Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, May 11

Gov: Blacks' Biggest Problem with Blackwell (R) Isn't Taft or TEL, it's Bush

Sam Fulwood III has a must-read column in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer entitled "Blackwell Not a Friend to Blacks." Keying off George Will's "ignorant comment" that gubernatorial candidate and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) "appeals to blacks by being black," Fulwood blasts the Republican fantasy that Blackwell will ride the African-American vote to the Ohio governor's mansion and then take his crossover magic nationwide as a vice presidential candidate in 2008.

First, Fulwood reviews the short and unhappy history of previous GOP "Great Black Hopes" J.C. Watts, Alan Keyes, and Colin Powell. Then he asserts that "black people across Ohio haven't climbed aboard [Blackwell's] wobbly bandwagon," and "Cleveland's black ministers aren't going to push this Trojan horse candidate on their congregations." Why? Because Blackwell "frightens" Fulwood and other blacks who have paid attention to his career. "His entire political career has been inside the cozy club of conservatives who stand in opposition to what rank-and-file black voters say they value most." Many black voters agree with Blackwell on abortion and gay rights, but they "won't overlook that Blackwell and his right-wing cronies want to cut taxes without regard to the violence that would do to public education, health-care and social-service programs."

But the most striking roadblock for Blackwell is that blacks won't forget that he delivered Ohio and therefore the nation to George Bush:
"Few black voters will forgive Blackwell for trying to suppress the black turnout in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. As Ohio's Secretary of State, he served as the Republican National Committee's leading storm trooper in the state, paving the way for George Bush to seize control of the White House. ...

"Black voters would be wise to recall the late Justice Thurgood Marshall Jr., who warned of Negroes who suck up to the enemies of their people.

"'There's no difference between a black snake and a white snake,' Marshall said. 'They both bite.'"

Well, I have to admit, I had been assuming that Blackwell's biggest problems with black voters were going to be things like his ties to Taft, his role in permitting the Noe/Coingate scandal, and his draconian Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) amendment, but Fulwood reminds me that those pale in comparison to Blackwell's Bush problem. As Bush's campaign manager for Ohio, there's no way that Blackwell can wriggle out of being the man who wrought Bush upon us, and he did it by suppressing the black vote in Ohio's tainted elections. So how do Ohio's black voters feel about Bush? A Cleveland Plain Dealer/Mason Dixon poll in late April showed that 98% of African-Americans in Ohio disapprove of Bush's job performance. That is not a typo! That's 98% as in virtually every single person. White Ohioans disapproved of Bush by the less dramatic proportion of 67%.

So Taft and TEL aren't the biggies, it's Bush.


At 12:59 PM, Blogger abdirissa said...

From Cincinnati Black Blog:

Listen up! I know this revelation will come as a surprise to many white liberal Democrats but the good news must be shared on this blog: Slavery is over and African Americans don't belong to the Democratic Party. Black people are free to vote for Democrats and Republicans.

Considering that J. Kenneth Blackwell is from Cincinnati (he still lives in Clifton with his wife) and he is Black, and he is making national news, you can expect him and his plans to be discussed here on the Cincinnati Black Blog.

The linked Washington Post story "The Year of the Black Republican?" provides a smorgasbord of food for thought.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When J. Kenneth Blackwell took the stage here on May 2 to claim the Republican nomination for governor, he became something more than his party's standard-bearer in a bellwether state.

The Ohio secretary of state -- a crusading conservative with an appetite for political combat -- also assumed a leading role in his party's latest effort to break the Democrats' decades-long grip on the black vote.

Blackwell, who will face Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland in November, is now the third prominent African American on a statewide Republican ballot this fall. In Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whose candidacy has benefited from his friendship with two Republican National Committee chairmen, is the party's nominee to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. In Pennsylvania, former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann is challenging Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell.

White Democrats don't like me bringing this up but the Dems had a quality candidate running for Governor in Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman and they refused to support him over the white man Ted Strickland. Had Coleman received support from the white guys who run the Party (i.e. Chris Redfern, Tim Burke and Todd Portune) he would've won, Ohio would be assured of having a Black Governor, and the Democratic Party wouldn't have to worry so much about Blacks deserting the Party. Coleman is quoted in the story.

...some Democrats say the GOP's investment in high-profile black candidates represents a strategy that cannot be dismissed lightly. "It cuts into the Democratic base," said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. "It gives choices. And what that does is say to the Democratic Party, 'Put your money where your mouth is.' "

White Dems just don't get it, and they don't want to get it. At nearly every turn, white Dems refuse to back Black Dems over white Dems even when the Black Dem is clearly more qualified. Locally, white Dems refused to support Stephanie Dumas over David Pepper or endorse Mark Mallory over David Pepper. In Maryland, former Congressman and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume has a white opponent and the Party won't intervene on his behalf. The Democratic Party won't put their money where their mouth is until Black people stop voting like brainwashed robots.

