We all knew it wouldn’t be long before Governor
Tax Taft spoke up about Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s new advertisements, didn’t we? Sure enough, Bob Taft isn’t happy:
Gov. Bob Taft said Tuesday he was disappointed by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s attack ads in the GOP primary and worried that a negative campaign will weaken whoever wins the Republican primary.
“If it’s a really negative kind of campaign in the primary, whoever would come out of the campaign would be so damaged that it would make it more difficult for them to win in the fall,” Taft said.
Taft only calls the ads “negative” because they remind voters that he’s been convicted of campaign finance law violations. We voters call the ads “informative”, because they state the facts. The ads are an attempt by Blackwell to distance himself from Taft, Jim Petro, Tom Noe, Bob Bennett, and the whole Ohio Republican establishment (a group now renowned for its political ineptitude and ethical laxness).
These ads won’t weaken Blackwell; quite the opposite. They’re essential to his survival. If Blackwell changes strategies to play nice with Taft and somehow gets past the primary election, Democratic frontrunner Ted Strickland will tar him as Taft’s crooked crony and will eat him for lunch. Putting distance between oneself and a crook is smart politics.
Taft to date has declined to endorse a GOP candidate to replace him and says that hasn’t changed. But he encouraged both candidates to talk about issues important to Ohioans.
Call me crazy but based on the ad and on his continuing effort to be “The Un-Taft”, I’d bet that Ken Blackwell isn’t exactly waiting by the phone for the Governor’s call.
If Bob Taft really wants to damage Blackwell, he should endorse him.
Update: The Blackwell for Governor blog led me to Michael Meckler’s piece on the ads. Meckler has no beef with the content.