Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain's Candidacy Poses Problems on the Right, Maybe Even in Oklahoma

Headline of the Day, courtesy of McCain becomes front-runner.

But McCain's rise to the top of the Republican heap is causing a fair amount of consternation in conservative circles, which have been blasting McCain for months on immigration and other issues.

Driving in this morning, for example, we heard the always-cranky radio yapper, Neal Boortz, and a disgruntled caller take McCain apart for numerous transgressions of the party line.

Despite McCain's troubles with the right-wing faithful, we see new reports that the Arizona senator is now leading in the polls in the Sooner state, where we've been predicting a Huckabee win. The former Arkansas governor once looked to be the GOP's best bet in Oklahoma.

On the other hand, we hear that Huck is low on cash, which doesn't bode well for his prospects in Oklahoma and other Super Tuesday states.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

He's Done: Giuliani Campaign Swamped by Florida Republicans

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani pinned all his presidential hopes on Florida, a gamble that never had much chance of success. Tonight, Rudy's high-risk strategy failed; he finished a poor third in the Sunshine State.

Media reports out tonight say Rudy will drop out tomorrow, no big surprise since he's been a non-factor in every race thus far. More importantly, Rudy is expected to endorse John McCain, adding a little more momentum to the McCain campaign.

The Republican race is quickly becoming a two-man affair, with McCain slightly ahead of Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee will certainly make a big push on Super Tuesday, but our money's on McCain and Romney as the last two Republicans standing.

This may mean trouble for the GOP in the fall, since neither McCain nor Romney has been embraced by the right-wing base of the party.

New Website: Washington Independent Pushes Investigative Agenda

Our friends over at Talking Points Memo, a popular political website that we read every day, are recommending a new investigative site called the Washington Independent.

The on-line journal is published by The Center for Independent Media. According to their site, the Independent is "a nonpartisan news and commentary site dedicated to covering topics of national importance."

They continue: "Launched in January 2008, the site aims to combine the best of the old and new media by combining the reporting, accuracy and fairness of traditional journalism with the speed, voice and community of the Web."

We took a look at the Independent today and found it interesting and full of provocative ideas and information. Check it out yourself by clicking here.

Rudy's Last Stand: Will Florida Voters End Giuliani's Campaign?

Florida's Republicans are voting today and all signs point to a close race between Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

But the man who went all out for a Florida victory, Rudy Giuliani, appears to be stuck in third place, which probably means the end of his campaign.

As AltTulsa has noted previously, Rudy has steadily dropped in the polls in Florida and had dismal showings in early primary and caucus states. It's as if the more GOP voters know about Rudy and his ideas, the less they like him.

The same cannot be said of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who seems to have strong support among Oklahoma conservatives. Huckabee will probably finish behind Rudy is today's Florida election, but with continued evangelical support in the Southern states, Huck may be able to keep his campaign alive a while longer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

News Flash: Rep. Cargill Steps Down as GOP House Speaker

First it was his failure to file his personal tax returns for two years running. Then it was delinquent property taxes on his Harrah law office for six straight years.

Today, Rep. Lance Cargill, the Republican Speaker of the Oklahoma House, resigned his post as speaker amid, as one report put it, "a swirl of controversy."

This is a huge reversal of fortune for Cargill, 35, a Vanderbilt Law School graduate who was at the time of his election the nation's youngest House speaker.

According to press reports, Cargill will be replaced as speaker by Rep. Gus Blackwell, a Republican from Goodwell.

The Daily Oklahoman broke the original story of Cargill's tax woes, news that put the Harrah legislator in the spotlight. Following up, Okie Funk posted a good round-up of Cargill's troubles a few days ago, a posting that also called on Cargill to step down.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

John Edwards Visits Tulsa Tuesday

Presidential candidate John Edwards plans a Tulsa appearance on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Transportation Workers Union Hall, 11945 East Pine St.

According to the Tulsa County Democratic Party, Edwards will speak at 8:45 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, but guests should register for the appearance at the candidate's website, which is

Update: Less than 24 hours after Edwards spoke in Tulsa, he withdrew from the campaign. That was bad news as far we're concerned, since Edwards added a populist strain to the Democratic campaign. We have no idea about the man's future, but we suspect that Democrats haven't heard the last of Sen. Edwards.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

McCain Torched by Tulsa Writer

Presidential candidate John McCain has seen his political fortunes rise in recent weeks. Once all but declared dead by the pundits, McCain has won a couple of Republican primaries and shows every sign of being the GOP front runner.

