Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Taking the offensive
Editor's note: CNN political contributor J.C. Watts Jr. joins us tonight as a guest-blogger

I think the speech was very strong on national security, an issue in which President Bush is strong and Democrats are weak.

The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security. It plays into the perception that Democrats are not prepared to defend you. That's not to say Republicans don't have a perception problem too. Republicans are perceived as not caring about poor people.

The president has to stay on the national security point often. Progress is being made in the war against terror.

As for Katrina, the American people saw that there were mistakes made on the federal, state and local level. The president said that he takes responsibility for the mistakes of the federal government. He's got a chance to improve, to rebuild those communities.

The State of the Union gives the president an opportunity to pivot. He can take all the good news -- that we're winning in Iraq, that we haven't been hit since 9/11, that we have low unemployment and low inflation, that we collected $100 billion more in tax revenues than we expected -- and make his case to the American people.

The Democrats are an opposition party and this is politics. That's why the president's numbers are where they are -- the opposition has framed the issues. But when the president is out there and framing the issues, he is better off. He did that in this speech. It gives the American people some confidence.
Posted By J.C. Watts Jr., Republican Strategist: 10:44 PM ET
  72 Comments
I thought The President may have come out too strong, specifically on dealing with Iran. It seems like he has already made up his mind, that he is just looking for the smallest excuse to go flying in there and take out their government. I think the situation with the Iranians should be handled more delicately, it is a potentially volatile situation.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck Rice, Charleston, Illinois : 1:15 PM ET
What happened to health care? Neither party's responses here touched on that issue that touches all of us.

Yes, please help provide health care for those that can not afford it, or who are not privileged enough to work for a company who takes care of their heart and soul (their employees); but there should also be an acknowledgement (if not reform plan) of our current system. The health care system that is costing Americans 15.3% of our GDP, and the root of the financial troubles of American companies that now have to lay off employees, to keep down costs and ultimately the price tag, in order to stay in the same market as foreign competitors. And where will those unemployed end up? Being supported by the new proposed health care plan of course. Why can't we make a preemptive strike on our own, domestic crises?

Why do Americans spend so much money on health care? You would think that the U.S. would have the highest health indicators world wide; we do, after all, spend the most.

In the 2005 World Data Sheet, the United States does not have the highest life expectancy; in fact, we don't even make the top ten! Then there are infant mortality rates (IMR) that tell us how many infants die out of every thousand born. The U.S. has a rate of 6.6. In comparison, the United Kingdom comes in at 5.2, Israel at 5.1, South Korea at 5.0, Spain at 3.6, and Singapore with only 1.9 infants per 1000 born dying. And if you look even close at the United States, you will find there is a huge difference in IMR between ethnicities and social classes, with Caucasians not always coming out on top.

We need a solution to these problems and many others; increasing the NIH budget is useful, but there are other avenues that should be pursued. As a proponent of preemptive strikes, our President should try that concept on the home front; a preventative focus on health care. By providing increased moneys for educational programming (yes they work! NIH has even funded some) our country, will save billions of dollars, public and private in health care costs. By preventing acute illnesses the population will make fewer health care insurance claims, spend less on prescription drugs and just be healthier. In 2003, America spent over twice as much money on the administrative costs of health care ($119.7 billion), than public health programs ($53.8 billion), and three times as much on prescription drugs ($179.2 billion), according to an article in Health Trends, Jan 2005.

Yes, we may need to extend a compassionate hand to those countries struggling to get on their feet and research new ways to create energy, but let's not forget about those in our population struggling to meet their health care needs and look at how the moneys we spend already can be put to better use, perhaps in preventative care.
Posted By Anonymous Kristen, Portland Oregon : 1:47 PM ET
I think J.C.Watts and I listened to two different speeches. This speech was tired, was not specific and had no substance when it comes to things like lifting the level of social security payments to ALL income instead of just $90,000, or securing our southern borders and getting illegals out of our country, or lowering the federal tax on gasoline while Exxon Mobil continues to raise prices while we ignore the possibility of investment in Canadian tar sands which have a reserve of more oil than there is in all of the Middle East, or taking the age limitation out of Medicare and having national health and let the private insurers be damned. I am a moderate Republican, an old Democrat and I am continually disappointed in the domestic agenda of both parties.
Posted By Anonymous Linda Moyse, Monument, Colorado : 1:48 PM ET
I think the President gave a very idealistic, albeit generic speech. His ideas for the upcoming year would be great if he had full political support and financial backing.

However, I think the Democratic response was lukewarm at best. They had a perfect opportunity to tell us HOW to change, instead they told us that there needs to be some change. I mean, develop a plan, let the voters vote, and see what happens. This finger pointing and name calling is getting old.

The reason why healthcare is so expensive boils down to one word: lawyers.
Posted By Anonymous Dr. K Shah NYC : 2:05 PM ET
The points brought up by the responses to the original posting are missing the "Cause" and only focused on the "Effects".

