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What would J.C. do?

Gazette staff December 12th, 2012

The spanking Mitt Romney took in the presidential election might have the GOP thinking it’s time for a new quarterback — perhaps a real, honest-to-goodness QB. And so it is that J.C. Watts, the former Oklahoma congressman and University of Oklahoma Sooners quarterback, says he is being encouraged to run for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

Credit: Brad Gregg

It might make sense for Republicans to be pondering a change in light of the party’s unpopularity among African- Americans and Hispanics. In the Nov. 6 election, President Barack Obama won 93 percent of the African-American vote and more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote.

Watts, who is African-American and long a GOP star, told Politico last week that the party’s future depends on its ability to broaden its appeal for racial and ethnic diversity.

And the answer, he said, ain’t just assembling another group and slapping on an inclusive-sounding name.

“It’s window dressing to say, ‘African- Americans for Romney’ or ‘African- American Coalition’ or ‘African-American Advisory Council,’” said Watts. “That’s insulting to the people that they ask to do it when you don’t put a permanent infrastructure in place to give it credibility.”

Still, some political observers doubt Watts, who served four terms representing Oklahoma’s fourth congressional district, is a viable candidate. Writing for National Review, online John Fund said such a run would lend unwanted attention to Watts’ work as a pitchman for a now-bankrupt company that promised “free money” government grants on late-night TV infomercials.

“Everybody is allowed to make a living,” Fund wrote, “but at a minimum, Watts’ pitches touting high-pressure sales seminars teaching people to apply for ‘free’ government money undermine his claims to be a true-blue conservative.”

If Watts isn’t “true-blue” enough for the GOP hard-liners, maybe the party that cherishes parental responsibility can blame parenting. After all, Watts’ own father, the late J.C. “Buddy” Watts Sr., was an avowed Democrat who mused that “a black man voting for the Republicans makes about as much sense as a chicken voting for Col. Sanders.”

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