Sunday, January 18, 2009

Craziest Republican of the Day: Ken Blackwell (again)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I really don't think the GOP could do much better than Blackwell, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the RNC. As I put it last week, when he was also our CRotD, there may actually be no worthier leader for the Republicans. He's just about perfect for them, because he is what they are -- to the max.

For one, we know he'll do just about anything to win (see Ohio, circa 2004).

For two, he's proven himself to be an ignorant bigot -- not least when it comes to the right's #1 wedge issue, gay rights (and homosexuality generally).

And for three, it's clear that he puts party before country, and before the American people.

On #3, Steve Benen noted yesterday that Blackwell opposes the economic stimulus package not because he has anything better to offer, unless it's just more of the same old right-wing ideology, but because it would, politically, help the Democrats.

Specifically, according to Blackwell, since the package would create many more "federal bureaucrats" in Virginia, and since federal employees tend to vote Democratic, and since Virginia is a key swing state, Republicans would lose Virginia for good: "Creating 600,000 new jobs might help cement Virginia in the Democrat column, making it harder for Republicans to retake the White House."

Steve is right that, policy-wise, this is "incoherent": "Most of the jobs created through Democratic plans would be in the private sector; they would not be 'federal employees.' For that matter, there's no reason to believe there'd be a concentration of new jobs specifically in Virginia, and Blackwell's 600,000 figure isn't rooted in reality anyway."

What is worse, though, is that:

Blackwell's fears are a helpful example of politics at its worst. It's reminiscent of the memo Bill Kristol wrote for congressional Republicans in 1993, when he insisted that the GOP had to block any efforts to reform healthcare, because if Clinton and Democrats were successful, it would "give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote." What helps Americans is nice, but what helps Republicans is what really matters.

In other words, it doesn't matter if the stimulus package, any stimulus package, is good for the country, good for the American people -- just as it didn't matter to Kristol if universal health care was good for the country and for the people -- what matters is politics, and specifically the electoral welfare of the GOP. He is against any "major electoral advantage" for the Democrats, which he calls "unacceptable," but he is certainly in favour of whatever it takes for the Republicans to win, damn all else.

That so many people are suffering, losing their jobs and their homes, struggling to pay the bills and to put food on the table, unable to provide adequate health care for their children, unable to send their children to college, unable even support themselves through this historically difficult time -- well, so what? Blackwell evidently doesn't give a shit.

For what he is recommending, as the possible future head of the party, is that Republicans put their party first and try to block any Democratic effort to pull the country out of the economic crisis, any effort to help people through this difficult time (or at least any effort that could help the Democrats in states like Virginia, though, again, his view here is simply without merit) -- and all for partisan political purposes. (McCain, Palin, and "Country First"? What a ridiculous joke that was.)

(If I may borrow from ESPN's Bill Simmons...)

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Republican Party!

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  • Blackwell is such an idiot that he cannot even remember the Party line -- which is that "stimulus" can't create jobs. By framing the stimulus as a political strategy, he has implicitly conceded its potential effectiveness!

    Blackwell is often thought of as an ideologue and/or a lunatic. He is merely a panderer and a fool.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

  • I would have a bit more sympathy for his view if Blackwell framed the stimulus in terms of what it does or doesn't do for Ohio.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM  

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