Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs comes up with a story to explains Brad Henry’s suddenly-busy veto pen:
For years the docs (the OSMA, Eli Reshef, and many others) have been working tirelessly for tort reform. Finally in 2007 it’s within their grasp. Then a couple of weeks before a possible victory, the white coats (with honorable exceptions like baby doc Tom Coburn) spend quite a bit of energy lobbying Gov. Henry to veto a bill which would get Oklahoma taxpayers out of the abortion business. Henry does so, but in order for the veto to be upheld one Democrat state senator who had previously voted pro-life is going to have to fall on his sword. Sen. Charles Laster isn’t going to do this for nothing, of course, so he tells his Shawnee buddy Brad Henry that he will flip flop only if the governor assures him that he will veto tort reform. Laster knows this would make him a hero among deep-pocketed trial lawyers, so he sacrifices the little ones and votes against the same bill he had just voted for three times. The anagram gods are watching, of course, and promptly remind us that “state Senator Charles Laster” can be anagrammed “heartless Senate tort rascal.”
So it is that the docs, by choosing to spend so much capital defending that repugnant procedure that doesn’t pass the dinner party test, help to guarantee that their beloved tort reform is dead on arrival on the governor’s desk. Cause of death: irony.
“I’m not sure that it’s true,” says Dutcher, “but it’s certainly plausible.” Not to mention consistent with a century of wheeling and dealing.