Godwin, Some Times You Just Don't Come Through

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Michigan—home of the Wolverines and stagnant responses to health care crises—is locked in a tight gubernatorial race between job-killing Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican Amway mogul Dick DeVos. Until now the race, the election was a high-toned policy battle about who could get the state back on track. And then came this crap.

It's an ad (full image here) placed in the minor Michigan Chronicle newspaper by Voice the Vote, a small conservative action committee sheparded by the wonderfully-monikered Adolph Mongo. The point of the ad is that African-Americans should bolt a Democratic party that has always taken them for granted. And while there's nothing wrong with invoking Hitler or this anecdote to make that point, doing so in electoral politics will always, always backfire. DeVos has already condemned the ad, and the GOP is scurrying away from it with warp speed.

Even assuming this ad is a two-day story, it's knocking conservatives off their game at a crucial time. Michigan is the battleground for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, an anti-discrimination/affirmative action measure backed by Ward Connerly. This was always going to be a contentious, close-run fight, as Michigan is absurdly racially divided—African-Americans in Detroit overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, whites in the rest of the state narrowly vote Republican. This ad is exactly the kind of crap MCRI opponents will need to rally black Democats to vote against the measure and DeVos.

Of course, Michigan's also Exhibit A of one of the season's big political busts—the "Year of the Black Republican." Last year, when Republicans were brimming with confidence and shooting for 60 Senate seats, GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman planned on "raiding" Democratic bases—like African-Americans—to build the majority. The party recruited four black candidates for statewide office—Michigan's Rev. Keith Butler and Maryland's Michael Steele for Senate, and Ken Blackwell (Ohio) and Lynn Swann (Pennsylvania) for governor. All of their campaigns in various stages of dissaray, with Butler's collapsing at the quickest pace. That never-take-you-for-granted GOP Mongo is selling to black Democrats actually recruited a white, suburban sheriff into the race after Butler—a 1984 chairman of blacks for Reagan/Bush—failed to catch fire with voters.

An attractive black Republican candidate, a flagging Democratic governor—and conservatives and libertarians blow a promising opening with black voters. Again.

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  1. Not sure where you’re getting intel on Ohio, but Blackwell is not that much in disarray, speaking as a prisoner … er … citizen of Ohio.

    Strickland has made a similar press gaffe with the African-American community, although nothing as amusing as showing Jesse Owens bolting towards Hitler.

    When the debates (if there are any) roll over, Blackwell will bitchslap the f*ck out of Strickland, who has all the political savvy and finesse of Dukakis on Quaaludes.

    The race is still Blackwell’s to lose (no pun intended).

  2. Thanks, BAI, as a fellow inmate, I was wondering what Weigel was blathering on about. You know, Dave, if you want to make the point about black Rs floundering, please don’t just make stuff up.

  3. Blackwell’s doing the best out of any of the GOP’s black candidates, but I don’t know any political reporters who think he’ll win. He was actually a pretty lousy Secretary of State, and I’m not talking about the RFK Jr voting conspiracies, but his office accidentally sharing voters’ social security numbers and he sat on his thumbs during Coingate. Strickland has a lot to use against him.

  4. …and conservatives and libertarians blow a promosing [sic] opening with black voters.

    Since when did the Republican party represent libertarians?

  5. Wow! I live in Michigan, and didn’t realize how tight the governors race was here. What are the chances that the libertarians can make a difference in this race? I’d love to see the news stories after election day if the libertarian vote turned out to be the key factor in either DeVos’ or Granholm’s victory. And what do you think of MCRI? I wouldn’t mind hearing some discussion on that.

  6. btw, BAI, they announced that there will be four debates (the three Cs and Youngstown[so the mob knows who to bribe..hyuk hyuk])

    And although I am no political reporter, I think that Blackwell’s anti-gay pro-life stance, coupled, of course, with his skin color, is going to be enough for him to take a slice out of traditional Democratic urban strongholds. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the upper-class could never vote for someone as pro-union as Strickland. I think this one’s Ken’s to lose.

  7. Additionally, Blackwell has always made his image into that of “against the establishment I work for” stance…I think that he’s sufficiently antagonized Taft’s bumbling administration to the point that it’d be tough to lump him in with the Coin scandal…furthermore, it seems that the only people who continue to care about the scandalis Toledo’s Blade, a shoddy piece of birdcage lining if I ever read one.

  8. Blackwell’s mistake was stepping aside for the abominable Bob Taft back in 1998. If he’d told Bob Bennett where to stick it and run for governor that year, he would have won the general and been a serious VP candidate for 2000 or presidential for 2004 or 2008 (depending on whether Bush or Gore won).

