Sunday, August 20, 2006

Two Faces of Ken Blackwell

As the campaign rolls on, I see more confirmation that J. Ken Blackwell delivers messages to inner-city Black audiences that vary sharply from those given to his true conservative base. The latest is Dayton Daily News story about a Blackwell appearance before the Dayton Women’s Roundtable at the Dayton Urban League. According to DDN, Blackwell outlined his agenda including:

    • Taxes: He would work to lower the state's income tax to a flat rate of 3.25 percent to stem the exodus of businesses, young entrepreneurs and college graduates from the state. He also wants to ensure that blacks get their fair share of bank loans and economic development opportunities.

    • Health care: He said Ohio should look at Massachusetts' compulsory health coverage plan, which aims to provide universal health coverage with citizens, businesses and government sharing the costs.
Just wow. He can slash taxes but still afford a massive new entitlement. Businesses will stay thanks to their reduced taxes, never mind their new mandated health care expenses. Even more than promising to spend the several times more on public works than the Turnpike lease will net, this is so brazen, I can’t help but feel somewhat awestruck.

(If you need to brush up, here's a Business Week article on the nuts'n'bolts of the Mass. plan, complete with some of the conservative criticism. Also a WSJ editorial flaying Mitt Romney for the plan, reprinted in a conservative blog.)

And he will keep doing this as long as lazy reporters let him get away with it. Someone at DDN should have called the campaign to ask the questions – how does he pay for this when he cuts that? How does this keep them here and that not chase them away? How is any of this consistent with his purported love of free markets? No, just let Blackwell be Blackwell.

Whoever the hell that is.

50 Pho points to the first conservative who admits this is at least a little disquieting.


redhorse said...

Can't be the conservative, but do I get a token set of Pho Points for noting how the art in the post resembles the cover art from the Division Bell?

Aside from the campaign promises being built of whisper thin clouds, what Blackwell's promised is staggering. Both a massive expansion of state spending coupled with reduced tax loads. The only way to reconcile this is the conservative Kevin Costner: lower taxes and they will come.

NixGuy said...

I'll be the conservative, and I thought the mass plan was interesting.

The devil is in the details, but the overall concept is interesting.

The underlying principle is that we require auto insurance, therefore we should require health insurance.

Tennesseee tried universal and it failed miserably. I'm waiting to see what will happen in Mass, and I do not have high hopes.

One of the great things about federalism is that we have 50 different states to try things, if it goes badly, it doesn't effect everyone, but if it goes well, it can be copied.

Blackwell is just doing his usual thing of thinking outside the box.

Modern Esquire said...


So, wait, you support Blackwell for promoting ideas you believe will fail and are bad for the State?

Too bad Blackwell is a day late on health care. Ted Strickland already announced his health care platform earlier last week. His plan is very similiar to the MA-style plan.

Instead of saying he's thinking outside of the box, why don't you admit that he's deliberately talking like a big-government liberal when he's talking to black audiences and talking differently with conservative audiences?

Pho said...

ME, you beat me to it. That is of course the crux, and everyone but particularly anti-government conservatives should be nervous about an ambitious politician who will say anything to get elected.

I'd also note that even his speech at Urban League contains contradictory messages -- that we can slash taxes and open up a new entitlement; That we have to drop taxes to keep businesses here but we can impose employer-mandate health care costs with no reprecussions.

el jefe said...

well I'm not a conservative so I guess I'll have to skip the bonus Pho points but I would say that something like this is expected.

The right are fairly desperate right now to retain their presence in an ever disgruntled environment. If that means they must work towards making concessions and saying what they feel they must to hold onto their seats of power, they'll do it.

Abe said...

I'm a conservative, and it's easy for Ken to have two faces since he's the ultimate 'Roundhead'. All he needs to do is turn his neck from one crowd to another and anybody will easily see both faces. One might even call him 'Isomer Ken', or perhaps more fitting, The Chiral Candidate.

el jefe said...

I nominate Village Smitty for the 50 points!

Pho said...


NixGuy said...

I don't agree that what Blackwell said was mutually contradictory at all.

The Mass plan is interesting, and I as an anti-government conservative believe that there is a path for wider distribution of health care without increasing government spending. We're already spending an ungodly amount remember.

apparently Blackwell does too. And remember all he's said so far is that he would 'look at' the Mass plan. And it deserves a look.

As far as when he's saying it, well duh. you speak about the things that matter to the people you are speaking to.

In other words, you don't talk about cats to dog people. Is it pandering? Only if you tell the dog people you hate cats, and the cat people you hate dogs. From the article I can't see that that is the case here.

But it might be here

el jefe said...

I have no ph34r of telling cat people that I can't stand the feline species. Why should politics be so different?

Abe said...

I accept the points. Wish I could have a dog to keep the cats in line, but can't. However, the cats keep the bird in line and my fish don't have any line. Furthermore, the goat I would like might tick-off my neighbors. Chow.

el jefe said...

I liked a goat once. I spent the night in jail... no harm no foul.

Abe said...

el jefe:

So it wasn't milk you were drinking that night.

Modern Esquire said...


So is Blackwell promising universal health care or not? Because I bet his audiance didn't leave thinking he was just toying with the idea.

And, of course, we'll have to hear what Mr. Blackwell will say about Congressman Ted Strickland's health care plan the next time he speaks to a conservative audience.

My bet: he'll tell the conservative cats he hates the Democratic dogs ideas.

He says he's against more government in the primary and wants to limit spending, but has been promises more spending than the Taft Administration could ever dream of.

He's been against taxes in the primaries that he now no longer criticizes. He's against the prevailing wage for building schools, but last week tells road contractors he supports it for building roads.

Blackwell is the ultimate pander bear. Now that Reformation Ohio has flopped, it's no surprise that Pastor Ken has taken a back seat to Open Checkbook Ken.

NixGuy said...

No idea, wasn't there, only thing I saw was the same thing referenced in the post.

Personally the way Ken is campaigning is not the way I would do it. I'd go full bore against spending and run against Columbus.

But then again, I'd probably go down in flames.