Most initial State Committee meetings are still held in a 'honeymoon' atmosphere. Today's was different.
John Bennett signaled some radical changes in his agenda and he was very open about his resolve. But the unfinished business of the April state convention will remain undone.
Most controversial of all the agenda items is the open rebuke resolution of US Senator James Lankford. It was defeated by a 16% margin, and it would have been an even bigger defeat if some of the current lawmakers on the state committee had not abstained. The legislators were able to see the 'vote no' line being significantly longer, during roll call, showing they were not required to add their voice to the censure issue which has greatly divided the party.
But Bennett's open support and campaign rally speeches for Lankford's primary opponent are even more controversial. Bennett's effort to call a special convention was defeated while former Chairman Pam Pollard's reform initiative passed overwhelmingly. The reform institutes a 'gubernatorial' state convention with limited specific agenda directives.
It's now clear that Bennett will have to carry out a party agenda that he didn't champion, nor support (prior to today).
Over the next several years Bennett helped to expand the GOP in eastern Oklahoma, to the point that now it's entirely Republican, in the legislature.
In 2016, Bennett's passion and Gerhart's hard-hitting (and at times caustic) newsletters made it imperative for the new House leadership to ally with Bennett. The new leaders needed Gerhart to redirect his caustic pen to other scandals and give McCall & Echols a chance to establish themselves. Significant funding then followed that private flight from Speaker McCall & Floor Leader Echols to Bennett's Sallisaw home. Bennett even got a key committee chairmanship.
But as close as Bennett & Gerhart have been for 11 years, they now seem miles apart. Gerhart is now exposing the most unflattering stories of the OKGOPs executive team's least-proud behavior of these past few months. Gerhart has unimpeachable evidence. Evidence which casts a bad shadow on Bennett's ministerial example. Gerhart played a key role in Bennett's Chairmanship campaign.
What puzzles so many observers is... why Bennett & Gerhart have parted?
What powerful force could separate this longstanding alliance of Bennett & Gerhart? Surely General Flynn didn't demand that Bennett 'throw Gerhart under the bus'? There's no way Bennett would be pressured by the RNC, nor would Bennett be effectively compelled by the national Republican machine. The state governor has no 'beef' with Gerhart. The State Chamber agrees with Gerhart on many agenda items.
No, the enticement to compel Bennett to betray his most trusted & historic ally had to come from within Bennett's own ambitions and/or base of supporters. And that group of enticers will no doubt be revealed in very short order. They will be revealed to have persuaded Bennett to act contrary to his own gospel message. A message which says that 'the ends doesn't justify the means'. A message which Bennett preaches each Sunday, at Lee Creek Assembly of God, near Muldrow, OK. If one needs further details of the unravelling of the Bennett-Gerhart team, they are detailed at https://algerhart.blogspot.com/.
Political ambitions have a sad history of bringing out disappointing behavior in ministers of the Gospel. No godly desire is ever a license for immoral acts to attain such a goal.