Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
The empty suits, Kevin Stitt and Ryan Walters
Note: Sports has the day off today. So does the paywall. Please, read every word.
They are the emptiest suits.
They are men who do not know what they do not know.
They are so corrupt, one cannot keep up.
Perhaps they don’t know they’re corrupt, because such is the fate of narcissists who lie first to themselves and everyone else next.
They are entirely, indisputably, irrevocably, perpetually and universally about themselves.
They are Kevin Stitt.
And Ryan Walters.
Maybe you’ve heard of them.
A governor who wants another term because he hasn’t enriched himself enough, nor performed all the political favors that might enrich him further down the line.
An education secretary who wants to be state superintendent of public education; bizarre given his being dead set against the thing for which he’s running, ostensibly, to defend, advocate, encourage and promote.
A recent Stitt campaign ad — not a dark money ad on his behalf — tells us this:
“Kevin Stitt was right about COVID-19. The left criticized him, but Stitt kept kids safely in school and our businesses open. And just look at how it’s helping all across Oklahoma.
“Our children learning. Small businesses growing. One of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. With Kevin Stitt, we’re poised for even greater things because Oklahoma’s turnaround is working.”
Breathtaking in its inanity.
He was right about COVID-19?
Perhaps he kept kids in school and businesses open, yet 431 of every 100,000 Oklahomans have died of COVID related illnesses since the pandemic’s onset, about 15,000 deaths total; the highest death rate in the country save Mississippi and Arizona, which came in at 433 and 436 deaths per 100,000.
Our nearest neighbors, Kansas (330) and Texas (314), haven’t suffered rates nearly so high.
A more accurate slogan would have been “In Oklahoma, we’re dying to stay in business.”
And just look how it’s helping?
“Our children learning.”
Yes, children learn.
“Small businesses growing.”
Yes, it’s their nature to grow.
It might as well have been, “children growing” and “small businesses learning,” because they do that, too.
Or “families having meals together” and “kids fighting over the remote” because those things also happen each day in Oklahoma and 49 other states.
We’re supposed to give him a second term because patterns that have existed for decades and decades remain patterns?
To say nothing of the fact Oklahoma doesn’t grade out so wonderfully, or even close, economically and educationally to other states, but that’s a whole other column.
What’s clear is Stitt has nothing upon which to run, only a reasonably talented videographer and copywriter able to make nothing look and sound like the tiniest bit something.
It’s obfuscation of the first order, Stitt’s big noggin and mug smiling through the screen, like “he’s got this,” while he’s been a four-year embarrassment, from going to war with the tribes, to mismanaging millions for the benefit of Swadley’s Bar-B-Q, to taking $18 million in federal dough earmarked for education and turning $10 million of it into school vouchers and the rest into a program contractually overseen by an out-of-state firm that allowed fraudulent purchases without oversight, a state of affairs Stitt’s administration did nothing to answer to until the scandal finally broke and, chastened, filed suit against its business partner instead.
But when you’ve got nothing to say and real scandals to hide, maybe smile through meaningless words and see what happens.
Walters can’t even do that.
All he can do is run around in his car with a whiteboard, some markers and this look of fear on his face, unable to face the possibility his gravy train might skip the track.
Two days ago, wearing a MAGA baseball cap, because nothing screams I’m-the-smartest-person-in-the-room more than that, Walters created a Twitter video that did not begin to take on his opponent, Jena Nelson, but Stitt’s opponent, Joy Hofmeister.
Walters claimed Hofmeister was “for sanctuary cities, for an open border, she is for illegal immigrants pouring into the state of Oklahoma.”
“I will not allow that to happen, Governor Stitt will not allow that to happen,” he said. “We do not want fentanyl pouring into our state, we do not want the criminal cartels pouring across our state, we will not allow Oklahoma to become a sanctuary state like Joe Hofmeister — [yes, he really said “Joe” Hofmeister] — and Joe Biden want.”
He said all of this in front of a whiteboard that said “Joy+Sanctuary Cities=Yes.”
Bad enough he’s running away from education as he pursues becoming state superintendent.
Bad enough he lies about policy, because nobody in either party wants actual open borders (though one hardly wants them closed, too happy to use the issue to scare its constituents into voting for its candidates).
He can’t even put together four coherent words on a whiteboard, because the words he chose make it appear he’s actually supporting Hofmeister — “Joy+Sanctuary Cities=Yes” — for all the things he lied about her being for.
He sucks on the level.
He sucks at demagoguing, too.
Unsurprising is his target.
Because he’s nowhere without Stitt.
He can’t destroy public education without him.
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Walters greatest hits — liberal media, pornography, critical race theory, sanctuary cities and the accusation all Democrats are right there with Fidel Castro, when no Democrats, only their opponents, would happily trade democracy for autocracy — is only apropos because none of it has anything to do with education, because education is not the point.
The point is to scare Oklahomans who may then vote for him and his Stitt-centered sycophancy, by which he might desperately, frantically, somehow, someway, win.
The point is power.
He is vapid and empty.
Just like the subject of his bromance, the governor, though Stitt’s at least capable of nonsensically addressing an issue without looking like a weasel.
Indeed, were Walters to have a pro-wrestling counterpart, it would be Bobby Heenan. Except Heenan knew he was playing a role.
He’s just that insufferable.
If we vote for them … well, no, we’ll still not deserve them. What we’ll do, however, is pay for it, immeasurably and for a long time. Forever if they get what they say they want to get.
Tell your friends.
Tell your neighbors.
Tell your parents.
Though they, and perhaps even you, have been voting Republican for a very long time, they, nor you, have ever voted for this.
Not four years ago.
Though you may share their party, they’re still nothing you like or respect.
They are the emptiest suits.