White Party bosses won't support Black candidates over white candidates, and they won't support policies that help communities where Blacks live, but they expect Blacks to keep giving our votes to the Dems. Excuse me, but fuck that!

Blackwell, 58, is a former mayor of Cincinnati and a former Ohio treasurer. He was the first African American to be elected statewide, in 1994. He said he sees himself as an agent for creating more competition for the black vote. "I thought it was in the interest of the African American community to reconstruct a competitive two-party system," he said.


Strickland said Blackwell has the potential to cut into the black vote in November. He stressed that he will not take African Americans for granted.

Black Democratic mayors are now pressing Strickland and state Rep. Chris Redfern, the party chairman, for commitments to an urban agenda as the price for their endorsement.

Republicans have made clear gains among Latino voters in the past decade, but their efforts to attract African American votes have met continued resistance. One reason, according to Dianne M. Pinderhughes, a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the bond between blacks and the Democratic Party created by the civil rights battles of the 1960s, for which there has been no Hispanic equivalent.

For Latinos, "there wasn't a major event, like the legislation of the 1960s that Lyndon Johnson or the Democratic Party were involved in that brought blacks into Democratic Party in large numbers and led to partisan identification for a whole generation," she said.

That bond has proved difficult for Republicans to break. But Democratic strategists respect the Republicans' willingness to look over the horizon and make the investments that could change old patterns.

"The Republicans have a longer-term view of things than we Democrats sometimes have," said Cornell Belcher, the Democratic National Committee's pollster.

Strickland and the Dems have already taken African Americans for granted! The only time we hear from the Dem Party bosses is at election time when they do commercials on Black radio stations. Otherwise, white Dems don't give a damn about African Americans.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger abdirissa said...

From the Ohio Honest Elections Campaign website:

"On May 2, 2006 we posted an overview of the political landscape in Ohio which we called “24 Hours”. A great deal of our analysis concerned the strategy of soon to be Republican nominee Kenneth Blackwell to win the November election by targeting the African-American vote and painting himself as a reformer. We underlined the fact that Blackwell (unlike other Republican African-American decoy candidates) has a proven record, a history, of getting African-Americans to vote for him (estimates range as high as 50% of the African-American vote).

Wishful thinking by Democrats that Blackwell’s hideous history of voter suppression particularly targeting the African-American community will act as a talisman ensuring African-Americans will vote Democratic in November’s election is just that: wishful thinking. Interview after interview, article after article makes it clear that African-Americans are angry with a Democratic Party that barely raised a finger to protest the voter suppression and disenfranchisement that occurred in Ohio in 2004 (need we mention Strickland’s vote for the Republican House of Representatives’ immigration bill?). African-American leadership, rumors to the contrary, remain angry and alienated from the Democratic candidate for governor.

We argued in “24 Hours” that the Ohio Democratic Party and Democratic candidates had to genuinely and quickly acquire the support of the African-American leadership in Ohio. By genuinely we mean the active support and campaigning for the Democratic ticket (such as happened in Toledo wherein a Blackwell ploy for African-American votes was thwarted by the active intervention of the African-American Toledo Mayor) not merely pro-forma endorsements.

“24 Hours” has generated a great deal of comment and some controversy. Most of the controversy has come from non-African-Americans who cannot believe that anyone could ever bring themselves to vote for Ken Blackwell least of all African-Americans. This argument reminds us of all the Democrats on the east and west coasts who in 2004 believed no sane person could possibly vote for George Bush.

Read "24 Hours" by Ohio Honest Elections Campaign:

At 9:05 PM, Blogger redhorse said...

Great, she spammed you here too.

Regardless, nice piece YDS.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, this spammer overestimates Blackwell's support among African Americans. In most of his statewide bids, blackwell never faced a real credible challenge, so some blacks decided to support him--not out of admiration, but out of a lack of alternatives. As for being mayor of Cincinatti, that is nothing surprising--cinci is Ohio reddest city. Plus, 2006 IS NOT 1994 or 2002.

However, i do agree that Strickland should be talking with Coleman, STJ, etc. on trying to craft an urban component to Turnaround Ohio--something dealing with smart growth and urban renewal would be a good start. Thankfully, Ted has been trying to improve relations with urban leaders that had been fraying as a result of the nasty convention earlier this year.

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