By Patrick B. McGuigan
In what most analysts agree has been a tough year for Democrats, Billy Coyle was asked: Has it been difficult speaking to non-Democratic audiences this campaign season?
With a grin, the nominee of Democrats in the Fifth Congressional District of Oklahoma, replied:
“It has been great. It actually hasn’t been as tough as one would think. I’ve enjoyed it. People are upset with the president and with some in the Democratic party, but they’re also upset with the Republicans. People want to know how we’re going to pay for all these ideas and schemes that are floating around.”
As he entered the last week of the 2010 campaign, Coyle continued: “When President Obama took over, people thought he was going to concentrate on getting us out of debt and finish turning around the crisis in the economy. [George W.] Bush had started the process with the banks and people weren’t exactly sure about that. I think some of the big bailouts concerned people, and they were surprised when the president put the emphasis on health care.”
Looking to the future, “Let me tell you, whoever controls the House of Representatives is going to be expected by Americans to focus on the economy and the budget.”
Coyle said, “I have people responding to our campaign’s idea to restore pay-as-you-go budgeting rules, put an overall lid on federal spending, find the programs that don’t work and cut them, reduce the deficit, balance the budget, eliminate waste, account for every single dollar, take politics out of the budgeting process, eliminate efficiency and get a bipartisan commission on fiscal policy to get us out of this mess. That’s the basic ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats’ plan. I support it and will work for it.”
He continued, “The focus is on spending, and we’ll find out who has done a better job of getting their message out. Democrats have to do a better job in balancing the budget, and Republicans have to do a better job of explaining what can be cut, too.
“I just know that our private sector can get this economy moving again. I have this dream of natural gas pump stations, natural gas conversion plants and other parts of the infrastructure to make Natural Gas work here in Oklahoma.
“I’m frustrated about my opponent’s ability to move around on the issues. I hope people will take a look at his finances. He’s amended his [campaign finance] reports because he doesn’t report all the money in the first place.”
Keying off an issue raised in recent news reports in The Oklahoman, Coyle chided his opponent: “He’s paid himself a salary out of his congressional campaign budget. He’s been two days late with his report. I don’t know how you can be so far off on a report the first time you turn it in.”
The details in day to day issue discussions have changed, but Billy Coyle’s fundamental focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” along with proper care for military veterans and a desire to advance Oklahoma energy industry have remained the same throughout the campaign.