Among the accomplishments that Wallace Collins can cite as chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is an increase in the number of Barack Obama photographs hanging in party offices.
While he was putting up photos, Oklahoma voters were taking down the party. Obama got only 57 percent of the vote in the state Democratic presidential primary last year. Collins said racism was a factor. This would be racism within his own party. Collins won another term over the weekend, beating a black state senator who could have pumped new enthusiasm into the party. When Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, lost her bid for the chairmanship, she offered her services as vice chairman. She was rejected for that as well.
Racism? Nope. Collins just enjoys the support of activist Democrats. What do they like about him? The Obama portraits? Certainly his rhetorical flourishes as the party's lead attack dog appeal to the base, but then Johnson can hold her own in that department. Collins once linked the tea party movement to Timothy McVeigh. If you can't beat 'em, demonize 'em!
Here is what's happened to the party under Collins: Every statewide office is held by a Republican, as is every seat in the congressional delegation. The speaker of the House is a black GOP member from a part of the state where Democrats had long held sway. The Democratic minority in the House and Senate is small and getting smaller. Obama lost all 77 counties in 2008 and 2012. He lost some counties in the Democratic primary.
Collins should be removing the Obama portraits, not putting more up. As long as Obama is the face of the Democratic Party nationally, Mr. Chairman will be rearranging photos — along with deck chairs on the Titanic.
Perhaps Collins should hang photos of the last Democrat to win Oklahoma's electoral votes. Anyone have a portrait of Lyndon Johnson lying around the attic?