Here is how weird things have gotten on the right side of the aisle. The state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, reported today OK congressman James Lankford had this to say in response to the president's state of the union speech last night:
"I heard no constructive recommendations to Congress, or the American people to reduce our debt, remove federal barriers to economic growth, or strengthen our families. Oklahomans want to pick their own health care plans, and they want to keep their doctor. They want a thriving economy and safe communities. In a state that has driven the energy industry nationwide, we do not want to endlessly wait on a federal permit from Washington to lead us to energy independence. Oklahoma families want conservative solutions, not more sound bites."
Boy, he sounds pretty darned conservative doesn't he? Indeed, try as you might you can't find anything in that statement that contains even a trace of some crazy ass liberal philosophy.
Well, not everyone sees it that way. The uber conservative super pacs/hit squads, Heritage Action and Club for Growth claim long tall Jim is way too liberal. So much so they vow to work as hard as they can against him when he runs for Tom Coburn's soon to be vacant senate seat later this year.
Both super pacs have been a tad fuzzy on who they'll spend their big bucks on, but there could be a clue, also tucked away in the pages of today's, The Oklahoman. The paper reports two republicans have announced they will run and a third is considering entering the race. Tulsa Congressman Jim Bridenstine is the one on the fence. Not one to waste time, Eric McCray, whose main career experience is in the heating and air conditioning business, has thrown his hat in the ring. Then enters one, T.W. Shannon.
Mr. Shannon hails from Lawton, home of Ft. Sill, down in the southwestern part of the state. He was elected to the Oklahoma state house in 2006. He took over as speaker of that august body in January of last year. He is another one of the fire breathers from the right rim of the local party. He is also African-American and a card carrying member of the Chickasaw Nation.
According to The Oklahoman correspondent, Chris Casteel, "He has been courted by the national republican party and was apparently being groomed for higher office."
He, seemingly, has a problem though. Because of campaign finance laws young, Mr. Shannon can't use any of the money he's squirreled away for re-election to the Oklahoma house in a race for a federal seat. On the other hand, Jim Lankford, because he is currently in congress, doesn't have to deal with such an inconvenience. Every dollar he has raked in for his re-election run to the U.S house can be used for a senate campaign. As Casteel puts it, "...so Lankford will have a huge head start (when it comes to a political war chest)..." That's an even a bigger deal than usual in this race, because Coburn quit early with little or, no real notice. In reality there is no time for, "exploratory committees," to test the water for potential sugar daddies. You are either in, or out and you'd better hit the ground running, gunning, and spending the big bucks a state wide campaign requires right now--as in yesterday.
Casteel writes, Shannon has released a list of backers which includes some local movers and shakers, but since time is of the essence, the odds are the speaker knows several things you and I don't--and--Lankford and his people are probably just realizing. Two of those things would be the cell phone numbers of the the guys who run Heritage Action and Club for Growth. The third would be how much cash they're willing to give him.
Yes, God bless America. The actual votes still count, well, some of the time, but they're expensive buggers and it's best not to dive into the pool without knowing how deep it is.
The real time wager is that, T.W. Shannon knows exactly where the bottom lays.