The reader who points to the Health Care issue isn't seening the root causes of skyrocketing Health Care costs. One, our population (the Bulk of it) is getting older, living longer, and requiring more care than our grandparents ever did which is putting a strain on an already costly system. Two, if you think you're health insurance premiums are high, look at a Doctors Malpractice insurance costs... which is directly driven by the greed of lawers and their outrageous lawsuits, so they can line their pockets in the mean time... and unfortunatly, the GOP is not going to take on reforming the legal system ever, they recieve way to much money from the Lawer's lobby groups.

As for lowering the Federal Tax on Gas... that Tax pays for the building and repair of the Highways you drive down... Exxon, Mobil, Shell... they are not public service groups, they are for profit companies, their job is to keep the gas flowing, it's the government's job to maintain the roads we use, and to pay for it, you pay a Tax. No tax... no repairs, no repairs... no good roads to drive on.

That said, I didn't watch as much as 30 seconds of the speech, I figured out some time ago, that the American government stoped being about the people for the people a long time ago, and mainly serves to fill the pockets of the special interest groups that got them elected in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous Brent, Royal Oak, MI : 2:11 PM ET
I just wanted to know what is the connection between Cindy Sheehan getting arrested and Democrats not being serious about national security. I've been trying to make a logical connection for last 5 minutes and despite my serious math/logic background I can't see it. Please, start making sense.
Posted By Anonymous Alice, Chicago, IL : 2:33 PM ET
Breaking the dependancy on oil from the Middle East only means one thing. The American government will be looking to Canada's oil sands to satisify its addiction. Mr. Bush must have seen the piece on 60 Minutes two weeks ago about the oil production capablilities in Canada. The tar sands are said to be 3 to 4 times larger than Saudia Arabia. The oil sands can easily sustain American consumption for 100 years! HELLO! Who can't ignore the fact your stable, northern neighbors have what America needs! OIL! And lots of it! I hope Americans don't buy into the environmentalist angle Mr. Bush cites. Come on people, do you really think the Bush government will invest in more environmentally friendly sources of energy when there is so much oil so readily available in Canada? I think not!
Posted By Anonymous E.R. Jones, Vancouver, Canada : 2:35 PM ET
Tell me, Anderson, regarding our "oil addiction", when are Bush & Cheney going into rehab ?
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 2:54 PM ET
What kind of nut are you? What the heck does arresting Cindy Sheehan have to do with National Security? Are you trying to say that protesting is a National Security problem? Maybe if Democrats would shut up, we wouldn�t have to worry about the terrorists; is that it? Why not shoot all Democrats then we would all be safe, right?!?!?! Should Sheehan have had an assault weapon rather than a tee shirt? Would that have been a better show of strength for the Democrats? Get real! Sheehan is not representing Democrats in her protest; she is representing mothers who have lost their children. Believe me; a child is more precious than politics to a mom. If you don�t me or Cindy, call your mother and ask her.
Posted By Anonymous Barb P., Tallahassee, FL : 2:56 PM ET
...that we haven't been hit since 9/11

And I haven't had any zebras in my house since I started using this new zebra-spray. What? Of COURSE those two things are related.

I shouldn't have to point out that there were eight years between the first AQ hit inside the US and 9/11...

The only thing the administration has been completely successful at is in fooling a lot of the people all of the time. We are no better prepared to respond to an attack now than we were on 9/10/01, and are arguably worse prepared, with an emasculated FEMA being subsumed inside a top-heavy, politicized DHS.

The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security. It plays into the perception that Democrats are not prepared to defend you.

Well, thank God someone is prepared to defend us all from middle-aged mothers. They scare me to death.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 3:02 PM ET
I think I want to hear more reporting from guys like Michael Ware.
Posted By Anonymous RL Johnson Lakewood, Colorado : 3:20 PM ET
Well said, Mr. Watts. Intelligent analysis (that would be you) beats emotional ignorance (that would be Mrs. Sheehan) any day.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago, IL : 3:23 PM ET
I agree completely with Mr. Watts, and you know, it's a refreshing take on things. The previous post was one I could hardly take seriously, with it's references to Paris Hilton and suggesting Bush isn't a real rancher, it was ridiculous. Anything to cover up a lack of any real point.

