Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Blackwell: On Point, Right Principles, Too Late?

Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager are on a whilwind tour of crucial election battlegrounds this week and today that had them in Ohio. Ken Blackwell, of course, was featured prominently and--though I’ve been following this from some distance--it was striking to me how clear and powerful his points were and, yet, how deflated he is sounding.

Strickland recently made something of a minor gaffe (minor only because it was conspicuously under-reported) when he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that business is suffering in Ohio because people don’t want to come to a state that is "backwards" in its thinking. Ohio is backwards, in his judgment, because it is unfriendly to the notions of unlimited abortion and government funding for stem cell research. In that same forum (before Strickland’s gaffe) Blackwell argued that businesses weren’t flocking to Ohio because of over-regulation and high taxes. Today on Hewitt’s show, Ken made the cogent point that the difference between him and Ted Strickland is rather simple: Strickland thinks your taxes are fine and your values are wrong. Blackwell thinks your taxes are wrong and your values are right.

That is very clear, and very good. I think Blackwell should say that at every opportunity between now and November 7 but, he needs to say it with greater energy if he wants it to get through. It is time for Blackwell to take off the gloves with Strickland. This guy may not be Sherrod Brown--but he is every bit as dangerous for the future of Ohio. And I, for one, cannot get over how insulting it is for a candidate for governor to say the kind of things Strickland said about the citizens he expects to govern! He thinks you’re backwards?! Really!! Isn’t that interesting? A little anger and indignation would be appropriate here--no matter what the polls say. In fact, in my opinion, the polls would read alot differently if we were seeing more indignation from the real, raw, and un-groomed Ken Blackwell.

Speaking of Ohio’s values . . . it is at least interesting, is it not, that Mr. Strickland (who calls Ohioans backwards for their non-scientific approach to values) has provided us with a taste of exactly where his scientific approach to values might lead. In a July 27, 1999 speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Strickland refused to condemn a study of the American Psychological Association that suggested adult-child sex might not be very harmful to the child if the sex were "consentual." The APA later withdrew this study. But Strickland (who is also under scrutiny for refusing to investigate a staffer accused of exposing himself to children) did not withdraw his comments. Is this the kind of scientific research that should inform the moral judgment of Ohioans?

It is late--but not too late--for Blackwell to make significant gains in this race. I think the polls over-estimate the lead Strickland has, but Blackwell, clearly, is not in a good place right now. Still, there is enough time to come out swinging and sway enough undecideds (and perhaps some decideds) to support the only serious candidate in this crucial election.

Discussions - 12 Comments

Julie Ponzi, regarding Ted Strickland’s refusal to condemn the APA study you mentioned, could you please provide us with any relevant links that you have? I would be especially interested to see the study itself, or at least a professional synopsis of it, the text of the House resolution that he didn’t approve of, and most especially, the text of his House floor remarks on the issue. Thank you in advance. If Strickland has endorsed pedophilia in any way, that would indeed be a serious issue.

I did a few quick searches but only came up with some ridiculous blog theories about how he might be gay since he married later in his life and that he and his wife are childless.

Another
depressing article on the Ohio governor’s race is on the WSJ opinion pages today. I offer it in case anyone wanted to read another depressing article on the topic.

And but for the fact that he is 6-foot-4, deep-voiced, bespectacled and black, you might mistake him for another Ronald Reagan. which is why I talk him up at every opportunity, and pray.

I know the supposition is that the Democrats are offering a new message, and one that appeals to voters because it includes "throw the bums out." Yet what I hear is a very old message, almost one of nostalgia,and wonder if this election is an appeal to something that feels old and secure - a return to a pre-9/11 world where we didn’t have to worry about awful things in the world, or at least not THIS much. Not say that people think these things through, because they do not. But the election rhetoric sounds to me like some call to go back a decade to a happier, simpler time that just is not real anymore, if it ever was.


Yes, Julie, that statement on relative values is a good one and ought to be hammered.

Dear Issac: I’m on the run now but I’ll get back to you later. For now this link should get you started in your inquiry. You should also note that Strickland was one of only 13 not to vote for the passage of this resolution. He voted "present" and gave a speech condemning the House for their action.

