Beat OK on Santorum's visit to the State Capitol earlier in the day.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds, an Oklahoma City Republican, introduced the former Pennsylvania senator at the rally, at one point recalling Santorum's vigor in defending the U.S. against "radical Islam" in an appearance at the University of Oklahoma in Norman several years ago. Santorum remembered, "Mike Reynolds was talking about that event I did in Norman some five or six years ago I think it was. Gosh, here were all sorts of protestors. It was very hostile. I never expected that in Oklahoma."

The Occupods were in OKC, too, but they were harder to budge there:

A group of a dozen demonstrators disrupted the first half of Santorum's speech with a "mic check" -- the prelude to a verbal attack on the candidate. The group tore Santorum signs, screamed at him as he gave his speech, and denounced his views repeatedly. After about 20 minutes, Capitol police met quietly with the demonstrators and encouraged them to leave, which they did.

KOTV News on 6's Emily Baucum has a good video synopsis of Santorum's Tulsa speech. You may be able to spot me snapping some of the pictures you see above. (Hat tip to reader Art Fern.)

OKGOP-logo.jpgIn the wake of the Michigan Republican presidential primary, in which Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney won an equal number of congressional districts, each worth two delegates, there was a dispute over whether the two at-large delegates should be divided between Romney and Santorum (since no candidate received a majority of the statewide vote) or both given to the candidate who received the plurality. Had the Michigan Republican Party published its delegate allocation rules in advance of the primary, the dispute and the consequent accusations of bad faith could have been avoided.

In doing my own research on delegate allocation in each state, I have noticed that state party websites rarely have updated information about anything, and they're especially bad about not posting rules, resolutions, and other "party business" documents.

In light of that problem, and in order to avoid a repeat of the Michigan mishegoss, I urged Oklahoma Republican Party leadership to publicize Oklahoma's allocation rules in advance of Tuesday's primary. This evening, Oklahoma GOP vice chairman Pam Pollard sent me the official 2012 National Delegate Award Methodology (PDF). This methodology was approved last year by the Oklahoma Republican State Committee, which is the governing body of the state party, consisting of the County Chairman, Vice Chairman, State Committeeman and State Committeewoman from each county, and all Republican state and federal elected officials.

Some key points (my paraphrase of the official rules):

  • The three Republican National Committee members (Chairman Matt Pinnell, National Committeeman James Dunn, National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty) will not be bound by the primary result.

  • It takes a majority (50% + one vote) to win all the delegates in each congressional district (3 each) and statewide to win all 25 at-large delegates.

  • If no one has a statewide majority, the 25 delegates will be split among all candidates with at least 15% of the statewide vote in proportion to their share of the vote among the candidates with at least 15%. If rounding results in an unallocated delegate, it will go to the top vote-getter.

  • In any congressional district, if three or more candidates get 15% of the vote, the top three candidates get one delegate each. If only two get 15% of the vote or more, the top candidate gets two and the second-place candidate gets one. If only one candidate breaks 15% or if a candidate gets 50% or more, he will get all three delegates

After the jump, the full text of the document:

Fellow Rick Santorum supporters, your help is needed today. From Oklahoma Santorum HQ:

The Duggars Are Coming Back To Tulsa

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar want your help.

The stars of TLC's reality television series invite you to come help this Sunday afternoon. We will be reaching out to Oklahomans, to get out to vote this Tuesday for Rick.

Teams all across Green Country are organizing to impact the state with sign-waves from 3-5pm. Others are manning the phone banks in our headquarters from 2-5pm.

The many volunteers of the Santorum Oklahoma campaign are thrilled to see so many great people coming to Rick Santorum's side during this important election for the future of our nation.

Tulsa area volunteers; please meet at the headquarters at 2pm.

Santorum Tulsa HQ is at 6969 E 71st Street, just east of Mai's Tailor Shop and behind Señor Tequila's Restaurant.

You may be thinking that because the polls show Santorum with a big lead in Oklahoma, you don't need to help, but you'd be wrong. If Santorum can win 50% statewide and 50% in each congressional district, he gets all of Oklahoma's 40 delegates at stake. Less than 50% only wins a share. And a shellacking of his rivals -- winning by large margins -- would help him win big in the next round of primaries.

This just in from Santorum Oklahoma HQ.

Sen. Rick Santorum will return to Oklahoma for two campaign stops on Sunday, March 4, 2012.

