Reince Priebus, recently elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, came to Oklahoma City on Thursday, June 9. He rallied party activists, and met with reporters less than 48 hours after U.S. Rep. Dan Boren’s announced his intention to leave Congress in 2012. Boren’s departure has members of the Grand Old Party (GOP) in Oklahoma salivating over chances to fashion an all-Republican congressional delegation after next year’s general election.
When reporters posed questions to the Wisconsin native, CapitolBeatOK wondered if President Obama’s spending patterns and the mounting national deficit was enough to make conservatives forget disappointments with spending growth under his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.
Priebus replied, “President Obama has thrown fuel on the fire when it comes to the deficit. On the trajectory of the mounting debt, he is adding more debt than every president before him. Nothing can top what Obama has done to this country.” He commented, “A country that surrenders its sovereignty to debtors cannot govern itself.”
Speaking of the 2012 presidential campaign, Priebus deflected a reporter’s theory that candidates seeking the Republican nomination are not impressive. Noting that “one of our candidates is already leading the president” in some polls – a reference to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney – Priebus said, “We have a great field and we’ll have a great nominee.”
In remarks to party faithful at the state headquarters on Lincoln Boulevard near the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Priebus indirectly touched on the Bush-era spending issues when he said, “Republicans have to stick our principles, and govern the way we campaigned.”
Priebus pressed themes he has unveiled in recent communication about Obama’s presidency. He said, “Hope does not hire,” and emphasized that Republicans will point to “the human factor” in bad economic news. He said America cannot base economic growth on “hope,” saying people need the tools required to succeed.
Priebus told supporters he ran for the party job because, “I’m concerned about the future of our country. The very idea of America, under this president, is being driven into the ditch.”
He contended there is a “fundamental difference in philosophical views.” Priebus said the country and economy President Obama is establishing is “not what we want to pass on to our children.”
Turning to the Boren vacancy in his discussion with reporters, Priebus reflected, “Dan Boren’s departure makes the district competitive. It also demonstrates that people like Boren can’t penetrate the leadership of that party to get things done.” He promised Republicans will, in that and other elections, “put quality on the field and ask this question of Oklahomans: ‘Are you better off than you were in 2008, or not?’”
Priebus repeatedly turned discussion back to the kind of country Americans want, and said Republicans would press Democratic candidates to say whether or not they agree with Obama policies.
Two days ago, Priebus called on U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, at the center of a searing scandal involving transmission of nude photos via social media, to resign from Congress. He reiterated that today, telling reporters, “He’s a creep, at the center of a three-ring circus of lies and deceit.”
Asked if he supported Democrat House leader Nancy Pelosi’s demand for an investigation of Weiner, Priebus said, “We don’t need an investigation to figure out he’s a creep. He should resign.”
In his opening speech, Priebus praised Republican state chairman Matt Pinnell, pointing out he is making Oklahoma “the reddest of the red” states, and that National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty “runs the conservative caucus for the national committee.”