When voters in Ohio passed a marriage amendment by a landslide last November, they cracked a wall in the foundation of national leftist politics that its leaders are frantically trying to seal.
Ohio, of course, is the swing state that pushed President Bush over the top on election night. In the wake of the defeat, Democrats railed at Bush, the Republicans, the provisional ballots and even the number of voting machines, convinced that Bush had now stolen a second election from them.
But they have reserved their harshest attacks for someone unknown to most Americans. He is Ohio’s chief election official, the Republican Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell. Black leftists find Blackwell particularly dangerous because he’s a socially conservative African American—an evangelical Christian—who is becoming ever more popular with voters.
Typical of the tirades against him was this remarkable statement on the House floor by a black congresswoman, Maxine Waters. She said, “I am ashamed to say [he is] an African-American man who has failed to follow Ohio’s procedures…(O)ur ancestors who died for the right to vote must be turning over in their graves.”
Back in Ohio, Jesse Jackson was railing at Blackwell over the long lines of voters who had to wait at the polls in Columbus, a Democrat stronghold.
What’s so astonishing is the utter lack of evidence to support any of these charges. Ohio’s elections are fully and fairly bipartisan affairs, and none of Michael Moore’s 10 camera crews nor any of the 7,000 lawyers who crawled all over the state could find any scandal. Voting machines are parceled out precisely, one for every 117 registered voters. The local election board chairman in Columbus, the locus of Jackson’s suspicion, is chairman of the county Democrat party. He also happens to be black.
So why the hysterical attacks on Ken Blackwell? It’s the politics of marriage. The Ohio marriage amendment brought out thousands of voters who were determined to affirm marriage and, incidentally, to cast a vote for Bush. Fully 25 percent of Ohio Bush voters on Nov. 2 were evangelical Christians, up from 17 percent in 2000.
And who was the leading voice for marriage and the marriage amendment in the Ohio campaign? Ken Blackwell. By taking on the marriage issue, his reputation grew, and he’s carrying black voters to the Republican side. The Ohio black vote for Bush in 2004 more than doubled from four years ago, up from 8 percent to 17 percent. This is considered intolerable in the party of tolerance, and that is why Blackwell is in the crosshairs of Maxine Watters and Jesse Jackson.
And for them it gets even worse. Next year the Ohio governor’s office will be open, and the leader in the polls is—Ken Blackwell, vaulted ahead by his strong stand for marriage and Ohio’s well-managed election. Presently there is not a single black Republican among the nation’s governors or members of Congress. Black left-wingers want to keep that record unblemished by the socially conservative Ken Blackwell, because if he becomes governor in the significant swing state of Ohio, who can predict what’s next for him?
We must call this bile against Blackwell what it is—racism, and it’s no less ugly when it’s practiced by blacks rather than by whites. The last time the country saw racism this naked was in the battle to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court. Blackwell, like Thomas, risks political lynching because he has strayed from the plantation of liberal black politics and espouses socially conservative ideas, like traditional marriage.
How significant that the issue of marriage cracked a wall in the plantation house of left-wing ideas.