Ah, to be a senator today in Oklahoma, especially of the Republican brand.
They total 39 — all powerful members of a cozy, conservative club chosen by the proletariat to make policy decisions both large and small; to also write a multi-billion dollar annual budget; and, among other things, to carefully consider the qualifications of hundreds of their constituents nominated by Gov. Kevin Stitt for service on important boards, commissions and agencies.
Mind numbing responsibilities indeed, for mere mortals, and all must be accomplished in a compressed four-month period, while also answering mail, phone calls, texts and being available for endless rubber chicken dinners, receptions, events, votes and even cattle calls back in their districts that sometimes include real cattle to be milked, eaten or purchased…probably with lobbyists’ money.
Busy, busy, busy. But above all, when you are an esteemed and preening senator, the rules, traditions, decorum, courtesies and precedents of that august body must be observed, honored and cherished at all times — except, apparently, when it would be inconvenient to do so. Especially for the man selected by his colleagues to enforce them.
That’s right. Rule maker, rule keeper, score keeper, decorum decorator and precedent pooh bah Pro Tempore Greg Treat has opted for expediency, over generations of senatorial courtesy that historically glorifies the upper body above the rabble rousing, hot and empty heads posited in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. As embarrassing as the Oklahoma Senate may occasionally be — think Ralph ‘wanna get to know me better’ Shortey or Paul ‘The Prankster’ Scott — it usually can count on the philanders, fools, cutups and clowns in the lower body to keep it off page-one or not serve as the lead on the 6 p.m. news.
So, just what high crime or misdemeanor has Tricky Treat committed against one of his colleagues, who happens to be not only a freshman member but a woman as well?
Democratic Sen. Carri Hicks refused to confirm two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointments to the State Board of Education. She does so based on her well-known philosophical differences with them. Normally, usually, ACTUALLY ALWAYS IN RECORDED HISTORY — that is the end of the story — and Stitt, therefore, SHOULD SUBMIT TWO OTHER PERSONS that can be confirmed courtesy of a different senator who represents them. However, no alternative substitutes have been proffered. Apparently it matters not a whit to Stitt that Hicks has been the most cooperative of all 48 senators, having confirmed for him 14 other residents from her northwest Oklahoma City district to important positions in his executive branch.
But, as you may have heard, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore, in an ornate senate conference room, one of the most cherished and important of treasured traditions will soon be trashed by Garbage Man Greg as HE moves the nominations of Hick’s constituents. Temper tantrum throwing Treat will be thoughtlessly aided and abetted by memory-deficient and spineless elephants, who will gladly trample on the rights of a defenseless donkey. Simultaneously, seasoned capitol observers, pundits, lobbyists, staffers and agency heads will rightly know nothings for what they really are – empty suits, skirts or slacks, enjoying the perks and pleasantries of being called ‘Senator’ when in fact they are anything but.
There are only two things of value at the capitol. They are: (1) Your word and (2) Knowledge.
As for Treat on the first count, his is worthless, since he promised Sen. Hicks they would meet to discuss the nominees. No such discussion has occurred. As to Leader Treat’s clear disregard for upper chamber tradition, his behavior is disgusting and embarrassing for the hundreds who proceeded him in the once-hallowed halls, offices and chamber of the senate over the preceding 112 years.
And finally, I recognize some readers are thinking “who cares?” Well, you should. If Treat will treat one of his colleagues like this — in public, before rolling cameras, while watched by scores of ashamed but silent citizens — imagine what he does daily, behind closed doors to you, you and yes, even you?
It’s even worse than that.