What happens to blacks who escape the liberal plantation: Steel, Blackwell, and Swann
October 30, 2006
Wes Vernon, RenewAmerica analyst

For decades, liberals and their media echoes have pounded home their sacred gospel of Act alike-Do alike-Think Alike. Their thoroughly racist doctrine says, "Thou cannot be black and also conservative. Thou shalt be only liberal — first, last, and all the time. So it shall be done."

In three statewide races this fall, that doctrine is being defied by qualified conservative blacks who are not following the script as laid down by the liberal establishment wherein it is decreed, "Woe be unto any African American who leaves the liberal plantation."

Steele in Maryland

Maryland's Republican Lt. Governor Michael Steele is making a run for an open seat in the U.S. Senate. Along the way, he has had to brush aside racist slurs from the plantation.

To those who make the demeaning argument that what the black community needs is larger and larger welfare subsidies, Steele's reply is, "Dr. [Martin Luther] King made it possible for minorities to eat at the lunch counter. I want to make it possible for minorities to own the counter."

Such expressions of hope and optimism are fighting words to the liberal establishment, where it is an absolute article of faith that black people must be kept poor and humble before government authority. Otherwise, they may start making money and moving to the middle, upper middle, and even upper class, and we can't have that. Why, they might do something terrible — like (gasp!) voting Republican!

One of the barriers that Steele has had to overcome in this campaign is the opposition's illegal search of his credit report by unlawfully accessing his Social Security number. This was done by two employees of Sen. Chuck Schumer's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. For this ID theft (which prompted an FBI investigation), the two got off with light sentences.

Congressman Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat — in a Freudian moment — let the cat out of the bag by accusing Steele of "slavishly" following the Bush line. When reminded that the word slavish has historical insulting overtones, Hoyer apologized. Steele has made it plain he is his own man, agreeing with the president when he is right while disagreeing with him on issues such as education policy and the handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Lt. Gov. Steele is the first black in modern times to win statewide office in Maryland, even though the state is 30 percent African-American, and also heavily Democrat. He is pro-tax cut and pro-life. He and Governor Bob Ehrlich — Maryland's first Republican chief executive since Spiro Agnew — have presided over a government that — in the words of The Washington Times — has challenged "class warfare demagoguery and reflexive support for higher taxes." And all of this despite a hostile lopsided Democrat legislature.

Opponent same old same old

Steele's Democrat opponent is old-line liberal Ben Cardin, a career politician who at 63 has a political resume that dates back 40 years — all of it in public office. For the last twenty years, he has been a congressman from the Baltimore area, where his voting record has been predictably liberal.

Steele outshines Cardin in debates, showing the same pleasant personality and grasp of the issues that have marked his television commercials. Cardin — perhaps in an effort to solidify his party's leftist base — has come across as rather harsh. It seems he can't decide whether his strength is with the radical base or with his carefully crafted reputation as an establishmentarian.

Steele has been approached by strangers "who are angry" about the attacks on him. "They are sick of it," he tells reporters.

Political history will be made if Marylanders elect their first black United States Senator in living memory.

(Steele for Maryland, 3611 Branch Avenue #206, Temple Hills, Md. 20748)

Blackwell in Ohio

After serving two terms as Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, a staunch conservative, has provided bold and experienced leadership that has made him a role model for black conservatives around the country. In 1994, he became the first African-American to win a statewide race in Ohio when the voters made him State Treasurer.

Now Blackwell is seeking to become governor of the state. His resume includes the positions of domestic policy research at the Heritage Foundation and membership on White House and congressional commissions dealing with economic growth and tax reform. He has been viewed as an up and coming star of the Republican Party. I interviewed him once on the floor of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. He was an Ohio delegate to re-nominate George W. Bush. He gave a very thoughtful political analysis of his state.

This year, Ohio voters may give this ideas man the go-ahead for an innovative growth plan. If elected, he would surely reverse course from the failed policies of outgoing GOP Governor Bob Taft, whose scandal-tinged administration has sullied an honored Ohio name as son and grandson of United States senators and great grandson of the 27th president of the United States. Governor Taft is more liberal than his ancestors. Within the Republican Party, Blackwell has been a Taft foe.

Says Blackwell: "In order to spur economic growth, we need to put the brakes on out-of-control spending and lower Ohioans' tax burden."