And regarding Sheehan, all I really have to say is this. Regardless of whether or not you support the war itself, you should support our troops.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 3:26 PM ET
Great post, Arachnae. Snarky, but great.
Posted By Anonymous CAM, Canton, OH : 3:26 PM ET
The reality Mr. Watts is the speech was weak. Less then 5 minutes elapsed before 9/11 was brought up. SHOCKING!He then spent the next 35 minutes going on about democracy and freedom and why it's important to the entire world the the US show it how it's done. Thats his record. Period. Mr. Rove admits as much. So once again this administration wags the dog and attempts to scare Americans into thinking thier town is Bin Ladens next target. Additionally, the president touts his freedom and democracy stance and allows a woman whose son gave his life to be silenced for her right to free speech. Am I missing something or did I miss that portion in the constitution? Also, the president after waxing about freedom and terror decides that it's time to educate Americans. Well, did he not just last month cut money from Pell Grants? Everyone says the mood in DC is sour. It is worse here in the streets. In my opinion, this administration is worse then Nixons at the height of Watergate. This adminsitration has no plan. They never have and they never will. My hope is an angry electorate will remember in November.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Ianni, Lincoln University, Pa : 3:32 PM ET
What I don't understand is why Ms. Sheehan was held for 4 hours but Ms. Young was simply escorted out of the room. Different punishment for the same "crime"?
I am getting increasingly frustrated with this administration's "do as I say, don't do as I do" stance.
Our President regularly defends his actions (ones in which he has actually broken the law) as "in the name of national security". I am all for national security, and agree we need new solutions to face new challenges. But come on, what kind of nation will we have if we continue to let our President unilaterally change the rules? Seems to me we are the ones who should be ashamed that no one is standing up to him.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie, San Francisco CA : 3:40 PM ET
Hey Tina in Chicago, is your post above demonstrative of how YOU debate in a civilized, polite manner? Your comment about Mrs. Shaheen and her quote/unquote emotional ignorance is every bit as cynical as the perspective Paul Begala has of President Bush.

Perhaps people should consider how they express their own views before they condemn others for expressing thiers.
Posted By Anonymous Roger, Buffalo, NY : 3:46 PM ET
Just more Republican propaganda.America has had enough.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce,Lake Forest,California : 4:08 PM ET
I suppose I should feel a twinge of moral obligation to listen to Mrs. Sheehan given her loss. But Sheehan only represents a facsimile of authority. She substitutes anger and ignorance for intelligent remark. That this hysterical wanton's opinion is not only fit for mainstream consumption but is considered the cream of the liberal crop is a indictment on both the media and the liberal movement.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago, IL : 4:17 PM ET
I think President Bush was extremely effective in his speech. I fell very secure after hearing what he had to say. I agree that democrats are not serious about national security.
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, Houston, Texas : 4:21 PM ET
Congressman Watts, I am so glad to see that you are "out there" and, as usual, making perfect sense - I look forward to hearing a lot more from you over the next election cycle. Best wishes, from a 5th generation "Okie"
Posted By Anonymous Rita Goff, Houston, TX : 4:22 PM ET
Mr. Watts, if the arrest of Cindy Sheehan is "another sign..." what does the inability of the Republicans to capture Osam Bin Laden signify?
Posted By Anonymous Lee Evansville, IN : 5:03 PM ET
one cannot just "accept resposibility" without taking the accountability that goes with it. Also, FEMA is a federal program-don't lay the blame on others.
Posted By Anonymous PG Slevin, Coeur d'Alene,Idaho : 5:07 PM ET
Mr. Watts

"It gives the American people some confidence"
(With the operative word being "some")
Isn't that rather vague? What are you basing this generalized statement on? His ratings are not where they are because of political posturing and the Democrats framing issues. The issues from this administration Sir are as vague as the false hope you and this government
are trying to pass off as a full scale initiative to fix something way beyond repair. That something is the trust of the American people and in their faith of electing a public official who's mandate is to protect all of their rights and civil liberties.

"He has a chance to rebuild those communites"
He is rebuilding Iraq Sir.... The Super Bowl is being held in Detroit, MI this year my friend and have you seen the condition of that city? It's as if a war was waged there as well and their is no concern about that city or stabilizing its infrastructure. As an American citizen I would be completely outraged that the priority for infrastructure repair has been focused on a country that this administration helped to destroy.
I ask you bluntly Mr. Watts... what progress is being made in Iraq that is justifiable to the American people when you are living in a country with over-crowded schools, hospitals and correctional facilities. Do you not see a flaw in judgement and wonder why your government has spent $255 Billion on this war so far, just to end up having to rebuild the cities of a country they have bombed? Direct contradiction and a waste of valuable tax money? I think so. "We are winning in Iraq"
The situation is controlled chaos at best Sir.
A military of 160,000 strong should not be susceptible to random citizens with home made bombs strapped to them and their inability (along with the coalition forces) to contain these threats is a blame that should be placed directly on Mr. Rumsfeld's shoulders.
Low inflation is a trivial point Sir because the ramifications of this administration will be felt well after this President has vacated 1600. When other global markets start to compete directly with the US, and it is evident in India & China, the American people will be looking back on the failures of this administration to recognize the advancement of these nations without acting responsibly economically.

How does Cindy Sheehan wearing a t-shirt with a truthful statement on it bring you to the conclusion that the Democratic opposition will not protect the citizens of the U.S in the threat of conflict? You Sir continue to be vague in your assessments and as it stands now, no one can bring this Commander in Chief's approval ratings back to a respectable level.
Posted By Anonymous Frank Randolph Scott, Port Perry, Ontario, CAN : 5:16 PM ET
Blaming Democrats, the 'oposition party' for Bush's glaring incompetence is ludicrous to the absurd.

