Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, has passed this way before. He's consistently turned back tea party opponents in Republican primaries, as did Mary Fallin when she ran for governor in 2010. The tea party hasn't had much traction in Oklahoma. We think that's because mainstream Republicans here are so conservative. Bridenstine in fact may be the first tea party-backed candidate at such a high level to actually win office in Oklahoma.
What Cole and the other delegation members did to resolve the impasse was an example of statesmanship. This isn't a criticism of Lankford. His opposition was principled, not petty. Other fights — and other fiscal cliffs — await down the road.