Last week, Patrick did an excellent job of parsing the first ad approved by the Mary Fallin for Governor campaign and pointing out that her laser-like focus on the federal government seemed odd for someone wanting state office. After hearing about what she did late in the week, though, I think the marketing team’s biggest mistake may have been in choosing a campaign slogan.
As you read the following news snippet, keep in mind that the tag line of the ad was “No one will work harder for Oklahoma…no one.”
Yesterday the Jim Thorpe Museum was host to the annual President’s Forum, a gathering of University and College Presidents, the Board of Regents, and a handful of other dignitaries and invited guests. Speaking before this distinguished audience were the two candidates for governor, Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, and Congresswoman Mary Fallin. The format for the event was that Fallin would first deliver remarks, then take questions, and then Askins would do the same.
However, just before she was to begin, Fallin made a strange request of the event organizers; she didn’t want the Lieutenant Governor in the room while she spoke. Nor did she want any of Jari’s staff in the room. In fact, she even scanned the room for faces that might be unfriendly, to see who else she should have ejected. Apparently she didn’t like the look on [retired] State Senator Mike Morgan’s face, because she told the event organizers she would not take the podium until he had left the room.
Senator Morgan was a guest of the event. He was seated at a table enjoying his lunch, until he was unceremoniously asked to gather up his things and leave the room until it became Jari’s turn to address the crowd, at which point he was welcome to re-take his seat.
What really makes Mary’s behavior odd is that while she refused to speak in front of people who would not vote for her, the statements she made were pretty benign. There was nothing controversial for her to hide from her opposition. Besides the video of the event was public, so everyone who was forced out of the room could still catch up on every word she said.
The most likely motivation for Representative Fallin to ban people from an event open to the public was because it did contain a question and answer session. Since the event was public, that meant her staffers could not vet the questions and there was a chance that someone might ask her something she would actually have to work at answering. For instance, what if one of the attendees asked her to reconcile the way her first marriage ended with her claims of being a champion for family values? That would have been difficult to answer.
Anyway, if Mary is such a hard worker for the state of Oklahoma, it makes me curious why she goes relentlessly dodges tough questions. Remember, she refused to debate Randy Brogdon leading up to the primary. What will she do as governor? Delay the “State of the State” address until Joe Dorman and Andrew Rice leave the room (under the current political climate, they may be the only Democrats in congress by the time she is called on to make such a speech)? Pause the TiVo until everyone who doesn’t think her American Idol candidate should win leaves her house? Sleep with her protection detail?
I don’t know, but whatever she does, I doubt it will be difficult for her.