Yes, Sooner fans, the inmates are running the asylum.
We're talking about the state's Republican zealots, the noisy and completely unhinged blowhards who have taken over the Oklahoma Republican Party. For these fine folks, no conspiracy theory is too wacky to embrace and no federal program actually helps anyone.
If this sounds like leftist hyperbole, consider the following reports from down the Turner Turnpike:
• The legislature is considering its own "birther" legislation, a bill to require presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens. State Sen. Ralph Shortey, an OKC Republican, supported the bill this way: "The situation [read: right-wing lie] with our president has instigated this fear." Really?
• Rep. Sally Kern, an OKC Republican, wants to outlaw the judicial use of foreign law in Oklahoma. This legislation would probably be unconstitutional. It would seem to be nonsensical as well, since Kern has been quoted as saying it "targets all religious laws." If so, wouldn't the Ten Commandments be off limits to Oklahoma courts?
• Even Tulsa County's Republican Party, which should know better, is going over the edge, pushing a GOP "purity test." Thus, all gun legislation is unconstitutional (really!) and if you don't believe this "core principle," you aren't a True Republican. So says Sally Bell, outgoing Tulsa County GOP chairwoman. So much for the GOP's big tent.
• Speaking of the Tulsa Republican convention, the GOP know-nothings also blasted Gov. Mary Fallin—a fellow Republican—for trying to respond rationally to the healthcare crisis. For these folks Fallin, hardly a bleeding-heart liberal, is a traitor to the True Conservative cause. So much for Reagan's 11th Commandment.
There's more, unfortunately, but you get the idea. Oklahoma's far-right zealots won't be satisfied until every reasonable idea or moderate proposal has a stake through its heart. This is a Red State, by God, and nothing—absolutely nothing—that isn't Ideologically Pure can be tolerated.