Category Archives: Congress


OK Primary is 7/27 and Why We Should ALL Care – Wherever We Are

I’m in Nebraska.

Why do I care what happens in the Oklahoma primary election on July 27?

While I do have a number of friends and contacts there, that is not what drives my concern. I have come to believe that Oklahoma is at the tip of a spear that for so many reasons, is pointing in the right direction. Oklahoma has a very strong, organic movement comprised of resolute people committed to the Constitution. It is considered by many the home of State Sovereignty and it requires less digging to find some strong legislators at their Capitol than in my own and other states.

Senator Randy Brogdon

State Representative Charles Key and State Senator Randy Brogdon, are at the top of that list; they have taken on issues like State Sovereignty and REAL ID, just to name two.

Representative Charles Key

Oklahoma has a number of excellent Constitutional, liberty-minded candidates challenging incumbents. More, it seems than in many other states, and more that are rock-solid on core principles.

Further, as noted in a piece I wrote at the end of May, the mindset of registered Republican voters in Oklahoma, at least in the one place where I walked blocks, was palpably different from what I’d experienced in Nebraska. Few NE voters asked questions when presented with literature, and then only about party affiliation. If the candidate was Republican, with few exceptions, that was good enough for them. Oklahomans consistently asked questions, voiced dissatisfaction with the GOP, and were clearly intending upon investigating challengers in a race.

Having said all that, life at the tip of the spear is a tenuous business. My understanding of infantry is they take the brunt of the battle. Rep. Key and Sen. Brogdon have had successes, but they’ve also had disappointments. Challenging candidates and their supporters have been shut out from equal access by the GOP establishment. Supporters of State Sovereignty, individual liberty, and limited government have been called radicals, liars, and even insane. Entrenched power doesn’t go down easily. It gets really ugly, as a matter of fact, the more threatened it feels.

The people at the tip of the spear can’t hold their ground forever. Others need to join them. Infantry troops need backup. I’m in a state where the incumbents were re-elected across the board, with the most successful challenger garnering 37% of the vote. I want to see the movement back to core Constitutional principles, toward limited government, and a restoration of our Republic continue. Oklahoma is key in that fight. And when you see a success in the legislature or a candidate, it’s not really the one man you see leading the charge; he has a battalion of supporters working hard behind the scenes. They deserve and need reinforcement and support.

What will happen in Oklahoma next Tuesday? Will the discontent with entrenched power translate into the ousting of some incumbents? Perhaps. If some of the challengers had just a fraction of the support thrown at Scott Brown in Massachusetts, sending establishment, bail-out voting, Progressive Republicans packing would be much more certain.

It is no too late to provide support to some of these candidates. I’ve met each of these candidates personally, and worked with three of them on a regular basis.

Over the next couple of days, I will be writing about each one in more detail. In the meantime, I will list them here. Consider giving at least one of them your support.

Congressional Candidates:

RJ Harris is running in OK’s 4th District. RJ is one of the most impressive individuals I have come to know; his thorough knowledge of the Constitution and ability to articulate core principles clearly and succinctly is unmatched in my experience. His personal character, commitment to his family, and to the country are evident in his balancing of work and family life, and through his long military service. RJ’s race next Tuesday is of key importance; there is no Democrat on the ballot.

The winner of the GOP primary will determine with finality one Congressional seat.

RJ Harris website:


In OK CD02, Howard Houchen has displayed ceaseless energy in traveling his very large district to hear from voters and talk about the proper the role of government. I have personally found Howard to be not only hard working, but well read, a thorough researcher, and impressive in his reasoning. These qualities were quickly displayed while working with Howard directly on legislation development supportive of state sovereignty. Added to his many other qualities, Howard is one of the most affable, courteous personalities in politics today.

Howard Houchen’s website:


1st District Candidate Nathan Dahm is wise beyond his years, some having called him “an old soul”. His on the spot recall of historical context makes clear the depth of his knowledge. He is a man who lives his faith proven by his missionary service and ongoing charitable work. To be sure, he became a favorite with me before I met him – he is a homeschool graduate. But what impressed me most was his character and humility.

Nathan Dahm’s website:


Governor’s Race:

State Senator Randy Brogdon has already been mentioned here. Senator Brogdon sponsored the Sovereignty Resolution in the OK Senate, worked to increase transparency in taxation, and fought against the implementation of the privacy invasion that is Real ID.

Randy Brogdon’s website:


Hopefully Nebraska Primary Is Not Indicative

Am I surprised? No. Disappointed? Of course.

Despite national polling numbers that indicate an anti-incumbent sentiment, history tells us that sentiment doesn’t often extend to one’s own incumbents. And that appears true this round in Nebraska.

An examination of the election results from the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website shows that almost without fail, incumbents won in the May 11 primary by a wide margin.