As we noted in our previous post, Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill has come out as a McCain supporter.

But the backlash has begun—and the McCain haters are turning up the rhetorical heat. Consider, for example, a letter by Tulsan Charles Dyer in Wednesday's Tulsa World.

Some highlights: McCain is a "grumpy old geezer" and a "smirking fake." He's "Amnesty John" who has "pandered to millions of lawbreakers and their apologists."

But that's not all. McCain "has opposed tax cuts" and supported the closing of Guantanamo, which will "unleash al-Qaida terrorists on the U.S. prison system." Worst of all, perhaps. the ACLU "must love this guy."

Finally this: "Amnesty John is known for his terrible temper and sanctimonious ways."

Whoa, Nelly! Next time, Mr. Dyer, tell us what you really think.

As usual, however, there's another side to the story. Mr. Dyer doesn't mention it, but McCain is also a war hero served as a Navy pilot in Vietnam (unlike, say, chickenhawks such as Dick Cheney, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity), survived a devastating fire on the USS Forrestal in 1967 (you can look it up), was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese, survived five years as a POW and was tortured by his captors, was finally released and became a distinguished (though not perfect) Republican U.S. senator from Arizona.

AltTulsa doesn't always agree with Sen. McCain, it's true, but let's cut the guy some slack. Like him or not, McCain is an honorable man who has earned the respect of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.

Based on his letter to the editor, Mr. Dyer is unwilling to grant even this courtesy to McCain, apparently because the senator is not sufficiently right-wing enough and unwilling to toe the conservative line on illegal immigration.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, of course. But we submit that this take no prisoners, scorched earth rhetoric is bad for the Republican Party and conservative politics. It's also bad for democracy, a political system that depends on some amount of good will and civil debate.

Assuming the very worst about your political foes may make some partisans feel good, but it does nothing to make the nation better or stronger.

House Speaker Out of Touch with Voters

Rep. Lance Cargill, a Republican and Speaker of the Oklahoma House, made news earlier this week when it was revealed that he had failed to file his state tax returns for two years.

Cargill has now rectified that problem, solving one political dilemma but creating another one for himself and his party.

Cargill's new problem is his support of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has little support among Oklahoma's conservative Republicans. Despite his long and distinguished service in the Senate, McCain's views on a range of issues have made him a pariah among a wide swath of Republicans.

To put it bluntly, Oklahoma Republicans are unlikely to follow Cargill's lead.

We predict Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist minister, will win the Oklahoma Republican primary, a sign of deep divisions between Oklahoma's Republican leaders and the grassroots voters.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How Many Lies Make a War?

Answer: 935.

That's right, Sooner fans, we have an actual count of Bush Administration lies in the two years following Sept. 11, 2001. The count, made by researchers at The Center for Public Integrity, included false statements made by President Bush and seven of his top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and then National Security Advisor Condolezza Rice.

The researchers concluded that the false statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false promises."

Check out these "winners" from the Bush Administration's record:

• "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." --Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002.

• "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." --President George W. Bush, May 29, 2003.

• "This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year." --George Bush, September 2002.

There are more lies—many, many more—but you get the idea. (We didn't even bother to quote Colin Powell's 2003 speech to the UN or Bush's "yellow cake" statement in the State of the Union speech of January 2003.)

The Center for Public Integrity determined its number of lies by organizing the administration's statements into a massive, fully searchable database that includes public statements, speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and similar sources.

Find out more by checking the Center's website, which can be found here.

Huck Campaign Sinking in Florida

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and surprise winner of the Republican Iowa caucus, is hitting a rough patch in the Sunshine State. Polls out this week show that Huckabee is down to fourth place among likely Republican voters in the upcoming Florida primary.

But, wait, there's more: Huckabee's campaign is running low on cash, too. Media reports published this week say that he has asked his staff to work without pay for the time being.

Coming off his Iowa win, Huckabee was supposed to be "the next big thing" in conservative Republican circles. Here in Oklahoma, polling has shown Huckabee to be the Republican front runner. But Huck has a number of serious political liabilities as a national candidate and the Republican establishment has yet to embrace his candidacy.

