Monday, October 7, 2013

J.C. Watts for ??????

Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair
On Saturday morning in Tulsa, former 4th district Congressman J.C. Watts spoke at a re-election fundraiser for Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.  Watts can still draw a crowd, even on a chilly Saturday morning, and is still a rock star in politics.  After wholeheartedly endorsing Bartlett for re-election, JC laid out some very important principles for every American.

First, it’s important to be involved in politics at the local level.  J.C. correctly pointed out the government closest to you has the most influence on your life.  Using his former congressional district- the 4th- as an example, he pointed out that when he was elected to Congress in 1995, there was only two Republican state legislators out of twenty one from south of I40 and west of I35.  In 2013, there are only three Democrats in that quadrant of the state.  Why the change?  Because conservative Democrats came to the realization they were really Republican and started to vote that way.    “Politics is local,” Watts said.  “The Democrats figured that out years ago. They won the city council and mayor’s races.  They won the school board and the county commissioner races while Oklahoma Republicans were winning the Congressional races.  The Republicans in the 4th district of Oklahoma made a difference by winning the local races and ultimately changed Oklahoma with that strategy.”  Why have Republicans fared better in the 4th district of Oklahoma than other parts of the state in the past decade?  Local Republican activists have educated the public on the issues and have labored tirelessly in local races.

Second, Watts said the Republican Party needs to look like heaven.  Watts, a Baptist preacher, wasn’t saying the GOP is heavenly in their behavior.  He was pointing out how the GOP needs to be diverse and embrace all races and people groups.  His message is simple; don’t skip anybody!  In the past, political hacks/consultants convinced GOP candidates and party leaders to skip minority neighborhoods because the minorities didn’t vote for Republicans.  That strategy became a self fulfilling prophecy.  GOP candidates didn’t ask for their vote, so they didn’t vote for the GOP candidate.  Thankfully that is changing.  Republican values know no racial, ethic or economic boundary. 

Third, Watts said politics needs to be more civil.  “I have met some really nice Democrats through the years,” Watts said.  “I don’t agree with them politically, but we have a very civil relationship.”  His point is that rational people can disagree.  “We can’t just arrogantly thumb our nose at anyone who disagrees with us, Watts said.  “We need to make sure we are nice.  Nice goes a long way with me.”  That simple admonition is something all politicos- no matter your party affiliation- should heed.  No matter the issue, no matter the circumstance, we need to be civil and respectful in our debate.

When asked when he was going to run for elective office again, Watts said, “I can see myself in public office five years from now and I can see myself not in public office.”  How’s that for clarity?  “But I don’t ever see myself as part of a body- like back in Congress,” J.C. concluded.  Hummm.

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