Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ken Blackwell's God, Pt. 1

The Ohio leftysphere is buzzing with opinions about Ken Blackwell’s blast at Democrats yesterday in Toledo. T-d S--------d sent out a notice condemning the statement and linking to an online petition demanding that Ken apologize. Ken’s blog is unrepentant. You can read blog reaction from Jill, Modern Esquire at BSB and Eric.

To begin with, let’s get the full context down:

    "Our rights are not grants from government," Mr. Blackwell said. "They are gifts from God. And when you understand that, you will understand and respect what has driven the American legacy of limited government."
    Democrats, he added, "still believe that government is God, and God is not."
Thought number one: While it would be nice for Blackwell to apologize for insulting my faith, it would be nicer still for him to apologize for using such vague and clunky language. Strickland seems to interpret the last phrase as meaning “And God is not the government.” In fact Blackwell appears to be saying that Democrats believe that God is not, i.e. that He does not exist.

Either way, this is an attempt to forge a rhetorical link between small government conservatism and Christian conservatism. I disagree – I believe God wants us to alleviate suffering with whatever tools we have, including government. While I disagree with his premise, I might be able to respect his project except A) It’s a bunch of hooey and B) He is insulting and threatening me and my faith.

I’ll deal with (A) in this post. (B) will come later.

Topic A: Hooey. Blackwell loves to talk about his dislike for Big Government. According to his PD blog, his antipathy toward government drove him to the Republican party. So he doesn't believe in using government to solve problems.

All this would be simply wrong as opposed to actually offensive if he worked this to its logical conclusion. If, like his putative hero Ronald Reagan, Blackwell told people that they are on their own, that they just have to pull themselves up, work harder, do it themselves, I could respectfully disagree.

But no, J. Ken speaks from both sides of his pulpit.

As I noted a couple of days ago, the centerpiece of his platform is leasing the Turnpike for $4-6 billion to pay for stuff. What will he do with the money? Let’s ask:

    Once implemented, the generated revenue would be segregated from the rest of the state budget (so that it couldn’t be hijacked on regular state spending) and targeted for on a number of items, such as:
    • Ohio energy development including alternative and clean coal resources as well as conservation and efficiency improvements
    • Ohio Venture Capital Fund
    • Revolving development loan fund
    • Turnpike corridor development
    • Transportation infrastructure
    • Universal Broad Band access
    • Higher education scholarship fund for engineering, technology and science students
    • K-12 science and math program support
    • Technology specific worker training
    • We could do this with guarantees to maintain the Turnpike’s road maintenance programs and a stable toll structure keyed to the rate of inflation

Does that sound like limited government to you? To me it sounds like a hugely ambitious laundry list of government programs. He calls it the JOB Fund -- JOB meaning Jobs for Ohio Businesses. It could easily wear a more epic tag like, idunno, New Society or Great Deal or something.

To be fair, he probably advocates doing this in a “market based” way, which translated from Republican means “give it out in no-bid contracts and hope for the best.”

Still, this is government money – a monstrous chunk of government money – being used to solve problems. The fact he's funding it by selling off an asset that was paid for with past taxes as opposed to using future taxes doesn’t change the construct. He’s using the government to solve problems.


Why do I get the feeling that the party faithful hear more of his "Democrats render blood sacrifices to the God of government" rhetoric while the inner city blacks he's courting hear more about the JOB Fund?


Jill said...

Thanks for picking up the gauntlet, Scott. Honestly, and I know this is just my typical I'm a just cavewoman style, I never in my life thought that I would be worried about having to move from a place because those who want to and could end up running it are attacking what I hold to be important with religion. It is just so wrong and un-American to me.