Driving Like Hell Once Again,
Rep. Leslie Osborn
Showing Massive Disrespect for Speaker McCall
You gotta say this about Leslie Osborn, she isn't an enigma. Busted a few years ago for driving at over 100 miles per hour on a highway she pretty much does as she wishes and the last few months she seems to revel in tweaking Speaker Charles McCall's nose. It is also no secret that Osborn is angling for the Insurance Commissioner race next year and she is using her position as House A&B Chairman to pave the way for special interest campaign donations.
The author of over a dozen new taxes, tax increases, or fee increases, Osborn is pushing for the cigarette tax increase and many, many other ways to raise taxes on Oklahomans. She probably figures that is if she get a million dollars in campaign donations from the players and donor class she can lie her way into office in 2018. Damn the truth when you have an ad budget and a gullible public.
Osborn has her A&B Chair position for one simple reason; she traded her chance to run for Speaker to McCall in return for the powerful position that sets the state budget and funding so the position gathers a LOT of campaign donations from the donor class.But many legislators are saying that Osborn is off the reservation, openly disrespecting Speaker McCall, even using her position to lobby Agency heads to go public poor mouthing the budget and pending cuts in an effort to pass as many tax increases as possible. Osborn surely has been publicly vocal all session for more taxes, higher taxes, and higher fee increases.
Speaker McCall for some reason is taking the abuse laying down. Perhaps because he has plans to run for Congressman Mark Wayne Mullin's seat if Mullins bows to public pressure to keep his initial campaign promise to only serve a few terms. Perhaps Speaker McCall doesn't want to create an enemy, perhaps he is afraid of Osborn's influence should he be challenged as Speaker. Keep in mind that any state rep in the majority Caucus can stand up at any point and challenge Speaker McCall's right to lead. McCall might have found himself hemmed in by some of his own supporters that have a different agenda. Keep in mind that Speakers are rarely strong individuals and are mostly weak, photogenic, or connected individuals that serve as a figurehead while the real power is held by the lieutenants below.
Speakers that find themselves in this position are usually trapped. They must act to avoid continuing to be viewed as weak and disrespected. However that would require making a risky move to pull the fangs of his original supporters, who by the way initially supported Scott Martin for Speaker. A more clever move is to slowly bring in outsiders and gradually displace the clout of those lieutenants that initially propped him up but that would require Speaker McCall to reach out to someone with an existing caucus group and in the process to support their agenda in exchange for their protection. Remember that these Speaker races nearly always depend upon three to five votes as the margin of victory or loss.
We don't know how Speaker McCall is going to react but Osborn's actions are a direct slap in his face. We haven't said a lot about this mainly because it has been gratifying to watch after Speaker McCall bought his Speaker position; and bought politicians rarely stay bought for long once a better offer shows up.
Another thing that we know is that the House of Representatives is in chaos right now and Speaker McCall is floundering as a leader. One legislator in particular made the comment: "If they aren't worried about the budget deficit why should I be worried about it?"
If Speaker McCall continues to dither without a coherent plan other than what Rep. Leslie Osborn has put forward, tax, tax, and more tax, then Speaker McCall will lose many a Republican seat in the 2018 House races.