From the General Manager
Using the 2021 Oklahoma Conservative Index published in our summer edition (available on our website: www.oklahomaconstitution.com), I calculated that the average score of the 82 Republicans in the Oklahoma House was 78%, while the 19 Democrats averaged only 3% percent. In the Oklahoma Senate, the average score of the 39 Republicans was 80%, while the average score for the 9 Democrats in the Senate was just 5 percent. This is pretty clear proof that the lawmakers of the two major parties are polar opposites, even in Oklahoma.
On September 9, President Joe Biden announced that he was directing the U.S. Department of Labor to issue rules requiring businesses employing over 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly COVID testing for their workers. The reaction of state lawmakers exemplify the extreme contrast between the two parties in Oklahoma.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt responded: “This action is not just federal overreach. It’s unconstitutional.
I’ve talked about this with our Attorney General, John O’Connor. And I know he’s on our side. He’s ready to take President Biden to court the second the rules are made public. President Biden’s administration has no respect for individual freedoms. I cannot believe we have a president who wants to force Americans to choose between a vaccine and their job.”
Republican Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) issued the following statement opposing the federal mandates:
“The Oklahoma Legislature acted aggressively this session to stop unconstitutional federal overreach like President Biden proposed today. We saw this coming and are already prepared to block it in Oklahoma. This type of unilateral overreach is precisely why House Bill 1236 and the additional litigation funds for the attorney general were such big priorities this session. I applaud the attorney general for utilizing the tools the Legislature provided to defend Oklahoma’s rights as a state. President Biden is about to see the U.S. Constitution still matters in Oklahoma. This isn’t the only unconstitutional Biden administration action Oklahoma needs to challenge. Our country is a republic of states, not a monarchy, and the president does not have the constitutional authority to issue these type of edicts.”
Democrat House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) released the following statement in response to statements made by Governor Kevin Stitt and Republican leaders:
“Over the last several months, Governor Kevin Stitt and Republicans in the Legislature have remained silent on how to keep our children safe during this pandemic. The governor and those same Republicans hamstrung local officials with Senate Bill 658, which stripped school boards and local governments of the ability to implement a policy that protects the lives of children....On top of the inaction from the last seven months, Americans have been forced to parse through misinformation and lies pushed by an extremist faction of the Republican Party. ...Then, last night, President Joe Biden showed us that there are leaders in America that don’t believe COVID has to be our `new normal.’ In response, Oklahoma’s Republican leadership that has been silent on COVID since March finally spoke up – not in support of the lifesaving action, but against it.”
There was a time when Oklahoma Democrats would have railed against a dictatorial president of their own party who ignores the U.S. Constitution and tramples on the rights of the people. But, the Oklahoma Democratic Party of today is not your parent’s party of a few decades ago. The leaders and lawmakers of the state party are in lockstep with the national party. This is not just a matter of dutifully defending the actions of a Democrat President. Oklahoma Democrat lawmakers actually believe in and support the power of government over the rights of the people.
Ron McWhirter is one of the founders of the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper and serves as the General Manager. He may be contacted at the newspaper email: firstname.lastname@example.org