Charles McCall and Greg Treat
(Mike Allen)

It’s an end to an era, but perhaps the beginning of something better? If there is one thing Rocky 3 taught us, it’s that bitter rivals can become best buds after their days of battling are over.

As we put some punctuation on the 2024 regular session of the Oklahoma Legislature — as well as the legislative careers of House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC) — I can’t help but look back on the years of triumphs and tribulations this duo has been through.

I’m just a guy who draws things on this site — a political outsider, if you will. So hearing the inside intrigue between McCall and Treat during annual budget negotiations always seemed juicy. Their barbs on the mic reminded me of pro wrestling, which became the inspiration for a comic in 2021 when the year’s “budget match” seemed destined for a draw.

I’ve taken enough civics to understand that the House and Senate of any legislative body are naturally going to disagree sometimes, but there has been a certain personality dynamic between these two that lends itself well to the cartoon format.

NonDoc photographer and board member Michael Duncan took a particular picture of the House speaker that ended up in political advertisements (without proper approval). I absolutely loved drawing that photo of McCall — his arms folded and a stern look on his face — on the television of a comic about the 2022 budget fight.

And then there’s last year, when donuts became a topic and Gov. Kevin Stitt waded into the fray before bringing in a pinch hitter to mediate an education deal. One might wonder what pastries are involved during high-stakes negotiations at the governor’s mansion, so I couldn’t help but imagine McCall and Treat beefing over sweet rings of fried dough.

Compared to their former fireworks, this year somehow seemed more cordial between McCall and Treat, at least to me. I did not watch the eight Budget Summits, however, so I couldn’t quite say if Rocky and Apollo have found the beach yet.

Will their successors provide more humor? “Can they?” may be a better question. I just hope at least one has interesting hair or eyebrows, you know, like any good cartoon character should.

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Hello, 2024: Cheers to another year of art imitating life