Instead of offering a hearty Oklahoma welcome for a sitting president, Gov. Mary Fallin disappeared—and thus appeared petulant and small-minded.
The same goes Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan—all of whom seemed determined to be hyperpartisan.
There's a proud tradition in American politics of putting the nation's interests over party politics, a test that state Republicans failed this week.
No one expected local Republicans to suddenly become fans of President Obama. But we did expect civility and common decency, which are values that Republicans claim to support.
Instead, they were extraordinarily petty, which says a lot about their character and the kind of party they lead in Oklahoma.
Tulsa Democrats, among others, took notice. One of their leaders, Michael Whalen, issued a statement apologizing for the actions of the Oklahoma Republican Party. The letter read, in part:
Mr. President, I want to apologize for the lack of respect you were shown by our Governor, Senators and statewide elected officials. For many Oklahomans, it was heartbreaking to see our leaders put petty politics over manners and common decency.Politics aside, it is an honor to have had a visit from the President of the United States. The office of the presidency is to be respected. To do otherwise is rude, not to mention unpatriotic. I assure you that most Oklahomans are taught from a young age that respect and hospitality are a part of the fabric of our great state.I hope that the warm faces in Cushing gave you a better taste of what it means to be an Oklahoman. True Oklahoma hospitality is far better than the welcome you received.