Ask seniors about their meds, New Orleans' folks about there help from FEMA, Exon execs about their profits and Cheney's secret meetings about energy. Should I continue with Abramov, Doolittle,Delay, outing CIA agents, Bush's Enron buddies, etc. etc etc. Democrats did not create those immoral and ugly ruinations of American life. Hypocrites did.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Stokes, Sacramento, CA : 5:16 PM ET
Is it fair and intellectually honest to equate Cindy Sheehan to all Democrats -- even to those Democrats who oppose the War? To suggest that if you oppose the War, you're an extremist?

This kind of logic and rhetoric is what's wrong with the political process in Washington, DC.

Also -- I'm a student, so I don't know how rising interest rates for loans, increases in the costs of living and cuts in student loans are helping me. Please explain. If the President wants to be a Terrorism Czar, let him resign and give him that post. Let him focus on that 100 percent. But the President of the United States, however, is supposed to effectively address domestic concerns as well, and so far, President Bush hasn't.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Las Vegas NV : 5:18 PM ET
I feel this editorial was written by an idealistic young republican right out of high school.

#1. Since when have Republicans proven they are strong on national security? They sure talk the talk, but I have yet to see any walking.
#2. Cindy Sheehan is now the offical spokesperson for the Democratic party? This one statement completely devastated any credibility in this editorial.
#3. Republicans don't support poor people? That is a very general view. Sure they cater more towards big business currently,and big government, but Bush has attempted some medical help for the elderly, if only because they are the largest voting class.
#4. The President admitted a mistake? Thats a first.
#5. Newsflash: 911 caught us with our pants down. It wasn't a Democratic or Republican failure, but rather a failure of America in general to be aware of the world. ANY president in power at this time could have implemented procedures similar to what Bush has done. Probably better. They sure would't have dragged us off to fight in a quagmire war that diverts resources that could be actually locating REAL terrorists.

The reason Bush's numbers are low is because he is doing a lousy job, just like his first term. He tosses out ideas then goes on long vacations. Nothing ever gets done. He has introduced big government again, entrenched us in another Vietnam, and basically catered to his big business buddies in place of helping the American people. I think people are beginning to realize there are worse threats to them than the constant "Terrorist behind every Bush" that is tossed about any time said president gives a speech. Red Scare anyone?
Posted By Anonymous Shawn, Lynchburg, VA : 5:24 PM ET
Well said Anthony (from PA)!
Posted By Anonymous Frank Randolph Scott, Port Perry, Ontario : 5:24 PM ET
Democrats weak on national security? Just how many times do you suppose that Democrats have sent large portions of our National Guard (the original homeland defenders) over on some fool's errand on the other side of the planet?
Posted By Anonymous Greg Alexander, Bloomington, IN : 5:26 PM ET
JC Watts wrote, "The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security." I'm no great fan of Sheehan, but arresting people on the basis of what T-shirt they wear doesn't strike me as being "serious on national security." In fact, it tells me that Washington is more concerned with style over substance, and that problem is as bipartisan as it can be.

Note that a GOP Congressman's wife was also ejected for wearing a t-shirt ("support the troops" in her case), but was not arrested, even after she (by her own admission) "got real colorful with them." That doesn't help matters, since accusations of a double standard will undoubtedly arise; both of them should have been allowed to stay in the gallery.

Sheehan doesn't speak for "the Democrats," Mrs. Young doesn't speak for "the Republicans," and this is one Independent who is sick and tired of the posturing coming from both sides of the aisle. Note that Watts was quick to suggest that Sheehan's arrest means that "the Democrats aren't serious about national security," but careful to state that the criticism that "Republicans don't care about poor people" is only a "perception problem." Did I mention that we're tired of word games?
Posted By Anonymous Wes M., Lexington KY : 5:35 PM ET
So how again does Sheehan's arrest show us that the Democrats "aren't serious about security?" What does Beverly Young's eviction mean?
Posted By Anonymous Michelle Bourg, Lawrenceville, Ga. : 5:43 PM ET
If someone in this country is talking to a terrorist Bush and intelligence officails have all the legal tools they need to monitor that conversation. They can start listening on the conversation and have three days to complete very little paperwork in order to comply with the FISA requirement. With the midterm elections looming and anxious republicans calling Bush takes the coward's choice: to lie and confuse American's yet again, by claiming that he had to break the law to keep us safe. The reason he had to break the limited protection that we have is because he wanted to listen to conversation that did not give rise to probable cause ie: probably not talking to a terrorist. That could be the conversations of journalist that does not like or politicians that he or Cheney feel give comfort to the enemy. Remember Valarie Plame and recall that the Bush administration plays dirty, proudly and often. The only reason Bush needed extra-legal tools is because he wanted to listen to you and me, if he wanted to listen to people talking to terrorist he could have done it legally.
With regard to 9/11, it might not have happened had he read the security brief on his desk and connected the dots blaring infront of him.
Posted By Anonymous Caroline Cruz, Philadelphia PA : 5:46 PM ET
"The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security."

