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DUCK & COVER: Conservative activist recalls recent Cornett encounter

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Mick Cornett asks himself that probing, existential question: "Who am I? Why am I here?"
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Last month, we wrote a piece headlined “The Church of Cornett approaching ‘come to Jesus’ moment?” about Cornett’s bizarre, substance-free campaign stop at Putnam City Baptist Church.

This influential, local church desires to have an “aquatic rest home” built on their property. And naturally the city’s cheerleader, Mick Cornett, wants to affirm that desire and let the good churchgoers know that the city likes the "aquatic rest home" idea as well, even if the MAPS-funded wellness center would be “shuttered on Wednesdays and Sundays for its own religious activities.” A challenge to the idea of separation of church and state, perhaps?

Anyway, this “public event” at PCBC was well-attended, as we noted, and among those in the audience that night was conservative activist and Constitutionalist Bob Dani, an Oklahoma City resident who tells us that he wants some straight answers on some of the more important and substantive issues facing the city.

And so Dani had hoped to get some answers that night, but, as he told Red Dirt Report, he was sorely mistaken because Mick Cornett simply isn’t talking. After reading our recent article "Mick Cornett refuses interview request," Dani said Red Dirt Report "nailed it" when describing Oklahoma City's leader as cold, waxen and evasive.

And for dyed-in-the-wool conservatives - not Chambercrat RINOs - a guy like Mick Cornett is often referred to as "Tricky Mick," as this 2009 Charlie Meadows-penned piece notes, referring to the late KTOK radio host Mark Shannon's unrelenting attacks on Ackerman McQueen asset Mick Cornett and the real goals of MAPS 3. Meadows, who heads the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, recalls Cornett coming to a Republican meeting and when Cornett was asked to offer the group his "life philosophy," Meadows wrote that Cornett answered with Machiavellian coldness that "the end justifying the means" was his moral code.

That was nearly five years ago. And since then, the hardcore rightists in Oklahoma City and the folks who show up at the High Noon Club on Fridays, have taken notice of Mick Cornett and his unwillingness to meet with them and explain the reasoning behind his votes and decisions. 

Back at the Putnam City Baptist Church event, Dani said he sat up front, taking in what little Cornett had to say that evening in late January. After vaguely answering only two questions from the audience, Dani said Cornett made a rapid beeline for the nearest door and headed directly to his car.

“He left like he was a scared rabbit,” said Dani.

The seasoned political activist and private investigator said he tried to ask a question and when Cornett bolted for freedom, Dani went after him, cornering the mayor at his luxury car in the parking lot and peppering him with questions for close to 10 minutes, specifically on the convention center controversy that has been recently highlighted by both mayoral candidate Ed Shadid and nationally-known convention center expert Prof. Heywood Sanders, whom we interviewed as well.

Dani said Cornett seemed unprepared on how to answer his questions and seemingly wanted to be anywhere but there at that moment. All Dani wanted was “substantial facts, not Chamber of Commerce spinning.”

“After all, anyone with half-a-sense knows they got spun that night,” recalled Dani.

But Cornett was having none of it. Dani said that his take on Cornett was that he was “a frightened chicken” who doesn’t respond to questions.

“He doesn’t know how to respond,” he added.

Having studied Oklahoma City politics for some time and well-informed on the manipulative forces that are running the show, Dani says Cornett really did not want to run for a fourth term because there were, allegedly, certain things he did not want exposed.

Dani added that Cornett is a “usable pawn” for the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce

No novice when it comes to politics and campaigning, Dani ran as a Republican candidate for House District 39, against incumbent Marian Cooksey in the 2012 Republican primary, and he knows many people who are tired of the Chamber of Commerce and related groups essentially running the show in Oklahoma City. That is why Shadid is getting a groundswell of attention.

“They know (Cornett) is damaged,” Dani said. “They know they have a problem.”

That is why Cornett doesn’t do interviews, or, if he does an interview, its mostly empty rhetoric with little to back it up.

And while Dani agrees that the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce deserves to have a “seat at the table,” so does everyone else.

“Everybody gets to be at that table,” Dani said. “That’s what we want. That’s fairness of government.”

Dani concluded that the powerful forces involved in Cornett’s re-election campaign are very worried about the numbers right now, despite the current, down-to-the-wire media blitz and mysterious activities of “Catalyst Oklahoma” and “OKC United,” suspected chamber front groups with ties to the powerful, global law firm Skadden Arps.

“(Team Mick) is going to lose this race,” Dani said with confidence. “And it’s going to be painful for them.”

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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