Dems launch character assassination in Ohio

This is what’s known in the business as “Setting the Stage.”

On the wind-swept plaza outside his Columbus offices, a group of Democrats gathered to assail Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s elections chief, as “the next Katherine Harris.”

They brandished fliers featuring a grainy and clownish photo of Harris, lambasted for her role as secretary of state in the 2000 Florida election debacle, beside the contorted, bespectacled face of Blackwell, another Republican with an equals sign between them.

Democrats condemned Blackwell’s directives on election rules, spoke conspiratorially of his role as an honorary co-chair of the Bush- Cheney ’04 committee in Ohio, and accused him of trying to “cook” the presidential election.

So who is this Republican? — This spawn of Karl Rove.

(Update below fold)

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Blackwell is, on most days, a pariah within his own state party.

He was not always a Bush backer and, in fact, there was a time he wasn’t even a Republican. …

Raised by proud, hard-working parents in the Laurel Homes housing project in Cincinnati’s West End, Blackwell recalls that his dad wanted to see him box his way out of poverty.

The family had already had some success in sports. Blackwell’s grandfather had played baseball in the Negro Leagues and his uncle won an Olympic gold medal in the long jump in 1924. But after taking one particularly nasty blow, Blackwell likes to say, “I decided to pursue a more scholarly career.” …

Cleveland attorney and former Ohio congressman Dennis Eckart, a college classmate, recalls the college-age Blackwell as “an afro-wearing, black power saluting, dashiki-dressed student leader” in the late 1960s at Cincinnati’s Xavier University, where he was president of the black student association. …

Blackwell’s wife of 36 years, Rosa, said she doesn’t think her husband has changed “in any way in terms of his principles” since those days.

“We all evolve and mature in whatever we do,” she said. “I don’t think his core beliefs have changed.” …

Just in the past year, Blackwell championed a highly visible, though unsuccessful campaign to repeal a penny sales-tax hike that set him at odds with Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett, Republican Gov. Bob Taft, GOP House Speaker Larry Householder and most of the Republicans in the state legislature.

Householder aides responded by drafting a secret plan to destroy Blackwell’s state political career – which they called “a 10-year-long Lincoln Day dinner of rhetoric and conservative red meat – without results.” They theorized that launching the tax- repeal effort was “all about his political future.”

Blackwell later unleashed his investigators – to the chagrin, again, of the Republican mainstream – on alleged improprieties in Householder’s fund-raising practices.

“Ken’s a lone ranger,” Bob Bennett said. “He marches to the beat of his own drummer.” …

So the Democrats are protesting and calling him Katherine Harris with over a week to go before election day! They are setting the stage to protest the vote in Ohio when they lose… Just like their handbook said they would.

Get a head of the curve and read this biographical piece. At the rate things are going, you’ll be hearing the name Ken Blackwell for months if not years.

UPDATE: The guy that the Democrats are busy slandering might be responsible for giving the state to Kerry.

In ordering Mr. Nader off the ballot in response to a challenge from Democrats, Mr. Blackwell sided with his assistant elections counsel, who ruled that 2,756 of the Nader petition signatures should be invalidated because the person who signed the petition did not circulate it, the circulator was not an Ohio resident, or several other irregularities occurred.

If he were such a partisan hack, he’d want Nader on the ballot.

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