Well this is the best Republican non-sequitur I have ever heard. Others here have already eloquently pointed out its offensive nonsensicalness so I won't try to top them. We ought to look at what it is a sign of.

Mr. Watts, this woman's crime was wearing a t-shirt. It had no obscenities, no threats, no hate speech, nothing illegal. Sheehan - a private citizen who was an invited guest at the event - was arrested and taken to jail for publicly disagreeing with the President. The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Republicans are intent on stifling dissent and abrogating personal freedoms in whatever ways they can including brute police force. How long will it be before we completely forget what it is like to be free?
Posted By Anonymous Lesley, Tampa FL : 6:02 PM ET
There are so many problems with Watts's commentary, I don't even know where to begin. Actually, here's a good one:

"The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security. It plays into the perception that Democrats are not prepared to defend you."

Since when is Cindy Sheehan a spokesperson for the Democractic party?? Last I heard, she was out making speeches criticizing Hillary Clinton and John Kerry for not advocating an immediate withdrawal, and then stating that she was consdidering running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) because Feinstein is allegedly "pro-war".

"[President Bush] can take all the good news -- that we're winning in Iraq, that we haven't been hit since 9/11, that we have low unemployment and low inflation, that we collected $100 billion more in tax revenues than we expected -- and make his case to the American people."

First off, let me be clear that despite the additional tax revenue, we will still be several hundred billion dollars in debt this fiscal year (primarily due to the Republican plan of simultaneously cutting taxes on wealthy corporations and the rich and increasing discretionary, pork barrel spending). Somehow we went from a massive surplus to a massive debt in six years under Bush, and Watts tries to spin that into a plus.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Chicago, IL : 6:11 PM ET
It would have to be a Republican to have such views. I remember when some Republicans were actually intelligent. I quite don't see the relationship between
Ms. Sheehan being arrested and the allegation that "Democrats are not serious about security". What I do see is the classic Republican splitting strategy that is primarily responsible for the division and polarization in this country. By throwing Ms. Sheehan into a discussion about Democrats not being serious about security, is the same strategy as throwing 9/11 into everything from mad cow disease to high gas prices. Get my drift?
Who said we are winning in Iraq? Am I misssing something? We will never win in Iraq. And please, don't
throw out any of this "support the troops" answers. That we will not win in Iraq is not a military criticism, it is a POLICY criticism. That is another one of your "devisive strategies": everytime someone critizes that war, just answer with "support the troops".
If you support the troops so much, stop throwing them into the lion's den. Smoke and mirrors, my friend.
We are looking through you.
Posted By Anonymous Ben, Tampa, Florida : 6:15 PM ET
This world has been fighting "terror" since it first started. they may have not called them terrorist; they were just the enemy. You would think by now people would understand that there will always be that crazy kid at school with radical ideas and hates anyone who doesn't like his or her idea. Why don't we fiqure out why these terrorist are doing what they are doing and talk about it, figure out out a solution and stop this pointless aggression. When we kill one of their "terrorist" who happens to be someone's father, son, uncle, or friend don't you think that loss of life inspires at least one other person to have vengence on those who killed their specail someone? which happenes to be our brave american soldiers. These are dark days for americans. Talk of things getting better is a lie, an illision for us to sleep at night.
Posted By Anonymous brently abilez, Choctaw Ok : 6:16 PM ET
What defense does the country need against a woman who lost her son at war? Give me a break. Quit he fearmongering!
Posted By Anonymous Margaret Gabriel, Canada : 6:16 PM ET
I have one question. Why are there only two parties in the US? Is that free choice or no choice?
Posted By Anonymous Barbara Wheeland, Montreal, QC : 6:21 PM ET
What do Bush and Republicans mean when they say we are winning or "making progress" in the war on terror? Bin Laden and his people are very much alive and mocking Bush. How defeated can they be?
Posted By Anonymous Jeannie Mahoney, Sacramento, California : 6:42 PM ET
reply to Shawn, Lynchburg - Amen!
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Chicago, IL : 6:43 PM ET
As a life long Democrat I'm sick of tired of people saying that we are weak on National Security. We too suffered, was shocked and appalled about 9/11. I'm just as Patriotic as the Republicans but I will go to my grave believing that we had no business going to war in Iraq and we're no safer because of it.
Posted By Anonymous Agnes D. Reid, Columbia, MD : 6:46 PM ET
What have you done for the U.S.A., Mr. Watts? To say that the Democrats are weak on national security is either ignorance or a lie. Most Democrats that I know either are or have served in the U.S. military. I am retired military and I do not support Bush's war in Iraq.

You talk of winning the war in Iraq when, apparently, "mission accomplished" means that thousands more of our young people had to die and will die as long as we are over there fighting people who believe in the same concept that our American patriots did just over 200 years ago. They believe they are fighting for their country! What right do we have to impose what we think is right on those people? If you aren't willing to go there or to send your own children over there to fight, then just keep your opinions about the war to yourself.

