The "liberal good ol' boys,” gays and Satan are doing everything they can to get Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart out of office, a comic book prepared by his re-election campaign claims. The comic book, obtained Wednesday by The Oklahoman, is expected to be mailed to voters by Rinehart's campaign, Rinehart said. "A drowning man tends to thrash about,” state Attorney General Drew Edmondson, one of the targets in the book, said through a spokesman. "Nothing Rinehart says is worthy of comment or rebuttal.” Edmondson filed felony campaign finance charges against Rinehart last year, alleging Rinehart and his former campaign manager illegally funded the 2004 campaign for county commissioner. A trial has been scheduled for September. Another of the book's targets, Sheriff John Whetsel, called it "extremely pathetic and very bigoted. I was taken back that in 2008, a candidate would use that type of inflammatory material and do it under the name of being a Christian.” Whetsel is depicted on two pages. In one, a sequence alleging jailer abuse of inmates at the county jail is followed by Whetsel demanding taxpayer money so he can buy "more, more and more toys!” The 16-page comic book makes fun of homosexuals and criticizes Rinehart's political opponents. It features a man and woman admiring Rinehart's often-controversial political career. Other prominent characters are an angel, who supports Rinehart, and Satan, who supports Rinehart's critics. "It's more or less a story of my experiences of the last four years of being the county commissioner of District 2,” Rinehart said.
An angel, a devil and county politicsRinehart acknowledged that the comic is edgy at times, but said it explains important issues in a light-hearted way that his constituents will enjoy. "It makes it interesting and something that people will actually look at and understand,” Rinehart said. Toga-wearing gays, political figures, trench coat-clad henchmen, concerned residents and Rinehart round out the comic's cast. "This is one of the strangest things I've ever seen,” said Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. "I've never seen a comic book with the phrase ‘anal sodomy' in it before. That was a new one for me.” Gaddie said comics were common political campaign tools decades ago, but not for today. "He's pretty much grinding every ax he's got from his days in the county commission,” Gaddie said. "In a way, it's a sophisticated piece.” In one sequence, Satan says: "If I can get the kids to believe homosexuality is normal!” The angel replies: "Hey Satan, not with Brent around you won't!” Rinehart said he doesn't think the depiction is inappropriate and that he is proud of the comic. "The history of my office is that I do expose the homosexual agenda, and that it does exist in the state of Oklahoma, and my history also would show that I am very much opposed to the homosexual agenda,” Rinehart said. Rinehart said he spent two months writing the comic. He said his friend Shane Suiters did the illustrations. Rinehart wouldn't say who is managing his campaign, and wouldn't say if he's running it himself.
‘Liberal good ol' boys' targeted in comicOthers criticized in the comic, which was leaked via e-mail this week, joined Whetsel in condemning it as a distasteful hit-piece. In the comic, Satan endorses Rinehart's opponents in the July 29 Republican primary for the District 2 county commissioner seat. The angel endorses Rinehart. The strip opens with a proclamation that Rinehart is a Republican and Christian who stands up to "liberal good ol' boys” at the county courthouse. "I do not know who the good ol' boys at the courthouse are,” said County Assessor Leonard Sullivan, a Republican. Sullivan and Rinehart have had public disagreements in the past, and Sullivan said the comic is further proof that Rinehart is a troubled man. "I've really encouraged him on more than one occasion to get professional help. He really needs it,” said Sullivan, who is not depicted in the comic. Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, who is gay and often disagreed with Rinehart while serving as a county commissioner, said he is no longer surprised by Rinehart's attacks. "It's typical Brent Rinehart subterfuge to distract from his bad job performance and likely criminal misdeeds,” Roth said. Roth is not targeted directly in the comic book. In a scene with five gay men holding up signs, one of the signs says "Jim Roth is our leader.”
Commissioner Brent Rinehart"It's more or less a story of my experiences of the last four years of being the county commissioner of District 2.”