Friday, February 24, 2006

Ken Blackwell vs Everybody

Party primary endorsements are a mess. Inherently. While the left-of-center blogs have burned with analyses and criticisms of the Ohio Democratic Party endorsement process, the Republicans have had their own problems with their gubernatorial primary.

Today’s PD reports that ORP’s Northeast Ohio Regional Director Karl Raszewski quit in a flurry of emails claiming that ORP has stacked the deck against J. Ken Blackwell and for Jim Petro. In particular, he accuses the party of squelching a straw poll of Central Committee members that ended in a landslide for Blackwell.

While the initial reaction to all this for a Democrat might be joy, or at least solace, it worries me. OK, pretty much everything about J. Ken worries me. In this case, it’s because information like this bolsters J. Ken’s case that he is the One True Republican, running against both Democrats and diluted, corrupt, revisionist Republicanism. What’s more, his travails against the Republican party may capture the imagination of African Americans who see the Petro/Blackwell tilt as a white/black thing as opposed to an electable moderate/loose cannon extremist thing. That’s certainly Cincinnati Black Blog’s slant.

All of which means that Blackwell remains well positioned if he wins the primary. A Petro campaign will have to defend the indefensible – the sorry state of the State after a decade of Republican hegemony. He may still win on “The Democrats would be even worse,” but it’s a long steep hill to climb.

Blackwell on the other hand will run as the savior of both Ohio and Conservatism. And the love he gets from the national conservative press continues to grow. While up till now it has come in the form of hagiography from obscure righty publications like Human Events, this past weekend, establishment conservative George Will sang Blackwell’s song.

Last summer the received wisdom was that running against Blackwell was the best shot for Democrats. At the time I agreed but also felt that the stakes were so high and the Democratic party so moribund that it felt like going all in with a Queen High. Now it looks more and more like Blackwell is the stronger candidate.

I’ve never been more tempted to change registration to Independent and take a Republican ballot this spring.


Anonymous said...

Blackwell can also use some of the same tactics Jay Williams used in his victory over Hagan in Youngstown.

J. Kenneth has been the nightmare candidate in my mind since I saw Jay's campaign up close.

54cermak said...

Blackwell scares the hell out of me too. I only hope that Strickland is paying close attention at what he's doing to Petro and is prepared when he comes for him.

grandpaboy said...

Blackwell is lethal, and Strickland better regard him as such. I saw too many people think Kerry had it made in Ohio because Bush was such a fuck-up.

Lord Blackwell saw to it by hook and crook that Bush got Ohio. It would be stupidity to think he'll do any less for his gubernatorial campaign.

On top of that, fundie grassroots still beat progressive grassroots. It will be a tough battle, no matter how much the ORP establishment hates Blackwell. Thank god Strickland hasn't stumbled the way Brown has.

De's Adventures said...

Blackwell scares all the radicals? Must be someone I can support.

Pho said...


If you define "radical" as "anyone to the left of Christie Todd Whitman," yes he scares radicals. He is radical right wing -- he doens't scare them. On the other hand he scares the radical left, but also the moderate left, the center and, to the extent they admit it publicly, the moderate right.

I don't consider myself a radical; he scares the bejeezus out of me.