Congressmen Review Republican Agenda
"There are three fundamental differences between us and our friends across the aisle, and certainly in the opposition," said Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole. "They really do think your taxes are too low," he said. "They really do want to raise your taxes. They really do think the government is too small, that it needs to be larger. And finally, they really do think you'd be better if government was more deeply inbedded in your life."
"Get ready for a roller coaster over the next 24 months," said Third District Congressman Frank Lucas. "We're going to aggressively address oversight over all parts of government. It's what you told us you wanted, and we're going to try to do it."
Lucas said it is up to rank-and-file Republicans to nominate "rational, reasonable, adult candidates so we can change out that motley crew in the White House."
First District Congressman John Sullivan repeated themes he touched on during two town hall meetings on Friday, including the "socialization of this country."
Sullivan said the Republican House majority will continue to attack the Democrats' sweeping health-care reforms while offering its own alternatives, including some elements of the bill signed into law last year.
Particular emphasis was placed on the size of the growing U.S. debt and budget deficit. Freshman Fifth District Congressman James Lankford said the situation was worse than he thought, and gently pointed out that Republicans had a hand in creating it.
Lankford, a Baptist clergyman who formerly directed Falls Creek youth camp, drew the biggest laugh of the night when he said, "I come from a Southern Baptist background, so I don't know much about politics."
But he quickly grew serious while drawing correlations between his denomination's history and his party's current status.
Lankford warned Republicans to guard against splintering over single issues. "Typically, 'conservative' is defined by what I think," he said dryly. " 'If you don't think like me in every way, you're not conservative enough.' "We have got to stick together," he said. "We have got to stick together because the battle has not been won. If we battle each other, we'll lose."
Cole, too, warned against what he called "a cynicism."
"As challenging as it is (today), this isn't 1776," he said. "We're not up against the most powerful nation the world had ever seen with no standing army and no navy."