Despite the ever-changing landscape of politics, one thing has not changed since Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) last visited Ardmore.
Those attending his town hall meetings still do not like President Obama.
Obama's policies and controversies within his administration were the primary focus as those attending the meeting looked for black-and-white answers in the gray world of politics. More than one person was frustrated during the meeting Monday afternoon at the Ardmore Convention Center about the legislature's inabilities to oust Obama from office. Issues such as Benghazi, the deficit and Eric Holder equally confounded people as Cole explained Republican efforts in the House of Representatives. He also highlighted the affect the Republican-dominated House has had in thwarting liberal policies.
Cole began the meeting with his annual Good, Bad and Ugly update, discussing what has taken place in Washington D.C. While Cole said the deficit remains too high, it is half of what it was two years ago because of spending cuts and more revenue. He also highlighted that 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts were made permanent for a majority of Americans, and Hurricane Sandy Relief was settled which has an impact on local disasters such as the tornado that hit Moore. He also touted the revitalized crimes against women bill.
The bad was the Internal Revenue Service issues, tapping of phones and Benghazi. He discussed Obama's efforts to steer clear of the controversies.
"The President is responsible for the operation of the government on a day-to-day basis," Cole told the primarily partisan crowd.
The ugly were upcoming domestic financing issues as the end of the fiscal year nears. The debt ceiling will be up for debate next month, and there is an issue of sequester as Republicans and Democrats differ on how to approach cuts. Cole said Democrats want to raise taxes to offset the loss of $2.5 billion, while Republicans would rather spread out the cuts, which make up 2.5 percent of spending.
Cole also discussed the possibility of the government shutting down, which he opposes. He said it would negatively impact gains made in the fight against Obamacare, and would mean a loss of pay for soldiers as well as take away funding for veterans centers.
"If you shut down the government, you have to show me what's next," he said. "Blame will not get a soldier paid."
Cole also addressed hot-button issues coming to the forefront, such as Egypt, Syria, the National Security Agency and immigration reform. Cole said he would not vote for a current proposed bill.
"I won't vote for it; it won't solve the problem," he said.
Cole agreed with the attendees' frustration with the Keystone XL Pipeline, speculating Obama would use it as a negotiating tool. He discussed solutions to bring change, saying Republicans would need to recapture the Presidency and the Senate. Cole expressed confidence in the quality of candidates running in the upcoming midterm elections in key battleground states.