SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Date: Thursday, October 27 @ 04:44:24 CDT
For the information of the thousands who read vansopinion.com and the good folks with whom "ya'll" communicate, there are a few things about me my dedicated readers should know. I have received close to a hundred phone calls concerning several articles which I posted on my website recently. Since the questions arose from things which I have written, this seems like the most appropriate medium to "set the record straight." I have been and will continue to be critical of Congressman John Sullivan's (R-OK) conduct. Likewise, I believe Sullivan has been and will be an anchor on Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune's bid for re-election. Talk show "host" Michael Del Giorno who has a morning "show" on radio station KFAQ-AM in Tulsa has, in my less than humble opinion, chosen to use his time "on the air" to praise Sullivan and bash LaFortune unduly. I have had things to say on the subjects and will be saying a good deal more on them in the future.
For the record, I have never personally met Sullivan, LaFortune or Del Giorno, but I have a large number for politically active sources and resources (Republicans, Democrats and Independents) in and about Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville, and in a respectable number of cities and towns in the first congressional district of my home state - Oklahoma.
Here is how it all started. On 4 September 2005, my wife and I celebrated 50 years of married life. I jokingly sometimes refer to her and have even introduced her as "my first wife." For the record, "Lady Elaine" is my one and only wife. The half century of "marital bliss" she has endured and I have been privileged to experience has been an exciting journey. We have had all of the usual life experiences most face and a number of others which the Good Lord has seen fit to bless us with. Our three daughters, one son, three great sons-in-law and five grandchildren make up the primary annual Christmas shopping list. No matter what their ages, this "gang" will always be our "kids" and our "grandkids."
We were married at Christ Lutheran Church in Perry, Oklahoma. Prior to our marriage, Lady Elaine insisted on my being "confirmed" as a Lutheran and that too took place in Tulsa. Our common faith in One True God has been and always will be that which gave and gives us strength both to endure life's adversities and to enjoy the comfort and peace of mind in knowing our Eternal Life in Heaven is insured!
I am proud to tell the world I am a Christian husband, dad, granddad and businessman as well as a "rock solid" conservative Republican!
I was born in Tulsa, raised in Tulsa, graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1954, graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1959, enlisted in the 45th (Thunderbird) Infantry Division of Oklahoma and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in that division after having reaching the rank of sergeant first class. I hung my flight helmet up and put my uniforms away for the final time, after a few months short of 31 years of active duty and reserve service. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
My parents were both born and were married and lived most of their lives in Oklahoma. I still have a "bunch" of relatives in and about Tulsa. While my professional and military life has taken me out of my home state for a number of years, it is absolutely safe to say, "they could take the boy out of Oklahoma, but they never have taken the Oklahoma out of the boy"!
About a month ago, Lady Elaine and I decided to go back and visit some of the places where we enjoyed each other's company prior to and after our wedding. In fact, back then, we were, like many, both working to "make ends meet" so we didn't have the bucks to fund a lavish "honeymoon." We agreed it would be "fun" to go spend several days and nights in Noel, Missouri, at the same place where we spent our first several days as husband and wife . It is appropriate to mention that while our "honeymoon" was not all that "lavish" it played an important role in a love affair which has not only enabled us to raise our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord", but also hopefully allowed us to serve as a respectable example to the most important people in our lives - "our kids and our grandkids."
While we were in Oklahoma, I happened to mention to several folks my desire to someday relocate to "the place from whence I came." In conversations, my political interests and views, along with my ongoing desire to serve in an elected position if the opportunity ever presented itself, were mentioned and briefly discussed.
By the time we returned home, there were somewhere between 40 and 50 "call-back messages" on my "answering machine" from Oklahoma and from Washington, D.C. The common theme of the conversations which took place when I returned the calls was, "what would it take to get you to ‘move back home' and run against Congressman John Sullivan."
Among the callers were former supporters of the congressman and folks who I knew to have the requisite "political savvy" and experience to speak "intelligently" on the subject. With the exception of a couple, these were not folks who had a "score to settle" with Sullivan, but rather, mature and seasoned individuals who knew in detail the time, money and effort I would have to dedicate if I chose to take on an incumbent congressman of my own political party, particularly one who had been "hand picked" by the highly respected senior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma - Jim Inhofe.
Over the ensuing weeks, I would estimate the number of calls back and forth from me and to me from Oklahoma as well as to and from Washington, D.C. would be measured somewhere between 100 and 200. For the record, these were not "business calls" but rather calls to both old and relatively new friends. Only one of calls I received was less than encouraging. That call came from John Tidwell, Communications Director employed by Sullivan in his Tulsa Office. Tidwell used a phony name, phony employer, phony wife's name and made up a phony telephone number. Due to the nature of the call, and due to the precautions I had been advised to take regarding calls where the "Caller ID" shows "Restricted" rather than an actual telephone number, the call was preserved. My associates were able to identify the culprit as a lad whom Sullivan employed. Informed sources have stated Tidwell was hired by Sullivan because "his daddy donated a lot of money" to John's campaign.
Later, the same day, I called Richard Hedgecock, former Tulsa Chamber of Commerce employee and now Sullivan's "Chief of Staff" and told him I thought such juvenile conduct was "unbecoming the dignity one should expect from a person employed to serve on the staff of a United States Congressman."
