Oklahoma’s delegation full of RINOs has a problem on its hands. They got all of the state’s members to vote for last December’s omnibus bill, which represented the most breathtaking capitulation of any party in control of Congress on a budget in recent memory. However, one member, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (District 1), voted against it, exposing the rest of the members to the wrath of the voters. In comes a Boehner-acolyte to challenge Bridenstine in a primary and cleanse the delegation of conservatism.
As we observed last week, Tom Atkinson has taken the rare step of blanketing the airwaves with $1 million in ads almost two months before the June 28 primary, without running any semblance of a public campaign on the ground. He is running as a conservative outsider, but is uncannily challenging the one conservative outsider in the delegation.
Over the weekend, the media finally got a comment from this mystery mega-bucks candidate and revealed that this “conservative” would have supported last year’s omnibus bill. And like a professional insider, Atkinson knew to use the Boehner/Ryan talking point in defending the bill. You see, according to Atkinson, this was not a budget bill that countermanded the only budget cuts in recent memory and funded every single illegal and pernicious act of the Obama administration. This was really a gas and oil bill!
His challenger, Tom Atkinson, a former federal prosecutor and judge who is president of an oil company in Tulsa, said Bridenstine’s vote against the bill — and its provision lifting the crude export ban — shows “he is completely disconnected from the constituents he supposedly represents.”
“I’m an energy guy, and this is an oil-and-gas producing state,” Atkinson, a Republican, said. “I would have voted to lift the ban. I would have voted with the rest of the delegation.” [The Oklahoman, May 8, 2016]
Without ever having served in politics, Atkinson has latched onto one of the cleverer artifices used by the K Street Republicans.
They capitulate on the given battle of our time, one that will have tremendous long term consequences, but distract voters with a shiny object. In the case of the omnibus, not only did the bill grant Obama an assortment of Christmas gifts and pork, it codified his entire transformational agenda and has made it immutable. The illegal aliens from Central America are now spread around the country and are impossible to track down. Over 540,000 Social Security cards have been issued to recipients of Obama’s first amnesty. Syrian refugees are being settled all over the country against the will of the states. Criminal aliens who have been released due to the funding of Obama’s amnesty are killing Americans in drunk driving incidents.
And speaking of energy policy, this bill stripped out all policy riders blocking Obama’s war on power plants and other EPA regulations. Chuck Schumer famously said:
If you would have told me this year that we’d be standing here celebrating the passage of an omnibus bill with no poison pill riders at higher (spending) levels above sequester than even the president requested, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are. This bill is a great victory for the principles Democrats stand for.
Yet, Republicans need something to dangle in front of their constituents, right? Thus, in every budget capitulation, Democrats allow them to toss in a non-sequitur to the fight at hand and use it to ingratiate themselves to their voters. This time it was the lifting of the ban on crude oil exports. The problem is this provision effectively did nothing to change the status quo. Obama can still block the issuance of permits by using loopholes. Either way, the outcome of this issue hinges on who becomes president after Obama, in which case any Republican president would issue permits. It made no difference for the final year of Obama’s presidency. The increased debt, funding of Obamacare, amnesty, refugees, and Obama’s irreversible war on power plants, on the other hand, will be indelible.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.