12:00 PM EDT on October 13, 2010
In the past few weeks, these stories have dominated the news:
- A candidate for the United States Senate once admitted, on national television, that they were once a practicing Witch.
- The same candidate has an anti-masturbation platform in her campaign.
- A different senate canidate is running on an "I'm unemployed" slogan. This person has been indicted on obsenity charges.
- A gubernatorial candidate, who was landlord to two gay bars, said this about homosexuals: "They wear these little speedos and they grind up against each other. It's a terrible thing."
- Another gubernatorial candidate called his opponent a whore on the voicemail of a special interest he was refusing to help. It was recorded because he doesn't no how to end a cell phone call. Oh, and the opponent was a woman.
- An incumbent governor who bases their platform on urban legends.
- A candidate who gives us hope of one day representing Oklahoma in Washington.
- A senate candidate who may be a scientologist, advocated using 2nd amendment rights to assasinate her opponent, and accused that person of giving Viagra to child molesters.
What do all of these stories have in common? None of them are related to any candidate from Oklahoma.
This is unprecedented. During campaign season, no Oklahoma politicians are making headlines for doing or saying anything crazy. Where is Jim Inhofe with some nutty theory about global warming being caused by concrete or Tom Coburn leading a lesbian witch hunt in southeast Oklahoma? Even Sally Kern is making more headlines for ducking her opponent than uttering bigotted campaign promises--and she's running against a transgendered woman.
There was a time when a out of left field quote was reported on the news and we in this state had to hold our breath in hopes that it didn't come from someone we shipped to congress. These days, being a political fruitcake is the norm, and Oklahoman head cases are falling to the wayside. I would thank the Tea Party movement and Glenn Beck's paranoid rantings, but it goes beyond that. I think you can actually blame President Barack Obama.
His 2008 campaign that ended with him becoming the first African-American to gain possession of the Oval Office was predicated on the idea of change. This inspired millions of people, apparently including all of the people who did not vote for him. During these midterm elections, the notion of anti-incumbency is just as prevalent. The conservative opposition is so strident in changing the culture of Washington that they are not even satisfied with their current "party of no" representatives.
What that means is that people who want to secure office cannot behave like traditional politicians who say safe things and hope to appeal to the middle. In responce, fringe candidates that bring attention to themselves in less traditional, some would say "insane," methods are capitalizing on the desire to change the way things are done. Of course, this will actually backfire for the constituents who will be sending unpolished, borderline retarded freshman to the Capitol. They won't be able to accomplish anything and the incumbents who do survive will use their experience to gain even more power and influence on what happens to this country....but I digress.
The important question, then, is why is this state suddenly getting fewer headline inducing political quotes? Part of it could be that Oklahomans tend to go out of their way to not be trendy (see, Hairstyle--Fallin, Mary). More likely, it relates to this state hating Barack Obama enough that it wants to cling to staying the same. Change, on our part, would mean electing Democrats to federal positions. Instead, the voters of this state are pro-incumbents, meaning that our elected officials are doing their best to just ride the wave and hiding from the media completely.
That leaves us without much to for which to make fun.
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