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Oklahoma GOP majority focuses on Non-Conservative Issues – 2008

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I am a conservative. I believe in limited government, personal and corporate accountability and the sacredness of our constitution. I believe in God, marriage and the sanctity of life. I am conservative.

Now that I have stated my credentials, which I would put against any so called conservative politician, I have to call bogus on the Oklahoma GOP. Apparently, as soon as they have been given the keys to control of the Oklahoma legislature, its time to do the bidding of their fat-cat CEOs, doctors and insurance benefactors who donated far more money to their party than ever received by any other party, rather than adhere to conservative governing for the needs of Oklahoma families who have entrusted them.

This isn’t a condemnation where I am rallying for resignations or democratic control. This is an accountability statement warning these legislatures that they better do the right thing lest they take Oklahoma conservatives down a neoconistic ride.

Why am I saying this? Look directly to the newsok.com article entitled “Oklahoma GOP Senate majority focuses on justice change” The article begins by saying “Unshackled after two years of sharing power with Democrats, the first Republican majority in the state Senate has a bead on changing the civil justice system to curtail so-called pain-and-suffering damage awards.” My first response is quite simple, why are these called “so-called pain-and-suffering damage awards.” Do we now diminish the concept of pain and suffering to make them so-called and hypothetical. For those of who have a lost a love one we see the hypocrisy of this statement immediately.

Now back to the article which states: “Senate President Pro Tem-designate Glenn Coffee, in an interview Thursday, said limiting lawsuit damages will again be high on the Senate GOP’s list of priorities, along with tax cuts and education changes. Other top priorities include creating a new agency to oversee performance audits of state agencies and requiring voter identification at the polls.” Let’s address each of these so called conservative issues one by one.

The truth begins with Civil Amnesty, the article is point blank, its simply about limiting damages without regard to the damages suffered. Notice Coffee doesn’t say if those damages are fair or not. He does not address the validity of the damages, he simply wants to limit them. I’m sure in the near future he will use cute vernacular and false statements propounded by the insurance industry, but he will never truly discuss it because he knows it’s a losing proposition. There will never be an honest and open debate on the issue because it’s a losing proposition for those seeking Civil Immunity. That sure is Conservatism to me.

Now let’s continue to examine civil immunity for a moment. Notice what the article states. “Republicans have some powerful allies in their quest for civil justice changes, including medical and business interests.” Once again, the truth comes out. Lets not ask those who practice in the arena, who have clients catastrophically harmed, lets ask those who seek to make a profit from lowering damages and creating immunity. The article clearly identifies those interest, its medical (insurance company) and business (Insurance companies). Can it be any clearer who is running the show setting the GOP Priorities? It’s not you, the average Oklahoma citizen, its rich CEOs and the Insurance industry. That sure is Conservatism to me.

Now what about tax cuts? I’m for tax cuts, I’m sick of taxes. I’m sick of seeing my money wasted to benefit special interests and to subsidize wasteful acts by our legislatures. So I say yeah, tax cuts. But look deeper, are we really gonna get tax cuts? The answer is no. Its only lip service to make one think one is somehow conservative. The article states “Coffee is unsure what can be done because of revenue restraints, but favors further reduction of the state income tax rate.” So no tax cuts, lets just pretend we are for it. That sure is Conservatism to me.

How about education (my wife’s a kindergarten teacher so this is near and dear to my heart). Coffee states this is a priority so what’s he gonna do? Is he gonna limit the growth of administrative costs which are disproportional compared to our teachers? Nope. Is he gonna help good teachers earn enough to stay out of the poor house? Nope. So what does the GOP really want to do? Lets take a look. “On education, he supports a bill to set up a pilot program where 10 school districts could operate schools similar to private charter schools. The schools would be relieved of some state mandates and would not be required to enter into collective bargaining negotiations. Another measure he favors would allow tax credits for anyone donating to scholarships to attend private schools that would be awarded to children in failing public schools.”

Now to the “pilot program” what is this really? He wants to allow schools to act as private charter schools unencumbered by “state mandates” and most notably would not be “required to enter into collective bargaining negotiations.” This is clearly an attempt to limit the teacher’s ability to negotiate for higher pay (that they deserve) and acts in actually decreasing teacher and support staff pay. Yep, that will help our teachers pay, lets take it from the mid forties to dead last in national pay. That sure is Conservatism to me.

Now the best one, he wants to give “tax credits for anyone donating scholarships” to attend private schools that would be awarded to those children failing public schools. That’s right, the GOP wants to take kids failing, for whatever the reason and send them to private schools, notwithstanding most private schools won’t take kids failing in public schools. So this leaves one option, a state mandated or created private school or mandating state private schools accept these kids. So why would we want to do that? Its quite simple, tax benefits for the uber-wealthy. I’m all about a fair tax, but this surely isn’t the way to do it.

I could go on and on but my point is simple. The GOP is already telling us they are not going to focus on conservative issues but are going to try to give back to their donors by destroying our civil justice system based on hundreds of years of common law by our forefathers and then they are going to break teachers in this state while only paying lip service to true conservative ideas.

Here’s a little advice, don’t try to out smart our forefathers. Leave the civil justice system as is because it isn’t broke and you have no shred of evidence to prove it. As the head of the physician group seeking immunity once said, we realize there is no problem with lawsuits or run away juries in Oklahoma right now, but we want to keep it from happening in the future. Sure sounds to me like the GOP and others don’t have much faith in their local paper mill worker, nurse, teacher et al to decide as a jury on anything. So here is my advice and its quite simple. Lower taxes on a yearly basis so as to no shock our economy. Excise out wasteful government programs. Lessen government spending. Help our teachers and give them the tools necessary to teach. Then get out of the way and let us live as free men and women under the guise of liberty so eloquently stated by our forefathers many times over.