Archive for October, 2012

RJ Harris and the Oklahoma Liberty Movement

This weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down with RJ Harris, candidate for Oklahoma’s 4th district congressional race, to talk about his independent run and his views on the liberty movement in Oklahoma. He also spoke last week at a rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. We talked about many things, and I would like to highlight a few of the topics below.

Running as an Independent

2012 Independent Candidate RJ HarrisIn 2010, Harris ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to the same congressional seat, being defeated in the primary by incumbent Tom Cole. This year he has filed as an independent candidate. He has been endorsed by Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee and candidate for the 2012 presidential race.

You ran previously as a Republican, what is different about running, now that you’re not tied to a party in your campaign? “Well,” Harris responded, “there’s been good and bad. The good is, an independent can really just do what they want and say what they want, and not really worry about being the party nominee, they’re going to be on the ballot in the general election one way or another. And that’s a double-edged sword because the downside to that is, you’re going to be on the ballot, but despite the growing cries from the populous that they’re angry with the Congress, angry with the president, the conventional wisdom is, and it’s usually been right, that people are going to vote straight ticket down to the top, and with Gary Johnson being removed from the Oklahoma ballot, there’s no way to vote from the top of the ticket on down for the Libertarian Party.” He says that is why the two parties in the state have done what they have done, “because they know that there’s straight party voting in Oklahoma, and they know that if there was a Libertarian party someone could just vote straight Libertarian, then we’d be on the map.”

Ballot access requirements are higher and stricter in Oklahoma than most other states, which was also the subject of last week’s rally at the state Capitol.

This year, there were 57,000 signatures on a petition to add Gary Johnson’s presidential bid to Oklahoma’s general election ballot, but that was reduced to 41,000 after a vetting process, short of the 51,000 signature requirement to place a name on the ballot. As a result, Oklahoma is now one of only three other states not to include his name for the election next month. Additionally, the American’s Elect Party of Oklahoma named Johnson their presidential nominee.

Harris said a lot of people talk about being independent, or Libertarian, but in the end, most people will probably vote for a party candidate. If Harris does win his race, it would likely be an exception

Oklahoma’s Unique Place in the Liberty Movement

Ordinarily it would seem strange to associate the liberty movement or libertarian ideals with the Democratic party, but Oklahoma has a much different political landscape than most other states.

In Oklahoma, not necessarily other states, Harris says liberty candidates will have to choose between the Democrat and Republican parties. If he wins his election, he will probably remain independent, but if not, a hard look must be taken to determine how to get liberty candidates elected. He says that because the Democrat Party will not have any elected national representatives after this year. The Liberty movement needs to sit down and have a dialogue with the Democrats in Oklahoma, considering that all the recent elected Democrats in the state were pro-life, fiscal conservatives (Jerry Askins, Dan Boren), and restore the party to the party of Jefferson and Kennedy (ask not what your country can do for you)

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Ready Set Debate

It’s time for Presidential Debate #2 tonight, and the predictions are in. Who will win? Will President Obama make the “comeback” everyone seems to think he will? Will the “Romney surge” be stopped? Is debate moderator Candy Crowley planning to stir up trouble and influence the outcome?

Anything could happen, of course, but I have a simple prediction: the two candidates will go at it again, President Obama won’t look down as much, and they will come out about even by the end of the night. This will do two things. First, it will strengthen Obama’s support base and solidify his image. That will translate into a stronger final debate performance. Second, it will continue to help Romney’s numbers, assuming tonight isn’t widely considered an Obama landslide. At this point, I think just staying in the game makes Governor Romney look better because he has been portrayed as such a bad guy by the left.

Now let’s talk about what, of course, is the most important factor, the undecided vote. Until a week or so after the Republican National Convention this year, I considered myself undecided, but went ahead and made my pick then because there wasn’t a whole lot else for me to do, barring Gary Johnson getting on my state’s ballot. But what will tonight’s debate mean for currently undecided voters? I think we are close enough to the election now that a lot of people who have yet to tune in (but will be voting) will start paying attention. They might know something happened recently in Libya with our Ambassador, and they might know that Romney said something about 47% of Americans, but they probably haven’t kept tabs on the ins and outs of the political world like many of us have.

I don’t know how much influence the two remaining debates will have on their vote, but any way you look at it, both Romney and Obama have a lot on the line and cannot afford to slip up tonight. Also, barring any major national catastrophe in the next few weeks, I think the election is still completely up for grabs, no matter what any polls say until November 6.

What about you? Any off-the-wall predictions for tonight? How do you think the undecided voter demographic will be affected? Who will walk away with the victory?

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40 Days in Oklahoma

Driving around this evening I couldn’t help but notice some sign wavers on the side of a road in Oklahoma City, so I stopped to take a look.

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We talked for a few minutes there on the curbside as cars drove by, some honking, some waving. They are part of 40 Days for Life, a campaign to protest abortion. From their website, here is a more detailed description:

40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:

  • Prayer and fasting
  • Constant vigil
  • Community outreach

40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. It puts into action a desire to cooperate with God in the carrying out of His plan for the end of abortion in America.

The group, totaling about fifteen individuals, protested in front of an abortion clinic in Oklahoma City. They will have a march for life on Saturday, October 20th. Their website also has more details about the campaign.

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The Left Did Right

I’m not sure who did what, but whatever they’ve done, they sure did it. So what did they do? If you’ve watched the news this week, you probably have heard by now that Romney is up in the polls after the debates. Immediately there is conservative cheer and liberal jeer. That’s normal. The leader tends to control the narrative. What is a little out of the ordinary, however, is that the left is reminding the right quite consistently that they doubted the validity of the polls when President Obama was in the lead.

Sounds like the joke’s on Romney, huh? Not really – I have a fun “just-for-kicks” conspiracy theory about this. It’s not really even that hard to believe.

Here’s what I think is going on. All summer long the Limbaugh’s, Beck’s, and even Paul Ryan‘s of this world have barked and howled, calling foul on the presidential polling numbers. “Romney’s not that far behind,” they said. Rush Limbaugh even stated on his radio program, “These two polls today are designed to convince everybody this election is over. And Jan Crawford at CBS looks at one of these… I don’t want anybody falling for this. I’ll analyze these polls and explain to you why they’re bogus as the program unfolds.”

So now that the polls are turned, naturally the Republicans and/or conservatives are excited to see Romney in the lead. The left has been quick to point out that only a few weeks ago the right was saying the very same polls were skewed and untrustworthy, but now are celebrating their perceived victory. However, in the process of doing so, those on the left are also doing a very good job of REMINDING everyone that Romney is leading in the polls. It’s almost as if the Romney supporters knew the polls would eventually work to his favor, so they found a way to make sure as many people got the news as possible. Also, now the left can’t say that Obama is leading the polls and that they are biased toward the right.

That’s my crazy idea about the polls! Whether there’s a conspiracy or not, one thing is sure: the left dare not say the polls are rigged! Now, that whole unemployment rate drop is another matter entirely. And I decline to comment on it at this time.

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Ballot Access in Oklahoma

On Monday I covered a small rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Put together in large part by master of ceremonies Meg DeMarco, the rally was about ballot access reform in the state. My report on the event is below, followed by my thoughts on the issue especially as it relates to my state of residence.

Oklahoma has some of the strictest ballot access laws of any state in the nation. We have closed primaries, we do not allow write-ins, and we require more petition signatures than any other state in order to place a candidate on the ballot for a presidential election. Oklahoma was also the only state in 2004 to have only two candidates on the presidential ballot. Read the rest of this entry »

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