January 04, 2009
The Oklahoman Editorial
Oklahoma's representation still carries clout in Congress
January 4, 2009
POLITICAL clout in Washington, D.C., is much on the minds of members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation heading into the new year and a new Congress.
As detailed in a recent article by The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel, six of the seven members - the Republicans - are deeper in the minority than they've ever been because of Democratic gains in November, raising some concern about how effective those members will be...
By one estimate, Oklahoma's congressional "power ranking" is just 45th among the states, reflecting the GOP dominance in the state's House contingent.
In the Senate, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe will exercise blocking rights - rules permit even one senator to halt specific legislation - and they will work with the GOP minority to limit the agenda of the chamber's more liberal members.
Certainly, we expect Inhofe will continue to check economically dangerous government mandates on global warming, and that Coburn will continue to hawk wasteful spending.
Yet, we think Boren is right in that a legislator's ability to get things done depends on an individual being able to work with colleagues. A good example is Coburn's partnership with Barack Obama, when the president-elect was a senator, to bring greater transparency to federal spending.
In that sense, we think the state is well-represented by people who understand the legislative process and will be able to effectively voice and advance Oklahoma's interests.