Commentary Law and Policy

An Oklahoman Apologizes for Oklahoma’s Politicians

Sarah Burris

On behalf of the great state of Oklahoma I want to take this opportunity to apologize.

Dear Americans,

On behalf of the great state of Oklahoma I want to take this opportunity to apologize. Wednesday evening, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart interviewed our Senator Ralph Shorty, the architect of the Oklahoma Personhood bill intended to declare a fertilized egg a person. Shorty explained that he couldn’t add Senator Constance Johnson’s “Every Sperm is Sacred” Amendment to his bill controlling women’s bodies, because her amendment was an effort to control men’s bodies. Senator Shorty will control women’s bodies, but control of men’s bodies Is. Not. Allowed. I promise you not all of our elected officials are this hypocritical, and most Oklahomans absolutely are not.

While I’m at it, I also want to apologize for all those oil companies encouraging Sen. Inhofe to declare global climate change is fake. You see, Oklahoma is where the oil comes from. We horde it like dominated squirrels so when we suck the Middle East dry everyone at home becomes a billionaire. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’m so, so sorry about Rep. Sally Kern. I really don’t know what her problem is. She just seems to hate it when people are happy. I would psychoanalyze her, but she’s blocked me from asking these questions on Twitter. To be fair, though, she’s originally from Arkansas, so maybe that’s what it is.

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I apologize to Arkansas for that last remark. You’re not any better or worse.

Governor Mary Fallin really just can’t help herself and I’m profoundly sorry for her. It isn’t that she’s a super religious, pro-family values person; I mean… obviously, it’s just that she’ll say anything to get elected, even if it’s a lie or it’s hurtful. It’s just politics, you know?

And finally I want to apologize for the most conservative Democrat in the US Congress, Dan Boren who really only votes with Republicans a majority of the time. I don’t know what to say. His district isn’t that conservative, his father wasn’t that conservative, he’s just …. I don’t know. I’m really, really sorry for Dan Boren, and want to apologize especially to Leader Pelosi. At least he voted for her for Speaker in 2006. At least I think he did.

Oklahoma isn’t a bad place. We’re the home of Will Rogers, Garth Brooks, and Kane (from Project Runway). Of the wild and crazy weather that spun off the cult classic Twister! We bring you juicy steaks and when there isn’t a drought, we bring you the stuff to make bread. We’re so beautifully culturally diverse – despite our resistance to diversity. And, while some might exhibit CGB-like ways, bless their hearts, they’re not evil people; they sometimes just don’t understand. Some just don’t know any better.

So it’s our responsibility as progressives, as women, as LGBT persons, as environmentalists, as “rest-of-the-week” people of faith, to explain that what Oklahoma conservatives are actually doing has lasting cultural, economic, and quite honestly emotional impacts on all of us. Plus, it makes the state look like crazy town, and if there’s one thing Oklahomans can all agree on, we don’t want to end up looking like Texas.

I do not apologize to Texas for that remark, because I’m an Oklahoman, damnit.

So, I’m sorry. On behalf of all thinking and non-thinking Oklahomans. On behalf of moderate Republicans who are disgusted by their party and Democrats who’ve just thrown up their hands. On behalf of women who just roll they’re eyes and assume the courts will protect them. On behalf of the young gay teens who somehow make it through high school while just trying to live their lives. I apologize. I’m so, so, so very sorry. Please, forgive us.

Signed,

Sarah Burris

On Behalf of Oklahoma

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.

News Politics

Former Klan Leader on Senate Run: My Views Are Now the ‘GOP Mainstream’

Teddy Wilson

David Duke has been a fervent support of the Trump campaign, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

David Duke, convicted felon, white supremacist, and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, announced Friday that he will run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, Roll Call reported.

Duke said that after a “great outpouring of overwhelming support,” he will campaign for the open Senate seat vacated by former Republican Sen. David Vitter, who lost a bid for Louisiana governor in a runoff election.

Duke’s announcement comes the day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination in the midst of growing tensions over race relations across the country. Trump has been criticized during the campaign for his rhetoric, which, his critics say, mainstreams white nationalism and provokes anxiety and fear among students of color.

His statements about crime and immigration, particularly about immigrants from Mexico and predominantly Muslim countries, have been interpreted by outlets such as the New York Times as speaking to some white supporters’ “deeper and more elaborate bigotry.”

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Duke said in his campaign announcement that he was the first candidate to promote the policy of “America first,” echoing a line from Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night.

“The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First,” Trump said Thursday night. “As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect.”

Duke said his platform has become “the GOP mainstream” and claimed credit for propelling Republicans to control of Congress in 2010. He said he is “overjoyed to see Donald Trump … embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years.”

Trump in February declined to disavow the support of a white supremacist group and Duke, saying he knew “nothing about David Duke” and knew “nothing about white supremacists.” He later clarified that he rejected their support, and blamed his initial failure to disavow Duke on a “bad earpiece.”

Trump’s candidacy has also brought to light brought many incidents of anti-Semitism, much of which has been directed at journalists and commentators covering the presidential campaign.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote in the National Review that Trump’s nomination has “drawn anti-Semites from the woodwork,” and that the Republican nominee has been willing to “channel the support of anti-Semites to his own ends.”

Duke took to Twitter after Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday to express his support for the Republican nominee’s vision for America.

“Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” Duke tweeted.

Duke has been a fervent Trump supporter, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

Duke was elected to the Louisiana house in 1989, serving one term. Duke was the Republican nominee for governor in 1991, and was defeated by Democrat Edwin Edwards.

Duke, who plead guilty in 2002 to mail fraud and tax fraud, has served a year in federal prison.