  9. Since Ohio is morphing into Alabama with nasty winters, you have to assume anyone who can get the preachers behind him is going to win absent some big mistake.

  10. I could really care less about electoral politics at this point, but that headline is fantastic.

  11. On a completely unimportant note, in that picture does it look like Hitler is wearing a giant swastika clock around his neck like Flavor Flav?

  12. agreed, excellent headline and Tori Amos song title reference

  13. Look here, Blackwell is still a viable veep?in 2012 he?ll be 64?I mean, if Cheney could get nominated at 60 and Reagan take the Presidency at almost 70, there?s no particular reason Ken, provided his popularity and health hold, isn?t a viable VP candidate?heck, if he?s particularly media-savvy someone could tap him for 2008, although that?s highly doubtful.

    But I would normally agree with you, Dave, but at the time Lee Fisher was extra-popular and Blackwell and Taft would?ve slugged it out so bad that the Ds would?ve taken the statehouse for sure. Would that have been better anyway?.? I don?t see how it couldn?t be, but certainly Blackwell did the smart thing abstaining from burning his bridges with the State GOP and Bennett.

  14. I’m sorry, but why exactly is Butler “attractive”?

  15. What is exactly is a “1984 Chairman for Blacks for Reagan/Bush?”

    I mean, that’s just creepy.

  16. Hitler wouldn’t shake his hand, Roosevelt wouldn’t shake his hand, Landon did . . . so the moral here is “politicians who shake hands with Negroes tend not to become heads of state,” right?

  17. Oh, and I like the ad. It sums up both of the GOP’s messages for black people:

    70 years ago, we were better!

    and

    We’ll give you symbolic gestures of solidarity!

  18. Did the Republican party jump the shark? 🙂

  19. muchsarcasm,
    Yes, yes it does.

  20. Q: Are we not men?

    A: We are Dick DeVos!!

  21. I just love the ad. They superimposed the swastika over Hitler’s picture so we can “get it”.

    Hitler isn’t recognizable enough on his own. We need the swastika for the real “oomph”.

  22. Does the GOP pay you to write that opening. “job-killing” Governor. Is that part of her platform or did she state that as one of her goals. Seems like a baseless slur. I didn’t read the rest because after that opening, you have no credibility.

  23. hmm i can see why hitler didn’t shake his hand…by why not FDR??

    Oh yeah i forgot he would of been kicked out of office by the racists democrat dominated south and white protectionist democrat dominated Unions…

    why again shouldn’t republicans use this against democrats?

  24. Couldn’t they have at least used a grammar/spellcheck on it first? It just makes the entire “ad” look even sillier.

  25. “Oh yeah i forgot he would of been kicked out of office by the racists democrat dominated south and white protectionist democrat dominated Unions… why again shouldn’t republicans use this against democrats?”

    Because Republicans took control of both houses of Congress by luring away those racists in the South and those white protectionist union workers.

  26. Its worth noting that Hitler didn’t snub Jesse Owens specifcally: he snubbed a different black athlete: Cornelius Cooper Johnson (who for some reason is often forgotten). After that, Hitler was told he had to congratulate everyone or no one, and he picked the latter. It’s also worth noting that while he didn’t shake Owen’s hand on the day of Owen’s win, Hitler did wave to Owens in a friendly manner as he passed and Owens waved back.

    A fuller quote from Owens on what it was like to be lauded as a hero in Germany by the German people and then to come back to the US:
    “When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either.”

  27. Brad Delong had some interesting quotations from the National Review, that I do not believe Buckley, nor anyone else at NR have ever rejected…I’ve seen even better ones, but one or two of these should suffice:

    The central question… is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes…. National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct…
    ~~~
    The axiom… was Universal Suffrage. Everyone in America is entitled to the vote…. That, of course, is demagogy…. The great majority of the Negroes of the South who do not vote do not care to vote, and would not know for what to vote if they could…

    and one more smarmy one (perhaps this is where Rush and Bill learned that unusual behaviour pattern of theirs)…

    Martin Luther King… [his] lecture… delivered with all the force and fervor of the five-year-old who nightly recites: “Our Father, Who art in New Haven, Harold be Thy name”

    Yes, it makes sense for african-americans to question their “loyalty” to democrats. But vote for republicans? Republicans (and many Libertarians) still believe in states rights (no such animal, there are federal powers, there are state powers, but only individuals have rights).

  28. “hmm i can see why hitler didn’t shake his hand…by why not FDR??

    Oh yeah i forgot he would of been kicked out of office by the racists democrat dominated south and white protectionist democrat dominated Unions…”

    Good joshua! Now touch a black person to show your compassion, and you will have made the entire Republican pitch to African Americans..

