Since then, Republicans have enacted important policy changes such as lawsuit reform and education improvements, but given the GOP's current dominance, shouldn't Oklahomans expect more? And some Republicans are even backing away from those achievements, bowing to pressure from status-quo forces. Under House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, the House has become a fount of bad legislation, ranging from the unconstitutional to the simply ridiculous, even as they've gummed up workers' comp.
Obviously, record revenue collections gave Republican lawmakers more leeway in 2005-2006, but then-House Speaker Todd Hiett, R-Kellyville, was leading a smaller GOP caucus and the House faced a Democratic Senate and a Democratic governor. Yet they achieved major policy successes long sought by conservatives.
Perhaps that was because those Republicans recalled what it was like to serve in the minority. Today's legislative Republicans act as though their majority is permanent. But President Barack Obama won't be in office forever. His reverse-coattails won't always be there to drag down Oklahoma Democrats and prop up weak Republican candidates.
Whether they know it or not, Republicans need a record to run on.
Sadly, as things stand now, it appears the likelihood of enacting and preserving major conservative reforms may depend upon a Democratic resurgence. That may be the only thing that can wake Republicans from their stupor and force them to govern again.