I do not believe that making jobs that consist mainly of minimum or low wages to be a boost to the economy. A tax cut that support the rich and pay increases that do not cover the increase in the cost of living does not make for economic recovery. Bush has reversed economic growth that we enjoyed during the Clinton administration. Bush has accumulated twice the debt of all presidents combined before Clinton created a surplus.

Let's talk about education and health. Where are those programs now? Has education improved in the U.S.? If you listen to Rush Limbaugh or read Fox news then I suppose you would think so. Read news from international sources as well. Read news from as many sources as you can in order to develop an opinion that you can truly call your own. Otherwise put your jackboots and brown shirt on and show your true colors. Then it will be obvious to honest people who are naive enough to think that you have a political opinion that you are truly the enemy of freedom.

William Slifko
Chief Petty Officer, USN (Ret.)
Posted By Anonymous Tokyo, Japan : 6:51 PM ET
Did you write all this with astraight face?The fact that the President's numbers are so low is not due to the fact that the Democrats are framing the issues. I don't suppose it could be due to the fact That the American people are finally opening their eyes. Give us all credit for having minds of our own and eyes that can see and ears that can hear.OR i don't suppose it could be due to the fact that our sons and dauhters are involved in awar that should never have happened istigated by a"leader" who lied to us and is violating the rihts given to us Under the Costitution on which freedoms our ancestors fought so hard for? Nah, you're right it's the Democrats.
Posted By Anonymous Karen Wolle, Annapolis, Maryland : 7:06 PM ET
Dear Mr. Watts;

RE: "The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security."

How much does Karl Rove pay you people to spout this garbage? Honestly, must you republicans constantly spin? I admit, I didn't approve of Ms. Sheehan's actions, but what does this have to do with national security? I would argue that our continued presence in Iraq actually makes us LESS safe.

And a perception problem? The republican party? That's like saying Paul Prudohme has a weight problem. Thanks for stating the obvious.

And please-- please give me ONE justification why you think we're winning the war on terror. Just one. It certainly has nothing to do with the bumblings and stumblings of this current 'administration'-- I would chalk it up to plain dumb luck before I would credit anything the republicans have done.
Posted By Anonymous Todd Severson, Kingsburg CA : 7:07 PM ET
You are as DRUNK as the rest of the Republicans on the Republican Kool-Aid!
Posted By Anonymous John Wilson, Waukesha, WI : 7:18 PM ET
I can't understand how someone can see things so differently then what the actual facts show us. The only brach of government that isn't tainted with corruption, deceit, cronyism, ect....is in the judicial branch. We've lost our vision as a nation, and that breaks my heart. How about this for values....taking care of our elderly and kids, making sure education reaches every corner of our country, taking care of our poor. Taking care of our disaters before paying for ones we've created in another country. What do we have? Corporate profits at record levels, gas prices that make some decide wheather they should call in sick to save gas, indictments in the white house and house of reps, probes into the senate on ethics violations, holding people in secret without charging them, listening in on our coutrymen without warrants (unbelievable), a president that acts more like a dictator. We should be afraid, very afraid of the direction we're moving into the future. I think we're headed into a period of unmatched unrest. If you think we're fighting within ourselves now......just wait, there will be a backlash against conservatism and religious activism.
Posted By Anonymous Maurice, Santa Clara, Ca. : 7:24 PM ET
All I see on Lou Dobbs is how terrible America is doing. I thought that my country had turned upside down and gone to hell. Upon returning to the US recently however,I found that it is still a great place to be! The world should envy the USA. It is about time that things are put in the right perspective and Mr Watts' comments do that. I'm not a Republican but I must say that Bush is one of the few American leaders who can go ahead and act without giving a crap about what is popular or not. That takes great strength and wisdom...and considering how extra-ordinary these times are, America is doing very well.
Posted By Anonymous Gordon, Osaka, Japan : 7:43 PM ET
Since when does Cindy Sheehan represent the Democratic party? What happened to individual expression? Or do we have to be connected to a large corporation or a lobbyist to have our voice heard? By the way today it's being reported that her arrest was made in error. How convenient.

Additionally, I saw you on CNN last night after the State of the Union speech and you admonished Governor Kaine and wanted to send "him off to bed without dinner" for saying that student loans would be cut tomorrow (today). Looks like you were in the dark on that one. The bill passed through Congress today.

Stop your lying!
Posted By Anonymous David Wahnon New York NY : 8:32 PM ET
"The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security. It plays into the perception that Democrats are not prepared to defend you."

