Drive-thru commentary is what we've come to expect from Democratic Party leaders in a state that increasingly doesn't like much of anything on the party's menu. Wallace Collins' remarks about the Oklahoma presidential primary could thus be dismissed as yet another express-lane foray instead of an actual insight from someone who had sat down and thought before speaking.
Collins said that for an incumbent president to get only 57 percent support from members of his own party is an indication that “Racism is alive and well in Oklahoma.” Collins is the Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman. He was trying to explain away why Barack Obama didn't get 70 percent or more of the vote.
If indeed Obama's relatively poor showing is attributable to racism, then racism is rampant in his own party. No registered Republicans voted in the Democratic primary. No independents did. The 43 percent of voters statewide who rejected the president's desire for a second term were all registered Democrats.
Obama isn't popular here, and this is a political combo platter containing Democrats, Republicans and independents. In November 2008, when Democrats constituted more than 50 percent of Oklahoma's registered voters, Obama got 34 percent of the overall vote; he got 67 percent of the Democratic vote. Obviously, many Democrats voted against him.
J.C. Watts, a black Republican, won 65 percent of the vote in his last race for Congress in a district that included some of the most Democratic counties in the state. Were the Democrats who voted against Watts racist? Were the Oklahomans who opposed Obama but supported Watts racist in one election and not in another? The drive-thru commentariat can't be bothered with such questions. They blurt words into a speaker and move toward the second window.
Mr. Collins, here are the ingredients in Oklahoma's anti-Obama combo platter: Policies and politics that even many Democrats can't stomach.