Frankly, while I was pondering the thought of taking on an incumbent congressman, I started receiving poll results, comments from political analysts and others who I know to be trustworthy. There was a clear indication John Sullivan is vulnerable, and, in fact, is considered a political liability to Oklahoma by "insiders" at the highest levels of government in "D.C." He is perceived to have become a "political prostitute" by at least a dozen people who were instrumental in getting him elected and re-elected. They all want him "un-elected" and have indicated a willingness to work toward that end.
Folks, I have dabbled in politics for practically as many years as John Sullivan has been alive. In years gone by, I have represented clients to various entities of government at local, regional and national levels. Without reservation, I can honestly say, I have never heard so much anger, discontentment and even embarrassment coming from the mouths of former and current supporters of an elected official at any level. Even staff members of John Sullivan have expressed their remorse for "playing a role in sending him to congress."
Stories of Sullivan's "thugs" tearing down opponents campaign signs, threats of economic destruction made against people supporting other candidates and even threats of bodily harm directed to a few individuals Sullivan's campaign wanted to intimidate seemed a bit "far fetched." I might have otherwise dismissed these complaints and comments if they had come from political neophytes. That, however, was not the case. They came from honest, hard working and experienced political "operatives." There will be more on this subject area in future articles to show the congressman's frustrations, immaturity and possible "paranoia."
Senator Jim Inhofe's wife, the former Kay Kirkpatrick, and John Sullivan's mother-in-law, the former Mary Ann Kinkaid (now Beck), were both classmates of mine at Tulsa Central High School. Perhaps that is, in part, why the senator was persuaded to become a "mentor" to young Sullivan. In any event, Jim has "looked after" "John Boy" for a number of years. Keeping this in mind, let me tell you what has all but solidified my decision to "come home and KICK SULLIVAN'S POLITICAL POSTERIOR in his bid for re-election next year.
For the record, I never ever believe what I hear in the political rumor mill unless the "news" can be corroborated by a number of "sources., sources not connected or affiliated with one another in any way. Word came to me from reliable sources and was echoed by several seasoned political workers that John Sullivan was planning to "Take on Senator Jim Inhofe" in 2008", because the "senator was too old and senile to continue in the senate."
Now, let's put that statement in perspective. Jim Inhofe is one year older than me. I turn 70 on 27 November 2005. Thus, "John Boy" is "biting the hand that has fed him" politically, but is insulting not only the senator, but those of my generation - those which Rush Limbaugh sometimes calls "seasoned citizens."
Recently Senator Inhofe has been taking some "political flack" about alleged "political pork" but, ladies and gentlemen, that's what has become a part of the "Culture of Congress." Jim Inhofe may not be "perfect" and he would probably be the first to admit it, but the people of Oklahoma owe a major debt of gratitude to their state's senior senator. In my opinion, they would be well advised to keep him in office for a good long time out into the future. While he is serving, the senator needs members in the "House" from his home state who are "team players" and who are ready, willing and able to work for the common good of the people of Oklahoma.
John Sullivan has shown himself as a mischievous "Sooner." He would "sooner" screw over the senator - the man who gave him a chance to succeed in congress - than to wait with patience until the senator, OF HIS OWN FREE WILL AND ACCORD, elects to retire from public service. Jim Inhofe needs to be able to trust every single member of his home state delegation without worrying any of them would stoop so low as to "stab him in the back" politically. Of course, Sullivan and his staff will vehemently deny what I have stated and will attempt to put a positive "spin" on their words and their "devious designs." Some might feel I have a malicious purpose in telling the story I just told. Here is what I suggest. Don't believe a word I have said! Just take the time and have the interest to check it out yourself! Read my previous articles. Take due notice of the fact I have given not only the names of people but also their telephone numbers in the Nation's Capitol who can be called to verify what I have said!
In the mean time, I suggest it would be most appropriate for good and loyal Republicans of Oklahoma and even the Democrats who recognize all the good things Senator Inhofe has done for "his constituents", to send him a letter or an e-mail and let him know how much he is appreciated by "the folks back home." Give the man who has been a loyal public servant a written or verbal " PAT ON THE BACK." In a small way, this might make up for the hurt he must feel in learning his overly ambitious political protege CAN NO LONGER BE TRUSTED!
Finally a word for the congressman. John Sullivan, if you have "the guts" and the vocabulary to take on this "seasoned citizen" before an live audience so there can be no "fudging", I stand ready to debate you on any subject of your choosing, particularly ones you have openly bragged about to the media. JUST NAME THE TIME AND PLACE! Given a few days notice so to check my professional schedule, I'LL BE THERE! No canned questions John, so you can rehearse your answers. That, congressman, seems to be your style in dealing with "call in questions" when you appear on "talk shows." John, if you and Mike Del Giorno have the "scrotal capacity" to take me on, bring him along. Certainly, congressman, a man of your experience should not be afraid to confront a person old enough to be "your daddy." You'll quickly learn that men and women who are in my age group, the same age group as Senator Inhofe, are sufficiently lucid and capable of taking on a "political puppy."
Now maybe the "Canine Congressman" will come out of the closet and let the folks of Oklahoma learn just how capable he really is....or isn't!.