We at the Frederick Douglass Foundation ask that the 168 voters at the Republican National Committee consider the reality of the Republican Party’s situation before they vote for Reince Priebus to continue on as the RNC chairman. Those laughing off the opportunity to have Former Oklahoma Congressman J. C. Watts as the chairman really need to consider the country’s impressions of the recently demolished Republican Party before voting against him.
Some who run the Republican Party think that J. C. Watts is just another one of those conservative black guys that will create RNC deficits like Michael Steele. Their argument for Priebus’ reelection is that he fixed the RNC deficit after Steele was defeated. Consider the implications of that argument.
Here’s the difference between Steele and Priebus. Under Steele, in 2010, the Republicans won and won big. The RNC spent its money and then some because Steele was confident enough in his conservative ideology to take some risks promoting conservative ideas that panned out. Priebus was Mr. Milquetoast. He might have raised enough money from donors to pay down the debt at the RNC and he might be able to brag about the improved finances at the RNC, but what did that get us?
We lost seats in the House, the Senate, and Obama clubbed Mitt Romney like a baby seal. At the same time, the new leader of the Republican Party, Rep. John Boehner, sat there and cried. The man cries, he compromises with himself while Obama laughs at his weakness, and he fails to give any Republican the impression that the Republican Party even has a future.
The Whig Party was the party of choice in regards to slavery- a middle of the road party that didn’t exist because it had principles. It existed to take part in the process without having to maintain the intellectual capability of being able to argue for or against anything. We, the conservative base, see the Republican Party as just that: bunch of pretty mindless faces with money to buy a hat to throw in the ring. Conservatism supplies the ideas that fuel the Republican Party, but the milquetoast blue bloods are shunning conservatism and embracing the moral relativistic nihilism of the Democrat Party. The choice between two evils the electorate is given is inevitably failure with the Democrats or slower failure with the Republicans compromising with the Democrats.
If victory is defined by ending an election season with money in the coffers at the RNC because those running the RNC were smart enough to be unwilling to spend it on a failed election cycle, then Reince Priebus is your guy. He’s a great mouthpiece for a Republican Party that stands for nothing because no one in the public remembers one specific moment of his chairmanship. He excels at being unnoticed.
However, J. C. Watts is a Baptist Minister and the son of a Baptist Minister. He was the quarterback who led the Oklahoma Sooners to two consecutive Orange Bowl victories. After college, he even led the Ottawa Rough Riders to the Grey Cup- that’s Canadian for Super Bowl. J. C. Watts knows victory. He’s not shy on TV. He’s not embarrassed about Republican principles. He’s not going to go out of his way to encourage blacks to stay with the Democrats by failing to argue that they should check out the Republican Party. He’s someone that people like to listen to.
J. C. Watts has a 94% lifetime rating with the American Conservative Union. The present head of the Republican Party, Rep. John Boehner, who’s presently in the middle of purging conservative congressmen from powerful committees because they didn’t vote for big government, doesn’t even break 90. That’s the problem the Republican Party has given itself. It seems to think success is a product of self-handicapping along with purposely throwing interceptions because they feel more comfortable on defense.
J. C. Watts played quarterback. He throws touchdowns. He doesn’t feel uncomfortable playing offense like Priebus and Mitt Romney. He wasn’t raised to feel shame about his beliefs. And, as a black man who became a Republican out of choice, he understands why he is indeed a Republican. Furthermore, as a black Republican, he’s been attacked for his beliefs more than most can understand and comprehend. Frequent attacks have steeled his ability to argue on behalf of his conservative beliefs. One doesn’t become a Republican in the face of the cultural pressure he had to have endured as a black man without having the intellectual capabilities to explain why.
Furthermore, race is an issue. While it’s true that the Republican Party doesn’t hate black people, the Republican Party’s ability to talk with black people is non-existent. Feeling uncomfortable around black people only serves to make the benefits of outreach seem nonexistent. Being unwilling to argue why Republicanism is the right thing for the black community means that Republican values are never even defined for black people as anything other than racism, as defined by the Democrats and the liberal media. Being a Republican isn’t racist, but those who are unable to explain this credibly are defensively conceding that it might be, simply by failing to make the case that it isn’t. Reince Priebus’ apparent lack of interest in outreach to the black community gave that impression.
The Republican Party was founded to end slavery and free the black man. The Republican Party is the party of the black man. It was the Republican Party that freed the slaves, that voted to make blacks citizens and that voted to get them the right to vote. It was the Democrat Party that fought for slavery, that started up the KKK to keep freed blacks and Republicans in line, that voted against the Civil Rights Bills and that turned the hoses on the blacks seeking the opportunity to vote. But we find this nowhere on the Republican Party websites or in the talking points or our spokesmen. History doesn’t just change because the Democrats decide they don’t like it. History changes because the Republican Party has been too timid in sticking up for itself. Reince Priebus hasn’t solved that problem.
Perhaps it’s because Priebus’ first name is Reince. I’m sure it means all sorts of lovely things in the nation of this name’s origin. However, to regular Americans, it suggests he’s comfortable sipping tea with English royalty surrounded by dogs that were genetically engineered not to pass gas. Cue the voice of Robin Leach of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: “Behold, an RNC Chair whose nose will remain unbothered by the stink of humanity.” J. C. Watts spent time in men’s locker rooms after football games. He’s more in touch with the people in America who are so convinced that all politicians are so out of touch that they don’t even vote. He’s what the RNC needs- a spokesman to whom regular folks will actually pay attention.
There’s been a lot of outreach to Hispanic voters, and that is fine. But why can’t the Republican Party reach out to all races? Why does it seem that the Republicans feel like they’re cheating on Hispanics if they attempt to reach out to blacks too? And what’s the Republican Party doing to get the Jews and the Asians to vote for it? If the Republican Party thinks that it can be a majority party again by ignoring the fact that many legal immigrants, as well as a supermajority of likely voters and over 80% of black voters, oppose legalizing the illegal immigrants, it deserves to be the butt of all the jokes. It will go the way of the Whigs. Without the ability to argue that its conservative values are the right values for everyone, the Republican Party will continue to have its motives and ideology defined by those who would love nothing more than to see the Republican Party disappear.
We’re in four-down territory. The time to solve our nation’s imminent issues of insolvency is running low. It’s third and long, and our field generals decided to take a time out and shoot up some heroine. We Republicans out here in the wilderness know this. As Clint Eastwood said, sometimes, when the job isn’t getting done, you have to fire someone. At least J. C. Watts knows how to get the ball down the field and score touchdowns. As is now, the Republican Party’s down by six, and they’re purposely kneeling on the ball to run out the clock.
There are those who are good at winning, and there are those who are used to losing. We need to promote the former and bounce the latter like a check from the U.S. Treasury post-dated for 2020. If victory is the goal, a change in leadership is a must.
Timothy F. Johnson
Founder and President/CEO