Along the Tracks

Thursday, September 25, 2003

More Blackwell validation

Anyone who sends the Blade’s Marilou Johanek off the deep end has earned a shining badge of honor in my book.

And does she ever go off on Ohio’s Secretary of State! “It’s all about Ken” ... “Blackwell is so darned transparent” ... “the Ken Blackwell Show” ... “no slouch at getting noticed” ... “a driven politician” ... “the opportunistic Secretary of State” ... “he offers nothing constructive, just a lot of warmed over rhetoric” ... “the political climber standing on his anti-tax soapbox” .. “it’s just all about Ken.”

Of course, we get the obligatory leftist racial slur against any non-white Republican: “He knows his party has to pay attention to him because so few other blacks are willing to stand under the GOP banner, and he’s only one of three black Republicans in the country to hold elected statewide office. As the nation’s most senior black elected Republican, Ken Blackwell gains easy access to the national stage.”

In other words, Johanek tells Blackwell to stay in his place - quietly in the background of the Democratic race-mongering machine. Charming, eh?

If Johanek had bothered to investigate, she would discover:

A) Most Republicans are fiscally conservative and anti-tax, matching Blackwell’s position perfectly. Tom McClintock has garnered national attention among Republicans for his equivalent position on California’s budget. Last I looked, he’s not black, as if that makes any difference at all.

B) Blackwell has maintained his fiscal conservatism through 20 years of public service. This is no attention-seeking effort. It’s his lifelong platform - which includes service on a major conservative panel in the mid-‘90s on tax reform.

C) As I recall (a hedge, I know; I'm researching this and will update), Blackwell favored the conservative GOP proposal during state budget negotiations this spring which would not have raised taxes and would have initiated a number of reforms. He has repeatedly argued against tax hikes. Establishment, country club Republicans - upon whom Johanek lavishes praise, a pox on their house if ever there was - ignored the conservative caucus in the legislature and Blackwell (and other state Republicans, it should be mentioned) and pushed through the tax hike and an 11 percent biennial budget increase.

D) Even now, Blackwell’s referendum plan offers ample opportunity for the legislature and governor to correct their mistakes and repeal the tax. They could do it now, to set the issue to rest; or they could do it in next year’s session after Blackwell collects the signatures (and he will, make no mistake). If the referendum reaches a vote, it will pass, I have no doubt, and the tax will be rescinded 30 days after the vote in November, 2004. As Johanek herself notes, this only ends the tax seven months before it is “supposed” to be stopped anyway. That finality, however, will require the legislature and governor to allow it to sunset, something many in the GOP believe will not occur without public pressure.

Johanek calls for Blackwell to demonstrate leadership. How? By following the herd! Quote:

“If the political climber standing on his anti-tax soapbox wants to be taken seriously as a leader and not just an articulate Republican anomaly, he’s got to do more than cry foul after the fact. That means coming up with a committed ‘vision thing’ to tackle challenge head-on with specific possibilities that are open to bipartisan consultation and necessary compromise.”

Note the importance of bipartisanship in this. That is precisely the route Gov. Taft took, and it has given Ohio a high-tax, anti-business climate, which will continue to be a drag on the state’s economy. The GOP has dominant control in Ohio because Ohio voters are basically conservative realists. They don’t want big state government. They don’t want higher taxes. They want responsible management.

A tax hike in the midst of a serious statewide recession, while unemployment is high, coupled with a huge increase in state spending, is irresponsible. If it offends the establishment that someone is stepping forward to do something about this lack of integrity on the part of many in the GOP leadership, so be it.

And if it offends the “sensibilities” of Marilou Johanek, all the better!

Congratulations, Mr. Blackwell.

P.S. - What do I need to do to get her to slander me? Who knows? But I’ll keep trying ....

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