T.W. Shannon will not be sending Mike Reynolds a Christmas card…
1:51 PM EDT on August 5, 2013
Mike Reynolds is back at it.
The state capitol's most vocal troll, rules follower and leader of the curmudgeon caucus is once again picking fights with the leadership of his own party. This time he’s going against Oklahoma GOP golden boy, socks boycotter and Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon.
From The Tulsa World:
A Republican House member has created a website that criticizes House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
A note on the website www.shannonforcongress.com states that Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, provided the information for the site "to allow the public to be fully informed."
Reynolds said the website was made public this week.
The content is intended to show that Shannon is not qualified to be in Congress or be the speaker of the state House of Representatives, said Reynolds, a vocal critic of House Republican leaders.
Reynolds said Shannon has indicated to him that he will seek higher office, but Shannon has not announced plans to run for another office.
"My intent is to hold people that want to represent me accountable," Reynolds said.
The website questions Shannon's official biography, legislative record, work history and homeownership, among other things.
Here’s a link to the site. It looks like it was designed with an HTML editor by a man wearing a tin foil hat (a.k.a. Mike Reynolds). Through the use of public records, the site compiles, outlines and questions T.W. Shannon’s biography and qualifications. Basically, it attempts to paint him as an unqualified political opportunist with a questionable background.
And it almost works.
Mike does provide some dirt on Shannon that seems somewhat suspicious, but he doesn't put it in any scope or context. Plus, he overshadows everything by tying it to the race card. It makes him look like the bigoted angry uncle on Facebook that he probably already is.
From the first paragraph of the ShannonForCongress.com:
It has been widely reported that Shannon is the First Black Republican Speaker of a State House in the United States and in fact he has flown around the nation attending events proclaiming this.
It has also been reported that he is the first Native American Speaker. How is this possible. What percentage of a particular ethnicity should you be in order to claim you are that ethnic group?
More importantly why is this significant if we want to promote a color blind society?
Actually, the more important question is why are you complaining about race in the first paragraph of your political hack job manifesto? If race is not significant, why does it matter?
Obviously, the answer to that question is that race does matter to Mike Reynolds. He’s trying to imply that T.W. Shannon was elected Speaker of the House base on his race and not his qualifications; that perhaps there were other inexperienced young white political opportunists that were a better fit for the job or something.
I don't entirely agree with that, but I bet race did have something to do with Shannon being selected as Speaker of the House. It also has a big part to do with his rise within the party as a fundraiser. It’s no secret that the GOP is trying to diversify its base and appeal more to minority voters, and one step in doing that is identifying, recruiting, promoting and advancing minority leaders from within the party. Shannon fits that bill.
That being said, does it really matter? It shouldn't, but who cares if Shannon’s ethnicity helped him land the speaker gig? It wouldn’t be the first time race has played a factor in Oklahoma politics. Just look at our state history. For the first 80 – 90 years of statehood, being a white male was an unofficial but understood prerequisite. Could T.W. Shannon have been elected Speaker of the House in 1930, 1950, 1970 or even 1990? Probably not. His race would have unfairly disqualified him. I doubt Mike Reynolds was complaining about the racial biases back then. Why’s he making an issue of it now?
(Hint: The answer to that question probably rhymes with "Bracism" or "Piggotry.")
Anyway, it's a shame that Reynolds had to focus on the race card, because he does offer an interesting look at Shannon's past. He questions Shannon's home loans, income and failures to properly pay for speeding tickets. Hopefully a legitimate media outlet and/or sane person can provide more insight into all this without looking like and out-of-touch old white man. While they're at it, maybe they can explain how a goober like Shannon landed a hot wife and wears shoes with no socks. That's the question we really want answered.