    To review:

    1. 70 years ago, we were better.

    2. We’ll extend symbolic gestures of solidarity to you.

    …is the sum total of the Republican message to black people.

  29. “why again shouldn’t republicans use this against democrats?”

    Because they will laughed off the face of the earth by everyone but you, joshua.

    The fact that they have to go back three generations to find an example of Democratic racial insensitivity to highlight just draws attention to how bad the Republicans’ record has been over those generations.

    That, and because white-on-black voter suppression – the practice of working to keep black people from voting – has a rather lenghthy and unfortunate pedigree of its own.

  30. Blackwell’s doing the best out of any of the GOP’s black candidates, but I don’t know any political reporters who think he’ll win.

    That’s your problem. Who are these reporters? They obviously don’t have a clue about rank and file Ohioans, and the three C’s, (Columbus, Cleveland and Cinncinnati … or is that Coshocton, Canton and Clintonville?) where I’m sure the bulk of your news buddies come from, may be DNC, but the rest of the state is straight GOP.

    Strickland is a wet noodle as a candidate, and as for his running mate, Lee Fisher, some of us remember what a cowardly toad he was on the night that he and Michael Coleman lost to Bob Taft in Nov ’98. A drunk lobbyist took the microphone from Fisher, and neither he nor the “Don’t Question My Manhood” Mayor of Cowtown had the cajones to keep her from spouting obscenities on statewide live TV and embarrassing the hell out of the Dems. I hope the GOP dredges up the tape, as I could use a few Buckeye laughs ….

    Mind you, I’m not a Republican, and I’m helping a couple of Democratic candidates seeking office. But I have no illusions about the pathetic state of of the overall Democratic Party in Ohio.

    For all you non-Ohioans, here’s a pretty iconoclastic Black Republican that pretty much calls the plays as they happen:

    http://www.formerwtvnbadboy.typepad.com/

  31. When the debates (if there are any) roll over, Blackwell will bitchslap the f*ck out of Strickland, who has all the political savvy and finesse of Dukakis on Quaaludes.” -BAI

    Strickland beat a Republican incumbent in a Republican-leaning, rural district in southern Ohio in 1992. He lost in the Republican landslide in 1994, but came back to win in 1996 and hasn’t been in any danger since. A Democrat doesn’t beat two Republican incumbents in rural southern Ohio without a good deal of political savvy and finesse.

    And although I am no political reporter, I think that Blackwell’s anti-gay pro-life stance, coupled, of course, with his skin color, is going to be enough for him to take a slice out of traditional Democratic urban strongholds. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the upper-class could never vote for someone as pro-union as Strickland. I think this one’s Ken’s to lose.” -Ayn Randian

    Strickland’s A-raing from the NRA is going to be enough for him to take a slice out of traditional Republican rural strongholds. He’s getting more money from the business community than Blackwell is.

    The race is still Blackwell’s to lose (no pun intended).” -BAI

    And he’s doing a darn good job of it, too. Strickland leads by double digits in most polls.

    By the way, BAI, I think you mentioned on another thread that you were helping a libertarian-leaning Democratic judicial candidate. I’m in Ohio and I’d like to help, too. How can I get involved?

  32. You guys are amateurs. If you don’t know anything, keep your mouths shut.

    As everyone who follows politics knows (except here, apparently, but following Libertarian politics is such a backwater that I can see how it happened), the flight of whites from a black GOP candidate is always greater than the flight of blacks toward him. Hence, Strickland will more than make up for the loss of a few black Dems with the gain in white GOP/indy voters.

    WaPo ran a brief story on some of the studies as part of their coverage of the similarly doomed Steele campaign.

    P.S. Hey Libertarians, when you lay down with the GOP to support MCRI, you have to take the complete GOP package, race-baiting, phony moralism and all. Grow up, join the two party system, and decide which side you are on instead of just sniping from the sidelines at the latest outrage.

  33. Bob,

    No.

    And I say that as someone who is still technically a member of one of those parties.

  34. The Rasmussen and Survey USA polls over the last two months (and there have been several) consistently show Blackwell trailing Ted Strickland by about 15 points. I assume the man is dead meat (thank God), and have been focusing instead on Ohio’s Senate race.

  35. The Little Woman and I are now in Mt Pleasant, MI, on our way to the Traverse City area for fun and sun. I’ve been hearing this story on the car radio today.
    I haven’t come to any conclusion about it. Just wanted to say, “Hi.”
    (Why am I even posting on our vacation? Our room has a jacuzzi. That’s where I should be.)

  36. BAI – Cornell McCleary! Used to listen to him when I lived in Columbus. Interesting radio, relatively speaking. Did WTVN dump him for another BushBot?

