The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

7 January 2003

Watts: so good about goodbye?

Kevin McGehee waxes so lyrical today about former Representative J. C. Watts (R-OK) that shortages of lyric wax are breaking out all across the nation.

Having watched Watts ascend (and occasionally slide sideways) for these many years, I can't say I really miss the guy, but then I figure most Oklahoma politicians are a few years past their sell-by dates anyway. Watts, at least, went out on top. Had he run for another term, he'd have won, no matter how they redrew the district lines, and forget about that "safe minority district" crapola; the Fourth District that elected (and re-elected) Watts was two-thirds white. You can point out that, well, J. C. was a football hero, and therefore, if not on par with Jesus Christ, certainly on the level of John the (Southern) Baptist, but if pigskin prowess were that overwhelming a criterion, Steve "This is BS" Largent would be Governor today.

Kevin McGehee speculates further that Don Nickles, having given up his shot at being Majority Leader, might step aside to make room for Watts in the Senate. This talk was a lot more common inside the D.C. Beltway than it ever was along I-35, I assure you, and it's diminishing further now that Oklahoma has a Democrat in the Governor's mansion. But I have no doubt that if Julius Caesar Watts really wanted another term in Congress in either house he'd have no trouble getting it.

Posted at 8:32 PM to Political Science Fiction

Lyric wax? I assure you any shortage thereof was not my doing. I don't buy the overprocessed stuff you find in stores -- I make my own.

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at 6:31 AM on 8 January 2003

I believe J.C. Watts could have served in the House for a long time, had he wanted to. As for the Senate, I'll take your word for it. Still. Watss has seemed to suggest that race played a role in why he left.

I worked with a native Oklahoman for a number of years at USDA. He would tell me that Oklahoma had a long tradition of electing Democrats due to its "populist" leanings. He was somewhat perplexed by how well Republicans ran in Oklahoma elections. Don't know why I wrote that, I just did.

Posted by: Martin at 7:18 AM on 8 January 2003

There is a strong streak of populism or maybe it's just cussedness running through Soonerland. The result of this is a passel of Democrats who are not only farther to the right than the national party, they're farther to the right than a fair number of Republicans. In recent years, GOP registrations have increased, and in some urban areas Republicans predominate, but rural Oklahoma remains deeply conservative yet very Democratic, distrustful of those city boys. Someone who is perceived as being in the pocket of the fat cats will get no support from the far reaches of the state. Watts never carried that particular stigma, and he was able to connect on the issues.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:45 AM on 8 January 2003