You can say many things about our man, Al Gerhart, but none of them will ever be he goes away.
He currently runs a website named, electbrananthebigot.com. In theory it is satirical site lampooning republican state senator, Cliff Branan who is running for a seat on the Corporation Commission. It has one good line--the first--then sinks into a bizarre miasma of self pity and truly unfunny attempts to portray Branan as an elitist jerk.
Branan is, of course, the guy Gerhart tried to bully into moving a bill onto the floor of the senate. Because of the wording of an email he sent the senator and a subsequent press conference, Gerhart managed to get himself charged with blackmail and violating the Oklahoma computer crimes act. A short while ago a jury found him guilty on both counts and fined him $1,000. The decision not only cost, Brother Al a grand, but ensured he'd forever be known as a felon.
The presence of the site was reported by The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay a couple of weeks ago, so it isn't really what you'd call breaking news. A quick check of it today provides a couple of insights. One, it looks good, or at least slick. It should. It was designed by a professional outfit called Website Builder. They are out of Scottsdale, AZ. According to Cutestat.com the site is currently worth, $8.95, so if you're in the market you can pick it up on the cheap, assuming Mr. Gerhart is willing to sell it after the June primary.
Clearly, Big Al has obsessed on Branan. So much so he even provides a visitor with tapes of Branan and his secretary talking to an agent of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The conversations, in Gerhart's mind, proves how shockingly bigoted Branan is. While they certainly aren't a smoking gun on the level of Don Sterling's vile rants, the recordings do reveal what Branan thinks of, not only Gerhart, but the tea party wags who hang out with him--that they're all fucking nuts.
Branan's main concern in his talk with the agent is his family's safety. He recounts spending a day or so mulling over the text of the offending email. He speaks about his wife's fears and his kids' and what they had to deal with when he was accused of cheating on their mother. He is also worried about his secretary's well being. She is the woman, Gerhart said, "the scuttlebutt was," Branan was having an affair with. On the site Gerhart mocks Branan's concern, then tries to portray it as an issue of the arrogant nabob vs. the self proclaimed "little guy." There has never been any proof Branan was in the sack with his secretary. And, given his politics, there certainly isn't any proof Gerhart is a fan of the real little guys.
While Gerhart's site and the people who agree with him will tell you he was and is fighting the good fight against corrupt politicians, the fact is this whole mess came about because the head of the Sooner Tea Party was incensed about a single piece of legislation. The threatening email was sent to Branan because he wouldn't let a measure onto the senate floor which prohibited Oklahoma from having anything to do with United Nations Agenda 21. The non binding proposal is a right fringe hot button issue because--well--it's came out of the U.N. and therefore is an eco-socialist plot designed to destroy the United States. Hey, just ask Glenn Beck. As usual, he has all the details--they will be filed right next to the name of the real Boston Marathon bomber.
Electbrananthebigot.com promises us a true conservative is running against the senator next month and the Sooner Tea Party will make sure republicans from Idabel to Kenton realize Branan is a rich snob who doesn't listen to the public--that he is in the pocket of that arch liberal organization the Chamber of Commerce.
The populist opponent running against Branan, Gerhart seems so high on is, Tim Hiett. He is a former speaker of the state house of representatives. In his bio he tells us while he was a student at Oklahoma State University he leased 160 acres of land near Stillwater on which he ran a calf and cow business, rented rooms to other students, and boarded their horses.
Oh yes, quite the man of the people, because as everyone knows the average college student in Oklahoma often runs such a humble enterprise.
Neither Branan, or Hiett mention each other on their campaign websites. Hiett, not so mysteriously, doesn't list Gerhart, or the Sooner Tea Party as supporters. If you read the "issues" sections of both men you quickly figure out they're are running against the federal government and Barack H. Obama rather than themselves. Well, why not? After all, when the energy industry is involved it's best to go straight to the big picture.
The first truth here is Al Gerhart could give a rat's ass about Tim Hiett. All he knows is, Cliff Branan nailed him and he is going to do everything he can to make damn sure he returns the favor.
Unfortunately, the second is we're going to get stuck with one of these terrible goofs after the primary because there wasn't a democrat willing to run against them.
Such is the state of politics in Oklahoma--conservative, more conservative, and then so corrosively conservative you get convicted of a crime.
sic vita est