Oklahoma is Having a Barack Attack
2:20 PM EDT on April 23, 2008
To be fair, I was one of the early converts. Back in 2004, even before his glorious speech at the Democratic National Convention, my wife brought him to my attention. I remember the moment clearly. It was a Thursday evening and I was headed to play flag football in the worst flag football league ever assembled by man. After picking up one of my teammates, my cell phone rang and upon answering, my wife immediately began recounting a speech she had just seen. It was hard to understand her since she kind of sounded like one of those girls you see screaming in the background whenever they show The Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. She was sure he was going to be President. As I hung up the phone my friend asked what that was all about. "My wife is about to leave me for some dude named Obama something-or-other," I told him.
"Osama who?" he asked.
And so it went in this state for four years. Barack Obama became a rising star in American politics, was elected to the Senate by an astounding margin for a first time candidate, and by the Iowa caucuses of 2008, he looked like the only chance of slaying the Clinton juggernaut. Meanwhile, Oklahomans generally thought of him as that black guy running for President. Or, if they were anything like my Grandpa, they thought he was Arab.
It seems like the state is coming around. (Not in time for our Super Tuesday primary, mind you, in which Hillary got something like 75% of the vote.) In the past few weeks, while Obama was dealing with Clinton's "kitchen sink" strategy in the run up to the Pennsylvania primary, the news out of Oklahoma has been all good for him.
While most of the Democratic "Super-Delegates" from this state sat on their hands and waited until their vote was meaningless to cast their lot, the ice began to crack when Reggie Witten and Kitti Asberry pledged their support to Obama at the National Convention. What the two lack in name recognition, they made up for in momentum building.
On the heels of Witten's pledge, OU President/Former-powerful-Senator-and-Governor/current-father-of-a-superdelegate David Boren not only pledged his vote to Senator Obama, but agreed to serve the Obama campaign as a foreign policy adviser. This is doubly good news as it probably means that President Boren will likely be lacking time to write letter to the NCAA.
This opened up the biggest news to date out of Oklahoma. This morning, Governor Brad Henry became the biggest endorsement to come out of this state. Henry, as a popular, twice elected moderate Democratic governor, is a huge get. Making it even more gargantuan is that Henry is also a "super delegate." And the icing on the cake is that this means a Barry Switzer endorsement is bound to be on the way.
In other Oklahoma/Obama news: It is clear that Barack, despite a friendly relationship with our junior Senator, agrees with The Lost Ogle's assessment of Tom Coburn. At the most recent debate, when asked why Obama had not bothered to crucify a former "Weather Underground" member he met on a subway * , Obama said:
And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George.
The fact is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who, during his campaign, once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.
Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those, either.
In other words: "I know whack jobs from all along the political spectrum, I can't denounce them all."
* Note: I'm perfectly aware that Obama served on the board for a charitable organization with Bill Ayers, but I would hardly call them best friends based on that.
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