Oklahoma City: 3:30 p.m., north steps of the State Capitol.

Tulsa: 6:30 p.m., Grace Church, 9610 S. Garnett Road.


Santorum at ORU (portrait crop) (MDB20765)
Some friends of mine, long-time local conservative activists, have endorsed Rick Santorum in next Tuesday's Oklahoma presidential preference primary. They've notified their friends of their endorsement, but for their own reasons can't make the endorsement public. They are however willing to share their rationale, and I think it's worth your time to read.

They also remind that early voting ("absentee in person") is available at your county's election board at the following times.

Friday, March 2, 2012: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2012: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday, March 5, 2012: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Whether you vote early at the county election board or on election day at your precinct's polling place, you must bring a government-issued form of identification -- either your voter ID card or some government issued ID with your photo and an expiration date after the date of the election. The state election board explains what kind of ID is allowed by law.

The Santorum campaign in Oklahoma could use your help. They are making personal phone calls to Oklahoma voters and need more workers to reach all the people they hope to reach. Phone the Oklahoma HQ at 918-928-7776 to find out what you can do. There are opportunities all over the state. A team of Texas volunteers is coming up to work along the southern tier of Oklahoma. (Texas's primary has been delayed until May 29, the result of a court battle over congressional redistricting.)

If you're a homeschooler, by volunteering for Santorum you'd be supporting the first homeschool dad to serve as president since perhapsTeddy Roosevelt. And what better way to teach the importance of civic involvement and how our election process works than to spend a few hours as a campaign volunteer.

I've put the full text of the activists' endorsement after the jump, but here are some of the key points:

  • Santorum has signed the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge
  • Santorum's endorsement by the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee devoted to promoting pro-life candidates: "Among the field of strong pro-life candidates in the GOP primary, one stands out as a proven leader in this great human and civil rights cause of our time. Rick Santorum communicates the vision and has exhibited the strategic and tactical prowess the pro-life movement must have in order to succeed. Women and children deserve his leadership, grounded as it is in affirming the dignity of every person. At this inflection point in the primary process and a tipping point in history on the abortion issue, the Susan B. Anthony List endorses Rick Santorum for the Republican nomination for President."
  • Santorum's A+ lifetime NRA rating and strong career ratings from many other conservative organizations.
  • In line with the mainstream of conservative activists on 2nd Amendment rights, energy production (a major theme of his Tulsa speech), illegal immigration, national defense and foreign policy, and cultural issues in military policy.
  • My friends weren't sure about Santorum's position with regard to Israel, since he didn't address it in his ORU speech, but here's an oped he wrote for National Review in May 2011: Israel in Peril. His concluding paragraph:

    Israel has long enjoyed the support of the United States. Our mutual ties have been historical, cultural, religious, and strategic. Today those ties have been put in more doubt than at any other time in the history of our relationship. Israel hasn't changed, the United States has. But the United States, a large and powerful country, is not in danger of disappearing. The same cannot be said of Israel and it is to our shame that we have increased that risk for the Jewish state. One can only hope this dangerous turn in our foreign policy will change. In the meantime, it is the duty of each and every American citizen who abhors terrorism and supports freedom to stand up and say, "I support Israel."

    Now here's the full endorsement from my activist friends:

    The nice thing about running your own website is you get to decide which ads run alongside your words.

    This morning I received notification from BlogAds of an ad submission "paid for by the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Committee, Inc." (Saber Communications submitted the ad.) They wanted to run the "Rick Santorum is a Conservative Fake" ad on BatesLine through the primary. It would have been worth $200. I turned it down. I'm not going to run Ayatollah Ron Paul's garbage on this website, not for $200,000.

    Ron Paul is in no position to judge anyone's conservatism. Although he is pro-life, he's a liberal on most social issues and an appeaser on foreign policy. I believe the culture of a campaign is a reflection on the candidate, and his followers' practice of taqiyya (lying for the sake of advancing the cause) and their messianic devotion to him says much, none of it good, about the man.

    The modern conservative movement has been described as a three-legged stool -- social, fiscal, and defense. Santorum and Gingrich are the only candidates who are consistently conservative in all three areas, and Santorum is the most conservative candidate in the race with a chance of winning the nomination and beating Obama.


    Here's the only Ron Paul ad you'll ever see on BatesLine.

    About this Archive

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

    Election 2012: February 2012 is the previous archive.

    Election 2012: April 2012 is the next archive.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



    Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
    [What is this?]