George Will is watching the Ohio governor’s race, and he likes what he sees in Ken Blackwell:
[Blackwell] annoys the establishment because he, unlike it, believes things. He believes that the establishment is proof of a conservative axiom: Any political group or institution that is not ideologically conservative will become, over time, liberal. That is so because, in the absence of a principled adherence to limited government, careerism — the political idea of the unthoughtful — will cause incumbents to use public spending to purchase job security.
He appeals to small-government conservatives by proposing a constitutional cap on state spending, and even leasing the Ohio Turnpike to private investors. His cultural conservatism has won him such intense support from many church leaders, some liberals are contemplating recourse to an American sacrament — a lawsuit. It would threaten the tax-exempt status of churches deemed too supportive of Blackwell.
He appeals to blacks by being black, and because many blacks are cultural conservatives: George W. Bush won 16 percent of Ohio’s black vote in 2004. In Blackwell’s three statewide races, he has received between 30 percent and 40 percent of the black vote. If in November he duplicates that, he will win, and Democrats in many blue states will blanch because if their share of the black vote falls to 75 percent, their states could turn red.
Control of the U.S Senate in 2007 could turn on whether Mike DeWine, a second-term Republican, is re-elected. He does not thrill conservatives, so he needs Blackwell on the ballot to arouse the party’s base.
Blackwell annoys the establishment, alright. More power to him.
I disagree with Will’s remark about DeWine’s reelection being neccessary to maintain a Republican Senate. With Paul Hackett gone from the Senate race, the Democrats are left with ultra-liberal Sherrod Brown. This lefty’s only saving grace among average Ohio voters is his strong support from labor unions. Otherwise, he’s far too liberal for Ohio-wide voters, and is almost certainly unelectable.
That could mean that there’s a good chance that even a new Republican face could defeat Brown in the general election; DeWine isn’t as essential as folks might think. I’m all for party loyalty when it’s a close race, but when the Democrat is unelectable and the incumbent Republican is a RINO, it’s a great opportunity to elect a more conservative Republican.
The conservative base would be wise to get behind Bill Pierce now in the primary election season, and unseat DeWine while the opportunity lasts.