Update [2008-11-07, 11: 35 AM]: Just as I published this, Tulsa area Daily Kos diarist Droogie posted “What’s the matter with Oklahoma” where an important question is sure to get a lively and equally important debate.
On several fronts, Oklahoma once again became the shame of the nation Tuesday night. Obama got a lower percentage of votes here than any other state in the nation. Republicans took over leadership in the state legislature (for the part two years, the power has been shared equally between Ds and Rs), where they will be free-er to gut civil rights and promote nativism, making our state yet poorer financially and socially.
And in notable individual races, from corrupt Jim Inhofe to American Taliban charter member Sally Kern, Republicans who shame Oklahoma world-wide were handily re-elected.
Although many Oklahomans will proudly claim the title of reddest state, in the real world, things are moving forward and we are lagging behind, and rapidly gaining the unhelpful notoriety as the country’s idiot child. Thankfully, Obama is not vindictive against his opponents in the way George W. Bush has been and we will receive the benefit of new progressive policies and legislation without prejudice (W clearly thought he was only president of those who voted for him).
One of the sadder parts of election night in Oklahoma was seeing Jim Roth’s political career get derailed. I have also heard good things about his opponent, and I hope she does a good job. But she got the job, perhaps through no fault of her own, through homophobia and dirty politics.
A postcard with inflamatory information about Roth’s sexual orientation (he is openly gay) and his political history was sent throughout Oklahoma, and I suspect had a lot to do with his losing the race, despite being endorsed by no less than the arch-conservative Oklahoman.
This postcard was sent out by a group who used Roth’s homosexuality to malign his character, and misrepresent his values. Not that any of it would affect his decisions on the Corporation Commission, if he’s gay, he’s evil, and must be crushed.
He gave a lovely concession speech, which is worth watching if you are not already acquainted with Roth. I can only hope that Obama supporter Brad Henry, who originally appointed Roth to the Corporation Commission, will mention him to the President-Elect. It would serve Oklahoma right to lose yet another gifted progressive to an out of state future. Oklahoma already has a serious brain drain, and likely now it will only speed up.