Despite Huck's slide in the polls, he's probably not as worried as former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has bet the farm on winning Florida. The latest poll we've seen puts Rudy in third place, well behind John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Frankly, we don't see any hope for Rudy in Florida or anywhere else. Rudy's lagging even in his home state New York. It may be time for Rudy to fold up his tent and head back home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

About Those Taxes: Another Lawmaker Falls Behind

The same week that the Oklahoman revealed that five state legislators, three Democrats and two Republicans, had failed to file their state income tax returns, the Tulsa World discovered that Rep. Dan Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican, is behind on his property taxes.

Sullivan confirmed to the World that he owes almost $7,000 in taxes on a Tulsa home and a condo in Oklahoma City. Sullivan explained the problem by noting his on-going divorce and recent heart surgery, which actually sound like compelling reasons for falling behind on your taxes.

But Sullivan, an attorney, hardly looks like a model of conservative virtue in these circumstances. Tulsa voters should keep this in mind come election day.

The same problem is hovering over the Republican Speaker of the House, Rep. Lance Cargill, who failed to file his state tax returns for two years. At a news conference Tuesday, the World reported, Cargill refused to discuss the matter.

"I am human, and I made a mistake," Cargill told the paper.

Well, Lance, you're not the only one. Perhaps the voters of Harrah made a mistake too.

Harjo's 'Four Sheets' Hits the Small Screen

The AT Team has long been impressed with the talent of Oklahoma filmmaker Sterlin Harjo.

So we are pleased to report that Harjo's film, Four Sheets to the Wind, had its premiere tonight on the Sundance Channel (Cox Cable channel 208). The film, written and direct by Harjo, was shot in and around Tulsa. Four Sheets did well on the film festival circuit before playing at Tulsa's Circle Theater, where it packed the house.

The film was co-produced by Tulsa attorney Chad Burris, who has worked with Harjo on other film projects.

If Four Sheets is any sign, Harjo and Burris are destined for more movie-making success. Meanwhile, look for Four Sheets to the Wind on the Sundance Channel.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sleepwalking Through the Campaign: Thompson (Finally) Pulls the Plug

We've been predicting it for weeks and today, finally, the star-crossed presidential bid of former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson reached its logical end.

After many delays last summer and a slow start in Iowa, Thompson's campaign sputtered and never took off. The best he could do was a poor third-place finish in Saturday's South Carolina primary.

We'll be watching Fred's Sooner state supporters—Tulsa politicos and Oklahoma bloggers among them—to see who they will endorse now that their man Fred is history.

Will the former Baptist preacher
Mike Huckabee score some high-profile Oklahoma endorsements? Will Mitt Romney? Or will the so-called maverick Republican John McCain, endorsed by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, make some new fans here?

Frankly, we don't see any way that Rudy Giuliani can succeed in Florida, much less Oklahoma, so we don't expect to see any local support for "the hero of 9/11," as he would like to be known.

Stand by your radios, ladies and gents, because things are getting more and more interesting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

GOP House Leader Fails to File Tax Returns

Rep. Lance Cargill is the bright young Republican who leads the Oklahoma Legislature as Speaker of the House.

Too bad Rep. Cargill, an honors graduate of OSU and attorney who graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, can't remember to file his tax returns.

The Daily Oklahoma reported Sunday that Cargill was one of several legislators who had failed to file state returns in recent years. In Cargill's case, he was behind two years.

We don't know how this happens to ambitious young lawyers. Apparently, some of them get so wrapped up in telling other citizens what to think that they forget to live up to their own civic responsibilities.

For more on Cargill and his fellow legislators, check out doc hoc's comments at Okie Funk.

Chuck Norris Plays the Age Card, Badly

Martial arts expert and B-movie actor Chuck Norris is one of our favorite Oklahomans. Hey, who can argue with a guy who used his fast hands and quick kicks to become a movie and television star?

But when it comes to politics, we part company with our fellow Sooner. Norris, as most everyone knows by now, is a big fan of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Norris, it seems, loves Huck's right-wing politics and conservative social views.

But Norris did Huckabee no favors the other day when he claimed that Arizona Sen. John McCain was too old to be president and might nor survive a full four-year term.

