Swap meet

It’s nice to know our elected representatives are clear-thinking, measured adults. They would never stoop to some ridiculous stunt, something like ” oh, off the top of our heads ” sneakily moving around portraits to passive-aggressively show their contempt for someone else.

No, never.

Except, well “¦ this is the Oklahoma Legislature we’re talking about. “Clear-thinking” and “measured” are never the first words that pop to mind when talking about this group.

While debating House Joint Resolution 1054 last week, which is a measure to let Oklahomans decide to opt out of any federal health care plan, Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, realized something wasn’t quite right. He stopped the debate, according to an article from NewsOK.com, and announced that President Barack Obama’s portrait had been moved.

Again.

Yes, like the kid that pulled your hair in second grade to get your attention, someone has been shifting the president’s portrait in the House chamber and replacing it with one of Gov. Brad Henry. Shelton said he suspected a House Republican had been doing so because it appeared in the background of House Internet broadcasts, according to The Oke.

(That “someone” was Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Edmond, who, according to The Edmond Sun, was “trying to bring some humor to a contentious day.”)

So what did Shelton do? He took down a portrait of former House Speaker Lance Cargill, which appeared behind him during Internet broadcasts. (If all you lovely readers remember, Cargill stepped down as speaker because of tax problems.) Shelton’s move was the House equivalent of “I know you are, so what am I?”

“With the situation Lance Cargill left this House of Representatives in “¦ I’m concerned about the reflection he has on me when he’s in my (Internet) picture,” Shelton  told The Oke.

Another rep noticed Cargill’s moved picture, told on Shelton, and, as The Oke put it, “the two exchanged words.”

Luckily, House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, got things back on track … and back on the wall. The Obama and Henry portraits were righted, Cargill was hung back up in his spot, and Benge gave the cranky House members their juice boxes and pudding snacks.

And, just to be sure this doesn’t happen again, he told The Oke the portraits will be secured in place.

“The pictures ought to be left alone,” he said. “It speaks to the respect that we ought to have for our executives.”

Right. Good luck with that.

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Gazette staff

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