An Oklahoma House committee’s failure to pass ESA legislation is an example of politicians acting as though "the public won’t notice contradictions between their campaign rhetoric and actual record," The Oklahoman notes today in an editorial. Votes against an ESA
contradict Republican stances on supporting the free market and opposing “one size fits all” government mandates. If the five dissident Republicans hope voters will ignore those contradictions, two words suggest otherwise: Melissa Abdo.
Abdo is a strident opponent of an existing state program that provides scholarships to children with special needs, such as autism. Abdo also was a candidate for a state House seat in the Jenks area last summer. Once her opposition to school choice was publicized, she quickly went from front-runner to losing a runoff. Her opponent, current Rep. Chuck Strohm, is among the authors of ESA legislation.
Abdo held other views outside the Republican mainstream, but then so do the Republicans who opposed ESAs in committee. Last year Reps. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, and Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, all opposed income tax cuts; Casey and Nollan also supported dramatic increases in energy taxes.
Some politicians may succeed by campaigning as conservatives while voting otherwise. But that seems a poor strategy for a political career in Oklahoma.