How does Norris know? He doesn't, of course, which is why such speculation was a dumb idea.

Oh, there's also this: Norris, who has played a Vietnam veteran in the movies, was blasting an actual Vietnam veteran, one who survived five years as a POW and came away a war hero.

Earth to Chuck: Might be time to stay silent. Huck doesn't need any more friends like this.

Fred Watch: Candidate Thompson is MIA

The AT team keeps waiting for the presidential campaign of former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson to catch fire. This was the guy, after all, who was supposed to inherit the sacred mantle of fellow actor Ronald Reagan.

It isn't happening, despite the blessings of Oklahoma's leading Republican and former Tulsa mayor, Sen. Jim Inhofe.

After his weak third-place finish in Saturday's South Carolina primary, Thompson apparently returned to Tennessee to visit his ailing mother. Fair enough. All of us should do as much when our parents are ill.

But unless Hollywood Fred has a secret plan to overcome John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney, his presidential run is over.

Inexplicably, Fred hasn't withdrawn. But the clock is ticking.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What We're Listening To: Jimmie Dale Gilmore's Texas Twang

Continuing our turn to entertainment (see previous post), we want to say a few kind words about a Texas singer/songwriter of rare talent: Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

We don't know much about the guy, but his voice is a "high lonesome" wonder, somehow achingly brittle but smoothed over with a kind of liquid hollowness.

We've never seen Gilmore in person, but we were driving in Austin once when his version of Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry came over the airwaves. Gilmore's voice is so well suited to that song that we almost crashed the car—and we've never forgotten the song.

You can find that tune and several other oldies-but-goodies on Gilmore's 1993 CD, Spinning Around the Sun. It's a solid rockabilly album, holding up well in the new century.

Keep singing, Jimmie. Listening to you, even us Okies could get homesick for Texas.

What We're Watching: 'The Diving Bell' Tells Heartbreakingly Beautiful Tale

After a series of political posts, let's talk about movies.

Our latest recommendation: Julian Schnabel's amazingly humane and tender film about a French magazine editor who suffers a stroke and awakes three weeks later with "locked-in syndrome."

If The Diving Bell and the Butterfly sounds unlikely, that's because it is. But it's a true story, based on Jean-Dominique Bauby's autobiography, a book dictated by Bauby, who could do no more than blink one eye.

The film, now playing the Tulsa's Circle Cinema, has been critically praised and has turned up on numerous 2007 Top Ten lists. We can see why. It is, as the Tulsa World's film critic Michael Smith, put it, a "life-affirming masterpiece."

The film is playing this week at the Circle. In French, with English subtitles.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rudy's Faint Hopes Get Dimmer

While we're on the subject of the Republican South Carolina primary (see previous two posts), it's worth noting the complete collapse of Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.

Today's vote was another nail in Rudy's coffin. He won a full 2 percent of the South Carolina vote, losing two-to-one to Republican outlier Ron Paul, who garnered 4 percent.

For America's Mayor, the end is near. Even if he pulls out a win in Florida—a snowball's chance in Key West—Rudy is all but gone.

P.S.—Earlier this week, Oklahoma City blogger Mike McCarville was speculating about a five-way Republican race, with Thompson winning in South Carolina and Giuliani breaking out in Florida. It was wishful thinking then; it's impossible now.

Duncan Hunter Drops Out of GOP Race

No, we don't care either.

Bye Fred: Thompson Campaign Fails to Ignite

Sen. Fred Thompson was supposed to be The Man. A Southern politician and an actor (like Ronald Reagan) with solid conservative credentials, Thompson could have been—should have been—the Great Hope of the Republican wing of the Republican Party.

In Tulsa, Thompson won the endorsement of Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan, both of whom seemed to buy into the Great Hope idea. Several prominent Oklahoma bloggers also supported Thompson.

That hope died today in South Carolina, where Thompson finished a weak third, well behind the winner, Sen. John McCain, and Gov. Mike Huckabee, who finished a strong second and swamped Thompson's campaign.

Thompson has yet to come close to a victory in any state, a situation not likely to change. The last time we checked, Thompson's poll numbers in Florida were at an underwhelming 5 percent.

The buzzards are circling, Fred.

Friday, January 18, 2008

DeLay Says McCain Has Betrayed Conservativism

Tom DeLay, the outspoken former Republican House Majority Leader, has leveled both barrels at presidential candidate John McCain, saying the Arizona senator has "betrayed" the conservative movement.

