Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All In

Ken Blackwell is looking at a pair of tens and thinks he has the nuts. By picking State Sen. Tom Raga as his running mate, he is saying that Ohio is pure conservative country. He’s saying he can win running a polarizing campaign that will alienate independents and give moderate Republicans pause. And he’s saying he can write off Northeast Ohio as hopelessly blue and win with a southern strategy.

And really, what else could he do? Blackwell’s strategy for neutralizing the Scandalocracy is to palm it off on Republican insiders and pretend he isn’t one. His strategy for dealing with a state economy moribund after a decade of ironclad Republican rule is the same. Blackwell isn’t just running against Democrats, he’s running against a Republican establishment that he describes with the kind of special disgust Leninists reserve for the Liberal Bourgeoisie.

If Petro is smart, he will counter with the Arshinkoff factor. By aligning himself with Alex, Blackwell jumped with both feet into the deepest, smelliest Republican cesspool in the state. Petro started down this road with his impassioned op-ed defense against the Jack Morrison charges. Really, hearing Blackwell say that he and Raga are “a team that will shake up the status quo," is pretty laughable after an Arshinkoff being Arshinkoff moment like last week. But Petro pulled up short of linking Arshinkoff to Blackwell

The pitfall for Petro is that training a search light on Arshinkoff also illuminates the pay-to-play allegations emanating from Summit. And while his denials were impressive, I still have my doubts. I’ve been asking around and indeed, lawyers are still saying that if Jack Morrison says it, they believe it. Not to say that Jack’s role in this is completely honorable, it’s not. But straight up lying just isn’t his style, especially considering that this would be a lie that would run messily afoul of the Rules of Professional Responsibility.

The one move Petro could have made was to join the call for a Grand Jury investigation. Personally, if someone was spreading lies about me and I knew they were lies, I would want that person to be compelled to swear to it under penalty of perjury, especially if the person involved was a lawyer for whom perjury could be professional death sentence. Petro held that chip back. He’s still testing the odds, for whatever reason. But now Blackwell has pushed everything into the pot.

Mr. Petro, the bet is yours to call.

4 comments:

scott bakalar said...

great take. spot-on.

Scott- sounds like the job would be a great opportunity, but selfishly - I'd miss this type of blogging from you.

Yellow Dog Sammy said...

Great writing, Pho! You're da bomb.

I wonder how much race figures into Blackwell's thinking. Perhaps it has occurred to him that without ever saying a word about race, he will get at least a certain amount of support among African-Americans in northern Ohio, who are understandably sick and tired of the lily-whiteness of government? So he doesn't have to pick a northern running mate?

keng said...

Pho, yellow dog~

You're both dead on!

grandpaboy said...

The different font threw me there for a minute.

If I were Blackwell, I'd think twice about running a "Southern Strategy" in Ohio as a black man. Whatever amount of votes he gets from socially conservative Ohioans is going to be offset by a lot of Republicans who can't vote for a black man.

On the other hand, Blackwell gets to count the votes.