My friend Kurt (who I agree with about 85% of the time… and who writes one of the best left political blogs in Oklahoma) has written a recent article that I want to discuss here: OkieFunk.com: Ernest Goes To Cultural Wedge Issues
Kurt is right that Ernest Istook (current GOP US representative for the 5th district, now newly announced candidate for Governor) is one scary dude. I have talked about Istook’s record before on this blog (two examples that I found from Google cache include Congressman Ernest Istook writes patently stupid unconstitutional law and Ernest “I don’t believe in freedom” Istook strikes again), and wholeheartedly agree that he would be a horrible, horrible governor.
But that said, would he be any worse than Brad Henry? Honestly, I don’t think so. Henry IMHO is the worst governor in recent state history. Here’s why…
1. Brad Henry is a liar – see my comments to the post on Okiefunk.com, as well as this post from the JMBzine archives that details how Brad Henry LIED to the Green Party about the death penalty in a last minute ploy to gain votes in a closely contested election
BTW, here’s what Brad Henry told the Greens before the election:
Yes, I would support a moratorium on the death penalty. Events in Oklahoma over the past two years in which DNA has exonerated several inmates concern me greatly. I never want to see any innocent person imprisoned or put to death. I believe a moratorium is responsible action to take until we can be sure that no innocent person is sitting on death row.
This lie is bad enough, but what is worse is that Henry has had a worse record than Frank Keating (the previous ‘law and order’ Republican governor) when it comes to granting commutation to death row inmates who have been recommended for commutation by the Pardon and Parole Board. This, this, is the ultimate betrayal. Henry not only is a liar but he has been an active and enthusiastic participant in the Oklahoma state-sponsored murder machine.
2. Brad Henry has promoted gambling as the answer for all of the state’s financial problems. — I could go on for a long time about this, but to say the least gambling has an enormous social cost that is not being taken into the equation. (for instance, one Indian casino worker told me that at the casino he works, there is one suicide PER MONTH among the regular gamblers)
I’m going to make a prediction now… after the initial newness wears off, the main lottery ticket sales will be in poor neighborhoods. In Texas it is that way. Now tell me… is this is a good thing? I don’t understand why liberals who normally oppose hitting the poor with regressive taxes, favor a form of gambling that preys upon the poor by giving them false hopes that a $1 ticket can lift them out of poverty.
3. Brad Henry has promoted a pro-corporate approach to education in this state. – one example is this press release —- State Department of Commerce: Gov. Henry Seeks Workforce Partnership Between Business and Education. (thanks go out to folks who will remain nameless for alerting me to this commerce-education collusion)
I know on the surface of it this may not seem that offensive, but in the long-haul I think this is very, very dangerous. Education should be about the liberation of the human spirit, about equipping students to not just be consumers and producers, but rather free and virtuous Men and Women who can participate in our great democracy. We need thinkers. We need rebels. We need students who are not afraid to question authority. Brad Henry’s post-secondary educaitonal system will not do this kind of education. Instead, it will teach student to be compliant cogs in the machinery of commerce.
All I can say is **** that. Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in his grave right now if he could see this. It is an absolute betrayal of everythign education is supposed be about.
So I say vote Henry out. I personally can’t vote for Istook either in good conscience (because he doesn’t believe in the freedom) so I’m hoping that either the Greens or Libertarians will run someone to be a voice of conscience in this race, but if they don’t I plan to leave the ballot line blank. It is time for some accountability. Brad Henry has betrayed Oklahoma and Oklahoma values. The People of Oklahoma need to fire him.
(and if Istook wins as a result, it is unfortunate but probably not as bad as having Henry for a second term)