Noting that Ohio was ranked 47th in job-creation in 2005, Ken Blackwell has an agenda that includes a JOBS (Jobs for Ohio Businesses) program — the focus of which is a public-private partnership in the highway business. It would be accomplished without increasing tolls or reducing maintenance. The plan will offer worker retraining; entrepreneurial starter loans; cheaper, cleaner energy research; and improved Appalachian broadband access.

As Secretary of State, Blackwell ensured that voters, not lawyers, determined the outcome in that pivotal state in 2004. That has earned him a bull's-eye on his back from trial lawyers.

Lefty opponent

The Democrat candidate for Governor of Ohio is outgoing Congressman Ted Strickland. He has survived in a highly competitive district — having been defeated once and then returning two years later in a re-match. The issue that defeated him for one term was his proposal for a tax hike.

Strickland's voting record from the American Conservative Union is rated at 8%. That makes him one of the most liberal members of the House, though he has strived mightily to cultivate the image of a "moderate."

In the current campaign, Strickland has been involved in a scandal over the allegation that he "should have known" that his young 1998 campaign manager had been arrested for exposing himself to children. It turns out the congressman was informed of the charges, but merely accepted the campaign manager's denial, apparently without checking the arrest records.

The controversy intensified when it was reported that Strickland went on a 1998 post-election vacation to Italy with that same campaign manager. Frances Strickland, the congressman's wife was not along. Strickland says the trip was innocent — part of an invite to other staff people to celebrate his hard-fought re-election that year. But the congressman and the campaign manager were the only ones who actually took the overseas trip.

Congressman Strickland was also taken to task for being among just 13 Democrats who voted "present" on a House resolution, part of which declared that a sexually abused child could not have healthy relationships as an adult. The congressman, a former prison psychiatrist, said he could not support that wording.

Needless to say, the media, which were demanding accountability over the Foley scandal, are hypocritically downplaying or looking the other way on this one — or (also unlike in the Foley scandal), they are directing their fire at the critics.

Regardless, it is Ken Blackwell's record that speaks volumes as to his fitness for office. His positive plan for Ohio argues for his elevation to the state house.

(Ohioans for Blackwell, 172 E. State Street, 6th Floor Columbus, OH 43215)

Swann in Pennsylvania

Here you have what appears to be a David vs. Goliath contest.

All things being equal, Lynn Swann should wrap up his race for Governor of Pennsylvania in a walk. He has celebrity name recognition — as a star wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers (including two Super Bowls), a former sports broadcaster, a respected member of the business community, and former Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness.

Alas, all things are not equal. In this race, Swann is up against an entrenched machine. But just as he has come from behind in sports, he has the potential to do so in his quest for the Keystone state's highest office.

He surely has an imaginative agenda to offer Pennsylvania voters. It includes the following: a bold plan to reform the state's property tax system; a proposal to improve welfare-to-work in Pennsylvania, putting Pennsylvania's economy back on track; an opportunity-based education plan; comprehensive tort reform as part of a health care program; and specific plans for agriculture (Pennsylvania's number one industry) and for first responders to emergencies — as well as giving "no higher priority" than to assure justice, and defend the innocent from violent crime.

Machine politics

Swann's opponent is incumbent Democrat Governor Ed Rendell, now seeking a second term.

Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia and onetime Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is an old pro at the political game. He will be no pushover.

The governor has been called to task for extreme abuse of the privileges of his office. He was been accused of using the state plane to take him and his friends on day trips to the gambling mecca of Atlantic City. Similarly, he has used the plane to host junkets for lobbyists — including "the biggest gambling lobbyist" — all around Pennsylvania, charges the Swann campaign.

Swann has called on the State Auditor to investigate Rendell's "misuse" of the state taxpayer-owned plane.

As noted, this is a David vs. Goliath campaign, but in some of the most storied battles, the Davids have won. With enough help, Lynn Swann can pull it out.

(Lynn Swann for Governor — P.O. Box 3501, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-3501)

A victory by Steele, Blackwell, or Swann would mark a significant break from the liberal plantation. If all three make it, the plantation will be destroyed. But the main reason for their support is more relevant: Their credentials for high office are first rate.

© Wes Vernon

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