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No More Mr. GOP

By: Richard Engle

Many years ago when I was still young enough to be a Young Republican, I served as State Chair of the their state organization. We created an event, roasting Burns Hargis, in which most of the Republican luminaries of our state appeared. It went well. Our then Lt. Governor, Mary Fallin was among those speaking. Afterwards she commented on the success of the event with a compliment directed personally to me. “Aren’t you Mr. GOP?,” she said.

I latched onto the moniker with pride. I created (now mothballed and offered for sale) and acquired a vanity license plate (now available if you want it) “MR GOP.”

I was well on my way to being a young establishment Republican. However, my principles quickly got in the way. I thought Republicans were supposed to be conservative. I thought “conservative” meant the kind of things favored by Ronald Reagan. I thought that small government, constitutionalism, personal liberty, opposition to socialism at home and abroad, and low taxes were unquestioned principles to any Republican.

I was quickly disappointed in many members of my party. So, I switched to an ongoing effort to persuade my fellow Republicans of the virtues of these basic principles. Decades followed with little success. Yes, we had a some successes through the years. Usually I could take solace that Republicans in Oklahoma were conservative even if in Washington they were less so.

Over time I became less enamored with the GOP as I found violations of these basic principles to be the rule rather than the exception. I became unwilling to accept the premise that the Democrats were even worse when the Republicans took over in DC and in Oklahoma.

Big government, blatant violation of the rule of law, overt violations of our God given liberty, socialist schemes, and ever higher taxes were the rule of the day by our esteemed Republican legislators. While the best elected officials in Congress and at the state capitol are Republicans, they have become a silenced minority in their own party.

The state party organization has done nothing to hold the line on the most basic portions of what is a conservative party platform. The GOP majority in the legislature support bigger, more intrusive, and more expensive government. The leaders of that majority worked openly to oust conservative members of their own caucus.

When Republican voters moved significantly to the left, not only ousting proven conservatives, but promoting tax raising liberal Republicans to statewide office, I knew that there was nothing left for me in the party of Reagan.

I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me.

Richard Engle is the author of the novel, The Last American President. Richard speaks and writes often on political matters. Richard can be reached at (405)640-9219 or

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