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. ...Ssssss-ss-ss-sss!
"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.