Some say Oklahoma's political struggles aren't so much left vs right; but little guy vs big. That axiom was never so poignant than in Thursday's massive ideological battle to resist a recall of the constitutional protections that taxpayers rely on.
House republican Leadership sought out a freshman rural member to push forward the recall. Scott Fetgatter filed the bill and even sought to amend it on the floor. The House Speaker Pro Tem desperately wanted this battle, but when floor debate was organized, all the House Republican leadership headed for the doors, leaving Fetgatter alne as the only one arguing for the bill.
Conservatives and Democrats found themselves serving as the 'amen corner' for each other, But all Fetgatter could muster up was a claim that they were all hypocrites. The debate so frustrated Fetgatter that his voice was trembling. He realized the cowardice of the leaders who put him up to the dirty work. Not one of them would even so much as come & stand by him as he struggled through his allotted 10 minutes.
As Fetgatter's time came to a close, suddenly a rush of legislators reentered the chamber and couldn't wait to vote.
The tally stalled at 45 of the 51 needed to pass. Then leaders swept the hallways and offices, attempting to find those who were having cold feet. Their efforts got them up to 49. the leadership had the gavel and they were willing to hold open the vote as long as they needed to, even though they had enforced a 2 minute roll call for any other measure.
Finally the leaders resorted to 'arm-twisting'. After a few more minutes they found a couple easy targets. Ryan Martinez of Edmond switched his 'No' vote to a 'Yes'. Then Michael Rogers of Broken Arrow was pressured into a 'needed 51st 'Yes' vote.
Immediately the gavel struck before any other movement could transpire.
24 Republicans now felt more mutual respect with the 29 Democrats. together they make up a slim majority of the legislative body. that's a fact that the speaker will do well to ponder as he attempts to salvage the 2018 session.