  37. BAI – Cornell McCleary! Used to listen to him when I lived in Columbus. Interesting radio, relatively speaking. Did WTVN dump him for another BushBot?

    He started turning into one of those John LeBoutlier/Paul Craig Roberts Bush-bashing Republicans, especially over OIF and Bush’ foreign policy, so WTVN dumped for another pro-administration Hannity-type dickhead.

    As for all the rest of you Strickland-koolaid drinkers, I’ll just end by saying I’ll laugh at your asses when Blackwell enters the Governor’s mansion … and Strickland and Fisher try to pry the microphone out of another drunk broad’s hands during their concession speech ….

  38. Hey Ruthless – I live in Mt. Pleasant. Enjoy your stay and spend lots of money! 🙂

  39. I don’t buy it, BornAgainIconoclast. This isn’t Ohio Republicans’ year. The party stinks to high heaven right now. I don’t know how well the Culture of Corruption message from the Democrats is going to work this year, but however it turns out, Ohio is going to be the highwater mark.

    Blackwell’s negatives are as high, or higher, than his positives, while Strickland is like +13. Some of that, at least some of it, is because of the corruption taint that would stick to any Ohio Republican this year. And it’s not like he’s a babe in the woods.

    Blackwell will have to beat Strickland like a drum, on the news and in the debates, for the next few months to make up enough ground. I mean, not even let Strickland stay in the contest. Do you see that happening?

  40. “I’ll just end by saying I’ll laugh at your asses when Blackwell enters the Governor’s mansion … and Strickland and Fisher try to pry the microphone out of another drunk broad’s hands during their concession speech ….”

    As someone that works in politics but has, I hope, gained a much cooler head about it, you, Ruthless, really sound like the sort of obessed polito groupie I used to be that cannot see the forest through the trees. You reference all sorts of events that only a handful of people know or care about. I think working on campaigns has really warped your point of view on things. I’m saying that because of what positions you are taking on Blackwell/Strickland, but rather the way you talk about it. My advice is to step back, take a deep breath, and remember not to take you or your campagn’s talking points too seriously. The reality of most things in politics is far far less interesting or outrageous than people within politics seem to understand.

  41. In 1964 more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats.

    Harry Byrd is living proof that not all the racists went with the Rs. Some of them continued to dance with them that brung them.

    Three Cheers for Woodrow Wilson (a Klan supporter) Democrat of course.

  42. To review:

    1. 70 years ago, we were better.

    2. We’ll extend symbolic gestures of solidarity to you.

    …is the sum total of the Republican message to black people.

    you forgot the same thing that the democratic party has neglected to do for the those same last 70 years which is:

    3. We put highly quilified black people into positions of power.

    Which actaully strikes me as odd…I mean republicans have only like 10% of the black talent pool to draw from and the democrats have 90%…i mean simple odds would have put more democrat blacks in power over the last 70 years if only by accident…it is almost like the democrats are intentially keeping them out.

  43. See, joshua, M. Simon only had to go back TWO generations.

    “3. We put highly quilified black people into positions of power.”

    You mean like Thurgood Marshall? Barack Obama? Douglas Wilder? Ron Brown?

    And, actually, I can only think of one Republican who puts highly qualified black people in positions of power – George W. Bush. He really stands out in his party for his commitment to black talent. Before that, Republicans were only putting people like Clarence Thomas and J. C. Watts in positions of power.

  44. And, actually, I can only think of one Republican who puts highly qualified black people in positions of power – George W. Bush.

    Bush, being a southener, sort of puts holes in your “racists democrats went to vote republican” theory, does it not?

    and since when is Clarence Thomas not black?

    also if Obama would have lost we still would have had new black senetor….not really spectacular or a first.

  45. Barack Obama – like J.C. Watts – the voters elected him. The same with Douglas Wilder. But Doug was term-limited out of the Virginia governorship, and never ran for anything again. He wasn’t bruited about as National Ticket or Cabinet material.

    Ron Brown just proves that, when it came to fixers and bagmen, Bill Clinton was colorblind. The same goes for Vernon Jordan.

    Didn’t G.H.W.Bush make Genl. Powell Joint Chiefs Chair? Then there was the way the Dem machine treated Carl McCall when Andrew Cuomo wanted the governor’s chair in New York.

    For myself, I’d like to vote Sowell-Williams in 2008 on the LP ticket!

    Kevin

  46. DeVos worked with the Hitler ad guy to assist Kilgore in Virginia, too. He’s probably the most second-rate Republican running this year.

    New Jersey Democrats are trying to call Tom Kean Jr. the new George W. Bush, but Dick DeVos is so much more.

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