Also, I knew before primary election night that a disgust with uncontrollable spending professed on Tea Party signs and again, via polling, tends not to affect voters’ thinking on local issues. In viewing the configuration of yard signs around Lincoln, NE, in the few weeks prior to the election around I was shaking my head as I drove by yards that featured a whole slate of Republican candidates but also included a “Yes to Arena” sign.

The arena issue is mentioned here not because people from outside Nebraska have any interest in it, of course, it’s included to illustrate a disconnect in thinking about everything from unsustainable overspending to the proper role of government. By voting “Yes” to the arena bond issue, Lincolnites signal they are content with overspending by their city government while city streets fall apart.

And this dovetails with the majority opinion of Nebraskans who apparently believe the incumbents in their Congressional delegation have had no hand in the explosion of government and dangerous debt.

The message is: the problem is in D.C., our elected officials are doing a good job. This is not a surprise – Nebraska has not had huge turnouts at Tea Parties as seen in some places in the country – the largest number of which I’m aware, either in Omaha (total metro population of about one million) or Lincoln is 1500 – 1800. Lansing, Michigan, with a comparable population to that of Lincoln’s, had an April 15, 2009, turnout of 5,000+.

Michiganders, of course, have been hurting for a long time. They are feeling the pinch. Nebraskans, apparently are not.  They are unable to see the pincers coming their way or who has been wielding them.

It’s an unfortunate thing, the phenomenon that is part human nature, part result of our welfare-state culture, and part of the ignorance bred by our education system. People don’t care much about much until they are personally and directly hurt. Although we all are, in so many ways, already being directly detrimentally affected, we don’t see it because it’s embedded in the system. It is the now often heard analogy of being boiled like frogs.

Phew…I know I’m gettin’ real hot over here…how ’bout you?

Apparently you have to be NOT from Nebraska to realize that this state has the highest overall taxation rates within a nine state area. Also, apparently, you have to have lived recently somewhere besides Lincoln to realize that the city has a higher cost of living than it’s next door neighbor, Omaha, which has a much larger population.

A fellow former South Dakotan recently noted that a particular type of  building permit in Lincoln that costs $2200 costs just $45 in Omaha. To that example, I added my own. South Dakota has no income tax, so most of its revenues comes from sales tax and it is even collected on grocery items.  But I could shop much less expensively for a cart full of food in my small town (population 1700) grocery store WITH sales tax than I can in Lincoln without it. That small town store had no competitors and higher pricing compared to the stores in the nearest metro area.

The reason for higher cost of living is simple – there’s simply more government in Nebraska than those other eight states, and much more government in Lincoln than in Omaha, so there are higher taxes.

Based on the primary election results, a majority of registered Nebraska voters like a lot of government and a lot of taxes. Lincolnites in particular must just LOVE them…cause they’d better buckle up after passing that bond issue for the new arena.  Our city streets are in such disrepair, you feel in some places like you’re driving on an unmaintained gravel road after spring rains. But 56% of voters think we can afford a new arena. Using the search term “city budget” on the Lincoln Journal Star website yields stories year in and year out about city budget shortfalls. The majority of Lincolnites, like the majority of Americans in 2008, apparently believe we can spend our way out of this.

Yeah, that’ll work.

But, as I said, I’m not surprised. Not even at the supposedly conflicting yard signs. They aren’t actually conflicting. A former Nebraska Republican Congressman appeared what seemed like every ten minutes on local Lincoln TV advocating for the arena bond issue. He also just happens to be the Athletic Director of the University of Nebraska and the one man in the state that has the highest likelihood of being canonized the moment he passes on because he was the long-time coach of the Nebraska Cornhusker football team. (Did I mention that the University wants a new arena for basketball? And they’ll get to use it virtually for free?)

The State Attorney General was a featured speaker at a pro-Arena event. He is a Republican.

I’m just scratching the surface here – there are plenty more examples of Nebraska Republicans that don’t seem very limited government to me…and I’m not even going to get into the things that have gone on in the state legislature of which I’m aware.

Where the support of incumbents in Nebraska makes the least sense is in the cases of two out of three Congressmen. Both Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry voted to spend like drunken sailors along with their fellow Republicans while their Party’s guy was in power, and while they were the majority party.  Sure, they’re saying “no, no, no” now – but – they said “yes, yes, yes” consistently for years before.

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the Republican party not abiding by its platform. Apparently, if their own Congressman abides by the platform in the last year or so, or appears to adhere to Constitutional principles for the past five minutes, that’s all it takes.

Nebraska Republicans seem to have gotten back together with the incumbents and the party establishment.

Ah, well. At least there’s a really nice song to commemorate the occasion that comes to mind…

I recognize I’m clearly in a minority on this…but I think



But I am beginning to think  those of us who are in that minority may find the following is all we have left…

And perhaps…that’s the message being given to us from a source far more important than polls.