Mickey Edwards Goes Over to the Dark Side
By Steve ByasIn 1976, as a college student, I was truly inspired by a congressional candidate, Mickey Edwards. Edwards was espousing what I believed in – limited government and individual liberty – and I joined his campaign as the campus coordinator. His campaign slogan was, “He’ll do what he says he will do,” and for the first few years of his tenure in Congress, he pretty much did.
After a 16-year career, Edwards lost in the Republican primary due to a scandal involving the House Bank. Edwards, like other members of Congress, was allowed to write checks beyond what he had in his account, and it cost him his seat in the House of Representatives.
He soon landed a college teaching job in the Ivy League. I cannot say whether he was infected with the liberalism of that academic atmosphere, or it simply revealed the insincerity of his conservative stances taken earlier in his career.
Whatever, the result is the same. Mickey Edwards has now clearly abandoned any pretense of being a conservative, and has, in my view, gone over to the Dark Side. He is firmly entrenched with the forces that are rapidly taking us away from limited government and individual liberty. Instead, he is working overtime to move our country to the Left.
A recent fundraiser in Oklahoma illustrates that the goal of opening political party primaries to non-members of the party is to move Republican officeholders more to the Left – or as they put it, more “moderate.” Three political personalities prominent in Oklahoma were featured in a recent edition of the Oklahoman newspaper. (The Oklahoman itself was once a conservative daily newspaper, but since the passing of its founding family, and it's becoming part of the left-wing USA Today network, it regularly slants its so-called news articles to favor progressive and Democrat positions).
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, who in 2017 was rated a mere 13 percent on the Oklahoma Conservative Index, was among the participants advocating ending the state’s closed primary system. Holt was registered as a Republican while in the state Senate.
A closed primary is a method of choosing the candidates to represent the political party in the general election in which only registered party members can participate, while an open primary allows any registered voter to vote in any political party’s primary. This would seem to make sense, as one would not think Baptists should choose the pope in the Catholic Church, or that Methodists should select deacons at a local Baptist congregation.
Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum, another well-known RINO (Republican in Name Only) in the Sooner State, explained why he supports the open primary system, arguing that it leads “to more effective government by reducing the potential for partisanship in office.” Of course, a government can be quite effective, without being a good government. Adolf Hitler, Mao, and Joseph Stalin ran pretty effective governments, but our nation was founded on the idea that the role of government is to protect our God-given liberties, not just be “effective.”
The Oklahoman article, which chose not to quote anyone who had a problem with open primaries, factually erred when it said that participant Mickey Edwards was a “prominent” Republican, along with Holt and Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn. While Holt and Osborn – both of which previously served in the Oklahoma Legislature, with low conservative ratings – are certainly still registered as Republicans, Mickey Edwards is not a Republican. It is true that Edwards was once a registered Republican, but he formally left the party a few years ago.
Before exiting the party, Edwards had drifted away from the strongly conservative stance that he took early in his political career, when he represented an Oklahoma congressional district from 1977-1993. Edwards won election in 1976 as a staunch conservative Republican, and during his tenure in Congress, he voted mostly conservative. He even publicly converted from Judaism to Christianity in the mid-70s, proclaiming himself a “born-again” Christian. But, not long after leaving Congress, Edwards renounced that conversion, and returned to the Jewish faith.
Edwards not only renounced Christianity, he abandoned the public conservative stance he had taken when he was running for office, and eventually even left the Republican Party. He joined the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization dedicated to globalism. He also has been a high-ranking officer in the globalist Aspin Institute. He voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and endorsed Joe Biden in 2020. At a book signing, held at the University of Oklahoma a few years ago for his book, The Parties vs. The People, Edwards lamented that Utah had chosen Mike Lee (a staunch conservative) as their U.S. senator, to replace a “moderate” Republican.
In the Oklahoman article, Edwards explained that the closed primary “doesn’t encourage the selection of candidates who might have more moderate or centrist views.”
This is clearly what this is all about – moving the Republican Party closer to the Democratic Party. In Oklahoma, a state which has an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, every statewide elected official is Republican, and has not voted Democrat for president since 1964, it has become obvious that politicians who are Democrats at heart often run as Republicans. Matt Hindman, a political science professor at the University of Tulsa, was quoted as saying that many voters are “working within the system, registering as Republicans to try and elect more moderate GOP candidates at the primary stage.” That is obvious to anyone who has noted the large number of “Republicans” in the Oklahoma Legislature – like Mark McBride of Moore – who act more like Democrats than Republicans.
The name of the group promoting the open primary in Oklahoma is Oklahomans United for Progress, and their goal is to get the idea on the ballot through Oklahoma’s initiative petition process.
Other schemes designed to push our politics to the Left include the “ranked-choice” voting system, and the so-called “jungle primary.” In ranked-choice, voters are asked to vote for their second-choice, as well as their first choice in a “jungle primary.” This has tended to help more “moderate” candidates, as was the case in a recent election in Alaska, in which all candidates, regardless of political party, run in one giant “jungle” primary.
The Oklahoma effort is part of a national effort. On the Open Primary site, a photograph has a woman holding a sign reading, “Closed Primary = Voter Suppression.” Of course, “voter suppression” is a charge leveled quite often by Democrats, such as Stacey Abrams in Georgia. In other words, this is what is all about – electing more Democrats and Republicans who will vote like Democrats.
And Mickey Edwards is part of it.
Steve Byas is Editor of the Oklahoma Constitution and author of several magazine articles and books, including History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org