Tuesday, August 09, 2005

 

Fingerpointing starts over Blackwell's retreat

Kenny Blackwell's decision yesterday to take his awful TEL amendment off the 2005 ballot has unleashed a lot of pent-up commentary from this fellow GOPers.

Betty Montgomery and her backers were among the first to come out blasting Blackwell's stumbling effort. From a report on WCPO-TV:
However, the pullback showed Blackwell's lack of support among rank-and-file Republicans, said Mark Weaver, a consultant to the campaign of Betty Montgomery, the state auditor who is also running for the GOP nomination for governor.
In the Dispatch, Weaver added a jab at the amendment itself:
"This is more of a campaign stunt than a serious policy idea."

Weaver also sarcastically raised some questions about Blackwell's support:
"It shows how weak his grassroots organization is," Weaver said. "He'll have more time to campaign for it in 2006, since he won't be our party's nominee."
The Dispatch story cited an unnamed source "close to Blackwell" (probably someone named Brennan) who claimed that "Republican leaders have pledged to work toward building a broader GOP coalition to back his amendment."

That's clearly bullshit since other Republicans are stepping up to take a swing at Blackwell and are making it clear that if a spending amendment passes, it's not going to look anything like Kenny's. Again from WCPO:
"It gives those of us that aren't sold on the TEL [tax-expenditure limits] as the ideal way ... to articulate that to the secretary of state," Harris said. "We agree to disagree at this point, but we continue to talk to each other."
Likewise in the Dispatch:
Senate President Bill M. Harris is opposed to the amendment, calling it unnecessary. And Speaker Jon A. Husted has said that the recently approved two-year budget increases are below what Blackwell proposes.
And the king of damning-with-faint-praise is GOP chair Bob Bennett:
Bennett said that although he doesn’t agree with everything in Blackwell’s amendment, he generally supports it.
And Bennett also says publicly that kissing one's sister isn't so bad either.

This doesn't make Montgomery, Weaver, Harris, Husted, or Bennett heroes by any means. They are just a little more political savvy and are trying to slide their pork-barrelled Third Frontier through the 2005 elections.

The reality is that the cyclone of support that is being generated for the three Reform Ohio Now amendments is going to rip the Republican ranks to shreds - as would Blackwell's amendment - and that facing both storms was more than the mainstream Republicans could take.

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