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.