Speaking Thursday, DeLay told Republican staffers in Washington that McCain has no principles and that he would not endorse the senator if he won the GOP primary.

"If McCain gets the nomination, I don’t know what I’ll do,” DeLay said. “I might have to sit this one out.”

DeLay, a long-time critic of Sen. McCain, said that a McCain nomination would destroy the Republican Party.

Our take: DeLay was (and is) a conservative hot head, which is not what conservatism needs these days. In any case, DeLay's comments bode well for the Democrats. Eight years of Bush has left the right rudderless and well as leaderless, all the better for the return of common sense to foreign and domestic policy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

As South Carolina Prepares to Vote, Thompson's Campaign Fades

Ronald Reagan he's not.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson's presidential campaign is fading fast. Thompson has yet to demonstrate any real political power at the polls, an outcome likely to be repeated in Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary.

Polls published today put Thompson in
fourth place in South Carolina, well behind the front runners, Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Despite these continuing troubles, Thompson is a favorite of many Oklahoma Republicans, including
Sen. Jim Inhofe. Oklahoma City political writer Mike McCarville and Tulsa blogger Michael Bates have also been pushing Thompson.

But Thompson is political history.
He will lose again in South Carolina, where the wiseacres have already made it clear: Thompson's not running for president, he's walking.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sen. Coburn Parts Company with Inhofe; Endorses Candidate McCain

Oklahoma's junior U.S. senator, Tom Coburn, has parted company with his senior Republican colleague, Sen. Jim Inhofe, in the 2008 presidential race.

Coburn came out today for Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Navy pilot and Vietnam POW who won the New Hampshire primary earlier this month. But McCain's recent support of immigration reform has been wildly unpopular among Oklahoma Republicans, something Coburn surely knows.

Inhofe has endorsed former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, whose lackluster campaign has thus far yielded little popular support.

Will either endorsement make a difference? The short answer is no. Our reading of the Oklahoma political landscape puts Republicans in the Mike Huckabee column on Super Tuesday.

On a completely different topic: Sen. Coburn turned up at a McCain rally sporting a fuzzy gray beard. Either Coburn is channeling David Letterman or he's trying harder than ever to live up to his nineteenth-century political views.

Rudy Spends Big, but Stumbles in the Sunshine State

Reports from the Republican campaign show that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is slipping in Florida, the state where he has staked the future of his presidential campaign.

One website noted today that Giuliani has spent $40 million in his national presidential bid, but his Florida poll numbers have actually dropped.

One recent poll show Giuliani in a four-way tie in Florida, while another showed him trailing both John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

Our take: Stick a fork in this campaign—Rudy's done. Giuliani finished behind Ron Paul in yesterday's Michigan campaign, a very bad sign. Rudy will do much better in Florida, but he's unlikely to shine on Super Tuesday.

Oklahoma Republicans aren't going for Giuliani either. Sooner state conservatives will turn out big for Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister whose values appear to fit the state's conservative profile.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Romney Wins, Huck Lags, But Fred Falls

Tonight's Michigan primary results show a major gap between that state's Republican voters and the preferences of Oklahoma Republicans.

Mitt Romney won the Michigan vote, followed by Sen. John McCain. The two candidates expected to do well in Oklahoma, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, were also-rans in Michigan.

Romney won 39 percent of the votes, while McCain garnered 30 percent. Huckabee, winner of the recent Iowa primary, came in third with 16 percent of the vote.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson received only 4 percent of the vote, another dismal finish for the Law & Order actor. Although he beat the "uncommitted" vote, Thompson was bested by GOP contrarian Ron Paul, who came in with 6 percent of the vote.

Theocracy Alert! Rev. Huckabee's Bad Idea

Alarm bells went off earlier today when we heard about presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's desire to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Speaking last night in Michigan, Huckabee said the nation's most important foundational document reflects man's standards, but should be changed to fit God's standards—or at least Rev. Huckabee's particular version of God's standards.

Huckabee's Constitution-tampering idea apparently seems from his wish to ban abortion as well as same-sex marriage, something that is already outlawed almost everywhere.

Whatever Huckabee's intentions, we are extremely suspicious of any politician who claims to have a direct pipeline to God or a God-like infallibility about political matters.

