Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Blackwell’s two problems

A front-page Washington Post story on the Blackwell-Strickland race claims that Strickland has made serious inroads with the "values voters", hence his lead in the polls. Or, maybe the article claims that the economy is the major issue and Ohio seems to be in worse shape than the nation at large. The only clear thing about the article is that it is not pro-Blackwell. My view is that Strickland is the Dems version of Taft: pleasant, inoffensive, harmless; his opponents might say boring, but there is no theme to this pudding. No one denies that Blackwell has a theme, and is a smart, outgoing, and rhetorically very effective candidate. Yet, he has two problems: One, he hasn’t yet found his stride in the campaign, seems bored with himself even; perhaps his handlers are not letting him be himself (remember the problem with Reagan?), perhaps they are afraid that Ken will raise his voice every now and then. Two, the party establishment--a bit more moderate than Ken--has not yet seen fit to support him with any enthusiasm. Blackwell can have an effect on the first problem, but he has to act now. He should raise his voice and let people know he really wants to be governor. Show some ambition, growl a bit and let folks see the lion in him. Let Blackwell be Blackwell and his staff should step aside!

Discussions - 5 Comments

It is a bad year to be a Republican in Ohio.


Blackwell needs to have been running as you suggest for some months, already. Of course, better now than never, and what has he got to lose at this point? To see Blackwell in person is to see what you say about him, but not enough voters have seen him, nor especially, have they heard him speak.


Is it possible that people do not understand his ideas? I have heard people call him a liberal Republican and by probing came to understand that what was meant was that his ideas sound radical to them. This is to say that his theme works against him with those people. He needs to be in a position to explain his ideas in more than the sort of exposure that happens on TV. Those ideas may have seemed self-evidently good to him, as they do me, but they are not "normal" (maybe I mean "establishment" as you put it.) Ohio Republican ideas. He needed to explain and prove those ideas to be right and he did not.


I thought Tom Suddes’ point was correct that the primary made Blackwell’s image at the beginning of the campaign seem extreme, and I would say, also battered and a little brutal. To have that wing of the party insisting that he is somehow radical did him no good at all. I do not watch TV and so don’t know how the campaign has played out there, except to deduce that Blackwell has not shown well there and Strickland has. How people come to see Strickland as moderate baffles me, and I assume that it is TV’s gloss doing the job. The primary, and previous political battles took from Blackwell any such "gloss" he might have had. Yet that Blackwell is too....something, and somehow both too Republican (and tarred by corruption) and not Republican enough (radical ideas!) means that his campaign has been unable to cut through the flack to show the real man or, perhaps, to make his theme clear and appealing. Too bad. Is there hope that we can retain a Republican legislature to keep our Democratic Governor from doing us any real harm?

I’ve seen the second of these Blackwell T.V. ads on the internet, elsewhere to his own site. Are you seeing them on T.V.? Are they having any effect?

"Campaigns of ideas" rarely succeed. Blackwell needs to dig deep and hit people where they live. He needs to beat up on Strickland’s and the Democratic party’s crazy liberalism every day. He won’t win, but he can still prevent a rout, and a Democratic legislature. Maybe set himself up for a run in 4 or 8 years.

Good observations. Blackwell ran an excellent, if dirty, primary campaign. Why hasn’t he taken the gloves off now? Where’s the smear? Why doesn’t he seem to have the gall for the fight? I expected such from DeWine, but not Blackwell. Of course we will hold the legislature, and Kate nails it by saying that Blackwell is both tied to GOP corruption--he’s been in cbus for 12 or so years--and he’s seen as outside the party. Truly the worst of both worlds.

I have not been following the campaign very closely, but I have been surprised by how petty Blackwell is. He has gone on the attack, but it is all weird, small stuff. I guess in the Cinci debate he said Strickland was not like Roy Rogers (Rogers is supposed to be from where Strickland is from). I am not sure how that is relevant to a gubernatorial campaign. Blackwell also made some other weird attack against Strickland in their Youngstown debate I think.

Blackwell seems to go out of his way to attack Strickland in small things, and avoids bigger issues. I am not sure why. Does anyone know why?

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