Friday, November 26, 2010

Trouble In The Republican House: Speaker-elect Kris Steele Takes Fire From The Right

Kris Steele's election as speaker of the House has yet to be ratified by the entire House but it's apparent today a move already is underway to challenge his leadership.

The Shawnee Republican and speaker-elect is under fire from those considered to be on the far right of the political spectrum.

Leading the charge against Steele is Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore, perhaps the most controversial member of the House. He's joined by Craig Dawkins, an activist identified with the Libertarian Party and blogger also closely identified with former Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart, and blogger Ron Black.

The criticism of Steele went public when the pastor of the church where he is an associate pastor offered a prayer during the swearing-in of new members earlier this month.

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Black reported it this way: " appears as though Oklahoma is in the midst of its own Jeremiah Wright moment. And no, we're not talking about Robin Meyers from Mayflower Church either. In this case, we're talking about the pastor of the church Republican Speaker of the House, Kris Steele is a part of, as the pastor addressed and prayed for the legislature on the birthday of the great state of Oklahoma. Dr. James Hewitt is the pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church of Shawnee and when he was asked to conduct the opening prayer at the Oklahoma House of Representatives swearing-in ceremony, many of the Republican members of the House were shocked to hear language that we have become quite accustomed to hearing from the likes of Jeremiah Wright. An apology to what our forefathers did, a prayer to God that the legislature would be merciful and go easy on the illegal immigrant population in Oklahoma was enough to cause quite the stir with many Representatives, including my good friend Representative Randy Terrill - who has been an author of Oklahoma's legendary HB1804 - tackling the tough issue of illegal immigration. Sadly, the difference between President Obama and his culpability and Speaker Kris Steele's culpability is that Steele is an Associate Minister at Dr. Hewitt's church. Much different from simply being a congregant."

It is the contention of Black, and apparently others, that Steele masquerades as a conservative when in fact he's anything but.

Dawkins authored a story on his blog, Modern Patriot Chronicles, that purports to blame Steele for a lawsuit his mother filed in 1987 when he was 9 years old. The lawsuit, filed on Steele's behalf by his mother, alleged her son had been injured by the discharge of an air rifle. Dawkins writes on Black's blog that this "involvement" by Steele in the case prompted him to ask Steele "whether he felt his anti-lawyer campaign stance was a contradiction considering his past history of using lawyers." The case was settled out of court. Dawkins' spin on the 23-year-old event is that Steele is less a 2nd Amendment proponent because of it.

Black, host of an outdoor show and a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment, has his own spin on Dawkins' comments.

Then came Steele's remarks in The Oklahoman on Thanksgiving morning in which he said he wants the House to focus on what he described as meaningful legislation and avoid emotional, contentious social issues. That prompted a broadside from Terrill, who said Steele wants to ignore the conservative agenda that helped propel election victories earlier this month.

Artwork from Black's blog
Blogger Black reported Terrill's remarks and repeated what is becoming his mantra: Governor-elect Mary Fallin and Steele were elected as conservatives, but they really aren't.

We've been bamboozled, brothers and sisters, Black wrote. And there have been numerous stories right here on this blog dealing with the Jeremiah Wright-ish pastor of Kris Steele and his refusal to repudiate those statements and then a story on Steele's family filing suit against Daisy Manufacturing, and now the statements in the Oklahoman that shows Fred Morgan to be the puppet-master for Kris Steele. Fred Morgan is the State Chamber of Commerce President, former general counsel for the State Senate (where he was overpaid to make sure legislation passed Constitutional muster) and served for 12 years in the House where his claim to fame was a bill relating to violent video games that was later overturned by the courts as...wait for it...unconstitutional. Bamboozled. Republicans and Democrats alike voted for real reform, for real conservative ideologies puked forth by candidates and now that they have their jobs, We the People are shown that we are mere peasants. We are the "subjects," not the drivers of political policy.

Today, Black posted another broadside: With each passing day, Speaker-elect Kris Steele is showing his true colors as a moderate at best, liberal in Republican clothing at worst.

Will the criticism of Steele by Terrill and the bloggers spread? Will other GOP House members join Terrill in criticizing Steele's 2011 agenda?

And is this part of what appears to be a nationwide debate on what issues the GOP should address? CNN has a story asking that question, as discussed here:



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