Huckabee's proposal may please his base, the Christian fundamentalists and their allies, but this is a dangerous and slippery slope. Politicians—even devout politicians—have no lock on the truth.

Michigan GOP Voters Turn Against Bush

One of the biggest losers in today's Republican primary in Michigan is President George W. Bush.

No, he's not on the ballot. But MSNBC is reporting tonight that Republican primary voters expressed great dissatisfaction with the president's job performance.

Michigan, of course, is home to much of the nation's auto industry and has suffered huge job losses in recent years.

It's just a guess, but we suspect that economic woes and high unemployment are a major part of Bush's problems in Michigan.

Huckabee Divides Christian Conservatives

Republican presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee is causing new concerns within the Christian Right.

The rising popularity of Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has alarmed some traditional conservative leaders as well as leaders of the what the New York Times has termed the movement's "old guard."

Here's how the Times summed up the evangelical split: "Much of the national leadership of the Christian conservative movement has turned a cold shoulder to the Republican presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee, wary of his populist approach to economic issues and his criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy."

The conservative split is also evident in the Sooner state, where Huckabee has a strong evangelical base among Republicans. Yet the state's senior Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe, is supporting former Sen. Fred Thompson. Tulsa Rep. John Sullivan has also endorsed Thompson.

We predict Huckabee will win Oklahoma's Republican primary, despite such endorsements. But Huckabee's road to the White House will be rougher in other states, where his religious views and conservative charm will be a much tougher sell.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

UTW Pats Itself on the Back

Tulsa's self-styled "independent newsweekly," better known as Urban Tulsa Weekly, published its Hot 100 cover story last week, a list that included both hits and misses.

Some of the hits were worthy choices. We were pleased to see Barbara Santee, progressive activist, on the list. Another strong choice: Rep. Andrew Rice, Democrat, who plans a run this fall against the official state dinosaur, Sen. Jim Inhofe.

On the miss side of the ledger were two self-congratulatory names, including the Tulsa blogger and UTW columnist Michael Bates. Bates writes a weekly column for the paper, so his inclusion on the list seems, well, a bit too convenient.

Even worse, the UTW staff named its own publisher, Keith Skrzypczak, to the list. Didn't they do this last year? And wasn't this a self-serving conflict of interest then and now?

We think so. We also think Skrzypzcak, Bates and the UTW staff would be the first to point out this kind of self-congratulation if it happened at another local publication, say, for example, the Tulsa World.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Huckabee Fundraiser Raises Eyebrows

News from the Bad Judgment Department, courtesy of today's Tulsa World:

Several Republican House members, including Speaker Lance Cargill, attended a fundraiser recently in the home of Texas businessman Gene Phillips, who has been linked to0 convicted former insurance commissioner Carroll Fisher.

State Democrats are going to feast off of this report. And Speaker Cargill has some explaining to do.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Florida Poll: Huckabee Up, Thompson Down

A Florida poll we spotted today shows very different fortunes for the Republican candidates likely to be a factor in the Oklahoma presidential primary.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came out on top in the Sunshine state, with 33 percent of GOP voters indicating support. Huckabee appears to have considerable support in Oklahoma, where his Baptist connection is likely to pay political dividends among conservative Sooner state Republicans.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, on the other hand, garnered only 5 percent support in the Florida poll, another sign of his flagging campaign. Earlier Florida polls had shown Thompson among the leaders in Florida. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

News Flash: Richardson Bows Out

The Associated Press is reporting tonight that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is quitting the Democratic race for the presidency.

Richardson, the only Hispanic in the presidential contest, finished fourth in yesterday's New Hampshire primary. He also finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses last week.

According to earlier press reports, Richardson is likely to support Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who, with Sen. Hillary Clinton, is leading the Democratic field.

UPDATE: A Richardson spokesman is now denying the AP report, so maybe Richardson's not out after all.

Hillary and the Dems Rack Up Big Votes, But GOP Sen. Fred Thompson Doesn't

Sen. Hillary Clinton stunned most observers Tuesday night when New Hampshire voters turned out to give her a surprise win over Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama.

Despite her strong showing, some on the right have downplayed Clinton's win. Oklahoma City's Mike McCarville, for instance, put the win down as a "narrow" victory.