I am swamped today so I could not find a good way to link to the text of the Strickland’s July 27, 1999 speech in which he condemns the House for passing the resolution condemning an APA study (Strickland, by the way, is a psychologist) but here is the text as I have it:


(Mr. STRICKLAND asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. STRICKLAND. Mr. Speaker, it troubles me that sometimes in this Chamber we stand and say things that we ought not to say. We criticize people that we have no right to criticize.

We recently voted to condemn a scientific study and an organization, an organization that has done as much as any organization in this country to fight child abuse.

I wonder how many of us read the study before we were willing to vote to say that the methodology was flawed. I wonder how many of us were technically competent to make that decision.

I believe that we ought to observe the Ten Commandments. One of those Commandments says, you ought not to bear false witness against your neighbor.

When we say things about an organization or about an individual scientist that are untrue or unsubstantiated, in my judgment, we have violated that Commandment.

We ought to have the decency not to vote to condemn something until we know what it is we are voting to condemn.

Julie -
It is not the citizens of Ohio that Strickland sees as backward but the current Republican leadership that is mired in pay to play and using wedge issues to milk every last vote out of the State rather than deal with the real issues of moving Ohio forward.


We have real problems with the economy, poverty, education, health care, etc. the current Republican leadership has sat on their hands while having dinner and golfing with Tom Noe.



And your "hinting" and "some people say" tactic is transparent. You are them.

Sorry for the blank post; was going to draw a comparison between this post and Peter Schramm’s "Let Blackwell be Blackwell" post below. I wonder if Peter thinks that his advice has been followed. If so, I don’t think it says much about the man.

I’ll say this about Strickland:

He knows how to not split an infinitive.

Nick, My problem with Strickland is with what he says, with what he believes and with what he does or does not do. I did not "hint" or refer to what "some people say" and I did not do that deliberately. I know what you are talking about, of course. I do not care about it. That sort of stuff is more in the purview of your party lately.

Julie,
It would have been beneficial to the readers to provide the actual Strickland quote most of your article is structured around:
"I am concerned that Ohio, as a result of the leadership in this state, is becoming viewed as a backward, anti-science state, and you’ll have none of that, none of that, in a (Strickland) administration."

No fair reading of that would conclude that Strickland is calling the people of Ohio backwards.

In the quote Strickland was referring to stem-cell research.

"One poll taken immediately following Reagan’s death was reported as indicating that more than 70 percent of Americans supported Nancy Reagan’s call for the White House to lift restrictions on stem-cell research."

Other polls may be less generous, but to say that stem-cell research is some fringe, liberal idea, is extremely misleading.

I don’t think there is any fair way to read that quote that does not imply that Strickland thinks the people of Ohio are backward. He is saying that the state is viewed as backward--not the leadership. He is blaming the leadership of the state for that perception, yes. But clearly, the state is the thing that he argues will be viewed as backward if people vote for his opponent. If that’s not an insult to the people of Ohio, what is? I would never vote for anyone--Democrat or Republican--who had the nerve to tell me that not voting for him was the equivalent of being stupid or backward. Strickland seems to believe that he is endowed with some special powers of perception that make all of his positions beyond reproach--he, after all, has the god of Science on his side. But Science is a funny god. As I pointed out, his faith in Science also led him to a place where he could not condemn a study that argued adult-child sex was bad. Ohio should be very careful about following this guy off into the vanguard lest it find itself in the sunset.

Julie - first.. what don’t you get about "as a result of the leadership in this State.."?


And... as far as your spin on his non-vote on a non-binding Resolution - Ted Strickland shares my values. I don’t beleive that a child who was a victim of a crime cannot overcome it to become a productive adult. And, I’m glad that Ted Strickland beleives as a Psychologist and Minister that we can overcome anything.


Ted Strickland is a good man and will be a great Governor. You are grasping at straws. Blackwell is done. He has resulted in swiftboat type attacks that are truly disgusting. The way he is currently conducting himself and his campaign says nothing to me but that he totally lacks character and integrity.

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