Do you know who Ken Blackwell is? If you’re not from Ohio or a staunch political observer you probably don’t so here are some quick bullet points about the man.
The son of a meatpacker and a part-time nurse, Blackwell attended Cincinnati’s Xavier University on a football scholarship. While at school he headed the African-American student association and was the school’s representative at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and after rejecting a reported three-year deal to play for the Cowboys because it would require him to move from linebacker to offensive lineman, he returned to school got a graduate degree in education, married his high school sweetheart and began a long political career that saw him hold the office of secretary of state in Ohio and he even took a shot at the governor’s office in 2006, though it was ultimately unsuccessful.
It’s the kind of resume, on paper that makes for a great role model – especially one for young black men. Based on the above description growing up, when all I wanted to do is play football and prove that I was just as smart or better than anyone else in my classes – I probably would have tacked his picture on my wall. He achieved so much I dreamed of at the time. Unfortunately, what looks great on paper doesn’t always apply to the real world.
Blackwell, a conservative, has had several brushes with controversy, the most famous of which occurring in 2004 when a report by congressional democrats placed him as the prime motivator in a campaign that exposed African-American voters to “massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies,” in the then crucial swing state.
Now, after weathering multiple lawsuits over voter irregularities and a slip up that saw his office release 1.2 million social security numbers of Ohio residents in 2006 and resulted in a class action lawsuit – Blackwell has taken it upon himself to save the nation. Key to that plan is removing President Barrack Obama from the White House.
Anti gay, pro gun, supported heavily by the religious and a republican, Blackwell has started a new Super PAC called The Tea Party Victory Fund to help get his message across – and all that’s just fine by me. This is America after all and while I might think Dick Cheney is a detestable human being, I will defend his right to be one as long as he’s not breaking any laws.
However, Blackwell’s approach leaves something to be desired. This week the PAC released a black and white version of a video of the “Obama Phone” video highlighted by the Drudge Report in September, ostensibly showing why one black woman supported the current president – based on the fact that he gives free phones to minorities. It’s a claim easily debunked about a program that began under Ronald Regan and was expanded to include cell phones under George W. Bush. It’s disingenuous, pandering and not only makes him and anyone else associated with him look like a fool, but reflects poorly on our race by claiming that most if not all Obama supporters are just like the person interviewed and that most if not all of those are blacks or minorities.
It’s not a very smart tactic for a man so well-educated, but he has his reasons.
His pitch via Slate’s David Weigel reads:
This is it – this is the October surprise. We just need to get this ad on television today. Will you help us?
This commercial is a microcosm of the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans want to create an environment where free people make their own choices and pursue their dreams. President Obama and the Democrats want to create a dependency on Government that ensures that Americans will continue to rely on Washington from cradle to grave.
What this lady said is so offensive because it’s so blatant – she finally comes out and says what we all know that the Democrats really think. That’s why this ad is so damaging to the President here in Ohio.
Let me tell you something, I’m from Ohio – I was elected statewide as the Secretary of State, and Ohio State Treasurer – this ad is effective. If swing voters in this state see this ad, they simply will not support President Obama, and he will lose Ohio.
It’s powerful stuff, not for its content but the breadth of ignorance assumed by he who wrote it. I’m not sure if the commercial which will air in Lucas, Summit, and Mahoning counties in Ohio, will change anyone’s opinion or vote. I do know that it puts a dark taint on a success story of a man, republican or otherwise, I would have been proud to point to as a role model if he had not chosen to compromise the successes he has achieved in life for those that he still seeks.