Perhaps. Clinton received 110,550 votes, not that much more than Obama's 102,883.

Consider, however, that both Clinton and Obama were well ahead of the top Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, who received 86,802 votes.

And what about actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson, a favorite of McCarville and other Oklahoma Republicans? Fred left New Hampshire with measly 2,808 votes, a thousand less than the anti-war Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Even the gadfly Republican Rep. Ron Paul was light years ahead of Thompson, racking up nearly 18,000 Granite State votes, more than six times Thompson's total.

Thompson will have a much better chance in South Carolina, but we expect that former Baptist minister and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will beat Thompson there as well.

Our take: Thompson and his candidacy continue to fizzle. We could be wrong, but we don't see Fred beating any major candidate in any state in the near future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How 'Bout That Hillary? Clinton Proves The Pundits Wrong

Just when nearly everyone in the chattering class was writing off Hillary and her supposedly faltering campaign, Sen. Clinton wins in New Hampshire.

Only yesterday, the polls showed a widening Obama surge. The voters were telling the pollsters that the Illinois senator was their man. Political blogs said Hillary and her campaign were in a panic mode, ready to concede New Hampshire and try again elsewhere.

What a difference an actual election makes. Against all odds, Hillary pulled out a big win.

We have no insight into the minds of New Hampshire voters, but we like it when the citizens defy expectations. Stand by, folks: this could get interesting.

Thompson's New Hampshire Finish: Tennessee Senator Gets 1 Percent 'Mandate'

Television star and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson was supposed to be the new Ronald Reagan, the man who would unify the Republican Party and usher in a new era of conservative leadership.

But if tonight's New Hampshire vote is any indication, Thompson is no Ronald Reagan. The results we've seen tonight from the GOP primary show Thompson with a meager 1 percent of the vote.

As we keep pointing out, some leading Oklahoma Republicans have backed Thompson's campaign, including two Tulsa politicos, Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan.

Thompson's fortunes may improve in conservative South Carolina, but he certainly won't be bringing any momentum from his underwhelming Granite State finish.

Political Headlines We Wish We'd See

We ran across some punchy political headlines recently in the satirical weekly newspaper known as The Onion.

Here is one of our favorites:
McCain To Send Self Back To Vietnamese POW Camp To Revitalize Campaign

Also, there was this op-ed column supposedly written by Sen. Fred Thompson:
If Elected, I Will Have The Hottest First Lady In U.S. History

If you like these headlines and the fake stories behind the headlines, check out The Onion on-line by clicking here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Neocon Columnist Bill Kristol Blows It (Again)

Bill Kristol, the pro-war conservative writer whose track record in punditry is checkered at best, has continued his error-filled ways. Here's a web headline we found today concerning Kristol's debut column in the New York Times: 

Whoopsie! Kristol's First New York Times Column Attributes Quote To Wrong Author

After a Break, AltTulsa Returns

The AltTulsa team likes to make at least one post per day, a goal we have recently failed to attain. 

After a short break, we're pleased to report that we are back on the job. Look for new postings this week. 

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How 'Bout Those Sooners?

Unfortunately for the Sooners and their fans, the Tulsa World's headline got it right:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thompson Going South: Fred's Faltering Campaign May Pull the Plug

The Great Republican Savior of 2007, actor and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, may end his fizzling campaign sooner rather than later.

On the eve of the first-in-the-nation Iowa political sideshow, reports from the Thompson campaign say that Thompson is likely to end his campaign if he doesn't finish well in the Hawkeye state.

The latest polls in Iowa show Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee leading the GOP race.

Thompson has picked up some notable support in Oklahoma, where he has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan. Thompson has also been a favorite of several prominent conservative Oklahoma bloggers.

If Thompson does drop out (and we predict he will), who will Sooner Republicans support? Our guess: Rev. Mike from Arkansas. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: If Thompson withdraws from the presidential race, news accounts indicate that he will endorse Arizona Sen. John McCain, whose campaign has found new life in recent weeks. That endorsement is not likely to play well in the Sooner State, where McCain's position on immigration reform is highly unpopular. 

2007's Best Goodbye: Karl Rove

Political Headline of the Day, courtesy of The Huffington Post:

Bush Benefits from Rove-less White House

Unfortunately, we still have to wait a a year for a new president.