I fail to see the logic in this statement by former Representative J.C. Watts (R-OK). Could someone please expound on this mind-numbingly partistan swipe--at a mother who lost her son and the party that wouldn't have cherry-picked the invasion that led to the death of her son in the first place--and explain what Cindy Sheehan's arrest for the contents of her t-shirt has to do with the perception of the ability of Democrats to keep us safe?
Posted By Anonymous andy, austin, tx : 8:35 PM ET
Mr.Watts (like our president)does not want to face the real issues we face everyday like high gas prices,highest poverty level since 70's,high unemployment,massive lay-offs,poor domestic growths,high cost of health insurance and etc.I do recall this president accusing democrats of siding with trial lawyers, and promising American people once he gets re-elected,he will address the issue with the high cost of health/drug coverages.I clearly don't see Watts talk about those empty promises they made.This country has never been in such disastrous shape as far as I can recall.Republicans have no place of accusing democrats when our courts are busy prosecuting them for scandals,theft,bribery,obstructing justice, etc.If Watts can not stick with the facts and honest reporting, he maybe has no business reporting at all.
Posted By Anonymous Ed, Dublin, Ohio : 8:39 PM ET
The idea that the "democrats are weak" on terrorism has never been tested. The fact that the Republicans have done an abysmal job combating terrorism is evicent by the pitiful 9/11 Commission report.

If any "progress is being made in the war against terror," it is certainly outdone by the increasing anti-american sentiment our policies are creating - not to mention the thousands more young terrorists germinating as a result of those same policies.

You think the President's numbers are so low because the democrats have "framed the issues," and Bush will get a chance to do the same in his State of the Union Address. The Presidents numbers are only as high as they are precisely because the democrats have been horrible at framing the issues. If democrats could successfully communicate to the American people what the President is actually doing and why it is wrong, there would be an outcry for Bush's impeachment and possibly his arrest.

Bush and the Republicans rely on propogandizing the rich, uneducated, and evangelical. It is due to these groups and the administration's skill at marketing that Bush is able to win elections, hold onto power, and get away with lies, corruption, and criminal activity.
Posted By Anonymous Jonathan - Hillsboro, Oregon : 8:46 PM ET
Does this guy believe what he writes? By the way, the Capitol police also threw out the wife of a Congressman for wearing a t-shirt supporting the war!

Now for the war comments. The problem is that the leaders of our country are not fighting this war to win it. If they wanted to win it, they would have sent in sufficent personel to do the job. They have never done that. It is a convient place to have no-bid contracts to reward friends.

I would support the war if we were there to win it.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Childress, TX : 9:01 PM ET
Mr. Watts reminds me that if I were a Republican up for election or re-election this fall I would tremble when I reflect that the current GOP Administration is one of the most incompetent in American history. Think of Iraq, Social Security, Katrina, et al. My heart runneth over with joy. All the Democrats have to do is use a mantra of GOP failure, failure, failure!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Robert Harper, Toronto Canada : 9:23 PM ET
So Cindy Sheehan was athreat to national security? You Easterners sure have the shakes about national security.
Today the House voted to cut Health Care for the poor. Want to repeat the bit about Republicans being perceived as not caring for the poor?
Low employment goes great with low wages is an improvement? How is your president going to make his case with the 100 billion? That wont even dent his war in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Gene Guerin Albuquerque,New Mexico : 10:07 PM ET
Mr. Watts does not get it. In fact, his post truly is pitiable. When our fellow Americans are more concerned about being safe than being free, we have reached the depths of despair. One must invoke Benjamin Franklin's celebrated quote, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

What I heard in the State of the Union is a message of fear. I suspect the mission of this administration is the provocation of a generally fearful citizenry. There is considerable proof that fear is a valuable tool to keep the masses in order.

Let's get a handle on some historical truth. This president and his administration failed to prevent 9/11 and then used that failure to build a culture of fear and to steal much of our liberty.

This president has used fear to justify internal terrorism of American citizens. This administration has embraced illegal wiretaps, arrests for exercising free speech, diversion of public funds to cronies, and criminal disregard for the safety and welfare of our troops.

It is time to take away this administration's ability to abrogate our liberties. Demand of your congressional representatives that they do their job and oversee this administration. Demand this same action of the media rather than the lazy, simple-minded regurgitation of the administration talking points. And, demand of yourself an involvement and investment in your country's governance, vote, run for local office, work with your political party, and get off your butt.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Spangler, Pecatonica IL : 10:25 PM ET
You must have watched a different chanel. I did not get a bit of that confidence you are talking about. or maybe this headline from today's CNN "House passes, sends Bush $39B spending cuts
Narrowly passed bill will cut health care spending on programs for the poor and elderly." would land you where reality is.
Posted By Anonymous barnie, shelburne, vt : 10:30 PM ET
I think CNN does not need Mr. Watts or Mr. bennett. They need to hire Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. Imagine Paula Zahn brings Cindy Sheehan on TV to interview. Perhaps CNN does not have respectable people to come on the TV. Anderson Cooper 360 also is biased. It is unbelievable.
Posted By Anonymous Andy Smith, NYC : 10:43 PM ET
After reading the comments by JC Watts, I have to assume that he is paid by the Democrats! How else can we explain the obviously ludicrous assertions, deficient logic and self-refuting unreality of his comments! If we are winning in Iraq - how come the Army is close to breakingpoint? And what a desperate state we are in when removing a woman because of her T-shirt constitutes a strong position on national security! JC, I have to applaud you for your brilliant parody of Bush-speak - but I suggest you declare your real political affiliation in future!
Posted By Anonymous Nick, Boston, MA : 11:04 PM ET
This is absolutely inane. Was this really written by someone who was an elected official? Does he really believe there is a connection between Cindy Sheehan and the Democrats being weak on terrorism? Wow. I could find a five-year-old to come up with a better analysis than J.C. Watts. How very embarrassing for him to write something as bad as this.

