Monday, June 18, 2012

Oklahoma's Shame: A Grandstanding Legislature (oh, and Governor, too)

AltTulsa has been out of touch lately—don't ask—but even with one eye open we've noticed that the Republican leadership 'round these parts has been, well, dumb.

That's the conclusion of one of our favorite observers of the state scene is Arnold Hamilton, editor of The Oklahoma Observer and a columnist for Urban Tulsa Weekly.

In a recent review of the legislative session, Hamilton noted that our elected official are remarkably good at "offering solutions in search of problems." 

As an example, Hamilton cites a GOP favorite, the "open carry law," which allows folks with concealed carry permits to strap on a six-shooter for all the world to see. 

Hee-Haw! It's gun-totin' time in SoonerLand!

Hamilton's comment: "My goodness—is that really the message we want to send to the rest of the country? You think the brightest minds and best companies will be pining to relocate to a state that thinks it's still ensconced in the wild, wild west?"

Or what about the new law that mandates drug tests for welfare recipients? The Republicans love this idea, since  we all know there are thousands of free-loadin' druggies on the dole.

Except, as Hamilton notes, they aren't. "This law does not do anything of significance that DHS wasn't already doing," Hamilton notes.

He continues:
This was Grandstanding 101—yet another triumph of style over substance, giving [Gov. Mary] Fallin and Co. a platform to hoodwink rabid rednecks into believing the state's Powers-That-Be are pokin' a stick in the eyes of those who dare get sumthin' for nuthin'.
Well put, Arnold.

The state's leaders pose and bluster, all the better to polish their far-right credentials. As for tacking the state's real problems—well, those are hard. They can't be bothered with that stuff.

As Hamilton notes, "real leadership is in short supply at the state Capitol these days."

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