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Politics

Out Come the Claws

8:45 PM EDT on October 25, 2010

I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought. And certainly pray about this and hope that one day you will help us understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.

There are certain moments in one's life where news events burn themselves into the subconscious.   These are defining events that change the lives of an entire generation.  Pearl Harbor.  The Kennedy Assasination.  For early pubescent boys in the early nineties, myself included, one of those moments is the first time we heard the name "Long Dong Silver."

Personally, I was sitting in my seventh grade English class.  My teacher had obtained one of the school's televisions from the A/V department so that we could watch Lone Oak native, and University of Oklahoma professor Anita Hill testify before the senate about Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas' inappropriate office discussions.

The event was momentous because conservatives were welcoming an opportunity to simultaneously give Antonin Scalia a parrot and force Democrats to oppose the placement of a minority in a place of power.  While my teacher thought she was helping our understanding of the political process and helping us to determine for ourselves if a mental midget should replace the man responsible for ending school segregation, all we got from it was knowledge of porn.  Lots and lots of knowledge about porn.

Plus, after that day every soda can consumed at lunch had a mythical pubic hair on it until we moved on to high school.

The remembrances came flooding back to me this week when news of Justice Thomas' Tea Party activist wife dredging up the past twenty years later.  Using the most widely accepted methods of conflict resolution offered by psychologists, Ginni Thomas left a breezy voice mail accusing a woman who had no relationship with her of lying (a long-ass time ago) and offered Hill the opportunity to issue her an apology.  Obviously this is the best way to get this event out of people's consciousness, right?  You still think about this non-stop, I'm sure.

Surprisingly, this wasn't even the cattiest thing to involve an Oklahoma woman in the political realm to happen last week.

When Jari Askins surprised pundits by defeating Drew Edmondson in the Democratic primary, the topic that led every media outlet was the realization that Oklahoma was guaranteed to have its first female governor.  After one gubernatorial debate, this reality may set the women's movement back forty years.

When asked what sets her apart as a candidate from Jari Askins, Fallin's response began this way:

I think my experience is one of the things that sets me apart as a candidate for governor. First of all, being a mother, having children, raising a family.

In a campaign where Representative Fallin has used every commercial to tout her desire to fight the Federal government, when asked her primary qualification, she immediately ("First of all") pulls the "I'm a mommy" card.  Obviously, the fact that Lt. Governor Askins has never been married was a catalyst for Fallin to use this hammer.  Her response boils down to, "if Jari Askins would be such a good governor, why can't she keep a man?"

To her credit, Askins did not continue the cat fight when her turn came about.  The easy retort would have been to bring up Fallin's own personal failings as a family woman.  Hypothetically, if it had, I imagine the rest of the debate would have played out like this:

ASKINS:  One thing that sets me apart is that I have the support of our fine public servants.  In fact, this past week I was speaking to the fire station in Noble where the men risk their lives daily for the benefit of the rest of us Oklahomans.  And one thing I came out of the meeting realizing is that while they would appreciate the b.j.'s congresswoman Fallin offers, what they really need is financial support.

FALLIN:  At least I know how to please a man.  Maybe they would give you their endorsement without you having to pay them if you went to the gym every once in awhile.  It's not like you have family obligations occupying your time.

ASKINS:  Whore!

FALLIN:  Cow!

(Hair pulling, shoes being removed for weapons, Askins sitting on Fallin's stomach while Fallin bites her knee, etc)

Actually, that probably would have been awesome.

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