J.C. Watts is an example of what is thrown out in the mainstream as an example of a Black Conservative. Personally, I think that he is talking out both sides of his mouth. The things he attibutes to the Democratic party are the things that the GOP are doing right now and have been doing for years.
J.C. WATTS: Democrats' 'new' idea? Tax and spend
What is going on with my party? My friends in D.C. are having a streak of bad hair days.
Conventional wisdom had convicted Karl Rove and Scooter Libby weeks ago in the Valerie Plame fiasco.
Notwithstanding her qualifications, or lack thereof, for a seat on the Supreme Court, official D.C. and the national zeitgeist are abuzz about the botching of the Harriet Miers nomination. Our president is publicly oblivious to the criticism, although off-the-record reports indicate his patience is running thin inside the White House.
The national mood about Iraq continues to sour.
Republicans in Congress are spending like profligates with no tomorrow. The freshman senator from my home state of Oklahoma, Dr. Tom Coburn, recently assumed the role of skunk at the garden party when he inquired about a quarter of a billion dollar bridge to nowhere in Alaska, and had the temerity to suggest that money could be used to rebuild several real bridges to somewhere in Louisiana and Mississippi.
And Tom Delay may or may not be serving his last term in Congress as he faces politically-inspired charges of corrupt fund-raising practices. Certainly, Delay plays hardball, but the last time I checked, being a jerk is not an indictable offense.
I was part of that wild and crazy Class of '94 that shook the political landscape by taking over the House after more than 50 years of unfettered Democrat control. We came to Washington full of ideals and conviction.
But sadly, what they say about absolute power is coming to reality in the 2005 GOP Washington. Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop.
But you know, in spite of the very real arrogance displayed by my party in Washington in the years since taking the House, Senate and White House, I firmly believe the Republicans have a real chance to rebound simply because our Democrat friends just don't get it.
Some "new" Democrats have provided some food for thought in saying that the Democrats cannot continue to press the same old themes and issues they've been pressing for past 30-35 years and expect to regain the majority.
But speaking of arrogance, DNC Chair Howard Dean, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Campaign Chairman Rahm Emanuel -- the man in the takeover hot seat -- have visions of retaking the majority. Essentially, they believe the basic plan of getting their base to the polls, increasing Hispanic voters, and better communication will put them over the top. They believe their failures in these mechanical functions have cost them in the past decade.
The Democratic leadership is talking about the party's campaign for change and their "new" ideas.
But when you peel the layers of the onion back and start to ask what their new ideas are, you find their party's "big ideas" are the same old things they've been doing for the last 40 years. A Democrat's "big idea" means big spending.
Free college education. More regulation. More money for the No Child Left Behind Act, in spite of the fact that they say it hasn't worked. More money for hurricane victims ... more money for health care ... even more money for military! Now there's a new idea for Democrats!
Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" recently asked Rep. Emanuel how we will pay for these expensive initiatives, in response to which he promptly laid the bill at your feet. In spite of the fact most Americans will pay 50 to 55 cents of every dollar they make in some government tax or fee, Democrats want more.
Republicans promote tax relief. Democrats want more taxes.
For all the weaknesses of my former colleagues, they have held the line on taxes. Republicans want to make tax relief permanent. Democrats want more of your money.
And perhaps more importantly, Democrats still don't understand the values voter. They think better communications will turn the tide with this voter. They just don't get it on cultural and social issues.
Had the values voter not rejected them last time, John Kerry would be in the White House today.
Democrat leadership continues to fail to address social, cultural and economic policy in line with the will of the majority of Americans. They think they can do the same old thing the same old way but not get the same old results.
The issues are still with the Republicans. I believe we can still be the party of change, and we can lead. Republicans just have to dispense with the arrogance and go back to the basics -- the policies that the American people entrusted us with in 1994: securing our educational, homeland, economic and retirement futures.
J.C. Watts, chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a business consulting group, is former chairman of the Republican Conference of the U.S. House, where he served as an Oklahoma representative from 1995 to 2002. He writes twice monthly for the Review-Journal.