The last few days have seen plenty of talk about former congressman J.C. Watts as RNC chairman. I liked J.C. Watts’ congressional record. He also was a good interview. He’s youngish. He’s black. All these things are in his favor.
But once he left Congress he became a K Street lobbyist for corporate clients, many of whom were asking the federal government for money. That hardly seems like the future of the GOP.
Watts’s lobbying clients include giants like AT&T, and green-energy companies lobbying for renewable-fuel standards like Syntroleum, plus government contractors like Lockheed Martin. Most of clients seem innocuous — such as NASCAR.
But still, I think a key part of the new GOP direction is going to require some populism. A K Street lobbyists — even one who claims NASCAR as a client — doesn’t seem to set that tone.
Of course, a lobbyist as RNC Chair wouldn’t be new territory. Haley Barbour was a lobbyist, for instance. Marc Racicot even continued his work as a registered lobbyist while heading the RNC, as my colleague Bob Novak repeatedly discussed.