And how brillant was the "federal government made some mistakes with Katrina?" Gee, you think so?

Keep sticking with the talking points, because your doing a helluva job, Wattsy.
Posted By Anonymous John, Lancaster, PA : 11:11 PM ET
Tina-

Wanton? Hysterical? You would have been more persuasive in your argument if you had refrained from the Victorian diagnoses. I don't agree with Cindy Sheehan's tactics, but I thought attacking a woman's opinion by attacking her virtue was discredited years ago. The discourse in this country is polluted by name-calling on both sides.
Posted By Anonymous Jacqueline, Philadelphia, PA : 11:35 PM ET
On Cindy Sheehan- If we are truly a country of free speech, then why on earth are we throwing people out of a speech made by a Preisdent we elected? A democracy is not about having one view and censoring all other offending views. Also, if we throw out the support for this increasingly unpopular war, then how does the president expect the American people to support it? It just doesn't make sense
Posted By Anonymous Mary, Memphis, TN : 10:16 AM ET
On heathcare I agree with Kristen from Portland Oregon-I think that Bush should concentrate on health care and preventing this country from having a complete breakdown. If we don't treat those who cannot pay for the healthcare they so desperately need, then we are a society that is headed towards its own destruction. You can tell the character of a nation by how they treat the poorest of the poor.
Posted By Anonymous Kate Memphis Tennessee : 10:16 AM ET
As the Iraq war drags on and more lives are lost, Cindy Sheehan will be looked back upon as a national hero
Posted By Anonymous Judy, Boston MA : 10:31 AM ET
It gives the American people some confidence.

In what, exactly? Certainly not him.
Posted By Anonymous Christy, Charleston, Illinois : 10:32 AM ET
Did I miss something here? Explain to me how Cindy Sheehan's arrest ties into Democrats not being serious about national security?

Mr Watts I know it is your job to make the Republican party look good, however I would appreciate it if you could refrain from insulting the American people intelligence.
Posted By Anonymous Donna Wilkins, MI : 10:54 AM ET
J.C. Watts,
to what news do you listen to? Your numbers and comments just don't add up to what the rest of the country is saying. You are so out of it. Please try to learn more about your country and its people.

thank you,
Lois Vasquezl
Posted By Anonymous Lois Vasquez, Georgetown, Tx. 78626 : 1:08 PM ET
The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested fits perfectly with warrantless eavesdropping secret torture etc. We are becoming a fascist state and if you question authority and the motives for decisions it makes you are branded a traitor. Two hundred and thirty years ago The earliest European Americans revolted against KIng George when they were branded traitors instead of patriots. History is repeating itself with King George W Bush. Before We try to export freedom to other countries I believe that we should try to regain it in our country first. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Th e rich are taking on the air of royalty and our leaders want to be above the law. Wake up America!
Posted By Anonymous Ed Fleck Long Island New York : 2:20 PM ET
Watts said, "The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security."

Um, what? The arrest I saw was made by Capitol Hill police...not the Democrats.
The fact she was arrested says nothing about the Democrats or the Republicans, unless perhaps it was done because W can't take a little silent heckling. It was just stupid. This lady's son died, and she wore a friggin' t-shirt. They arrested her for it. How asinine.
Posted By Anonymous Colin Christopher, Cullowhee NC : 3:49 PM ET
I do consider myself having above-average-intelligence, but I am starting to question this assumption after reading a portion of JC Watts blog on the State of the Union:

"The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that Democrats are not serious about national security. It plays into the perception that Democrats are not prepared to defend you!"

I'm sorry - How one make that connection? If that were so - I'm gonna try one of my own.

"The fact that Cindy Sheehan was arrested is another sign to the American people that the present leadership of this country is using Gestapo like tactics to squelch the opposition from being heard."

Sincerely - a Budding Independant Strategist
Posted By Anonymous James Romanowski , Barron, WI : 3:55 PM ET
Pivot?????

Wasn't that identified as "flip flopping' a mear 2 years ago.

Oh! That's right. The president is never wrong, even when he's wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Diana Lisle, Il : 4:21 PM ET
Why does anyone listen to the State of Union. I did listen but...it is simply a plethora of one-liners. There is no substance, no plan details, it's just a "pat on the back for GW - I'm doing a great job". The man and his cronies should be tried as war criminals.
Posted By Anonymous Mary V. Lesniak, Evanston, IL : 4:36 PM ET
How in the WORLD is Cindy Sheehan's arrest for wearing a t-shirt critical of the Bush administration a sign that the Democrats are weak on national security? It seems more likely that it is a sign that the current Republican administration is weak on civil liberties and the Constitution of the nited States.
Posted By Anonymous G. Smith, Los Angeles, CA : 6:48 PM ET
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