Creep of the Week: Kenneth Blackwell

By |2018-01-15T18:01:48-05:00August 31st, 2006|News|

If Taylor Hicks had been in charge of counting his own votes on American Idol, Americans would have rioted in the streets. After all, when Paula Abdul compromised the integrity of the competition by (maybe) sleeping with a guy who didn’t have a chance of winning anyway, it was front-page news.
If Americans care as much about the integrity of their country’s democracy as they do about no-talent talent contests, they’d best turn their attention to Kenneth Blackwell, the GOP contender to be the next governor of Ohio. He’s the man who, as Secretary of State, helped deliver Ohio to George W. Bush in 2004 in an election that had “fraud” written all over it. So it
should be a little worrisome that Blackwell will be in charge of overseeing his own election in November.
To call Blackwell a right wing gay-baiter is putting it mildly. In 2004 Blackwell was the man behind the anti-gay curtain of Ohio’s regressive marriage amendment. In October of 2004 he compared homosexuals to barnyard animals in a public speech. “I don’t know how many of you have a farming background but I can tell you right now that notion even defies barnyard
logic,” he said, “the barnyard knows better.” In 2006 Blackwell is still milking the marriage issue.
Last month Blackwell called homosexuality a “transgression against God’s law” that can be cured. He also compared gays to arsonists and kleptomaniacs.
Needless to say, right-wing royalty like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Paul Weyrich of the Heritage Foundation love him. And
according to the Aug. 24 issue of Rolling Stone, Blackwell is already on the short-list of vice president contenders for 2008 and has endorsements
from GOP presidential hopefuls John McCain, Sam Brownback, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich.
Stretching their homophobic dollar even further, the Ohio Republican Party launched an anti-gay whisper campaign against Blackwell’s Democratic rival Ted Strickland. Gary Lankford, the Party’s “social conservative coordinator,” sent out an email insinuating that Strickland and his wife are both homosexuals living separate gay lives.
According to The Nation, the email “links to an Internet posting by a conservative operative that is headlined: ‘Article Adds Fire to Strickland Gay Rumors.’ The posting suggests that a mid-June Toledo Blade newspaper article implies ‘the Stricklands are both gay.'”
The damning “evidence” in the Toledo Blade story? Strickland and his wife have no children and live in separate places when the Democratic congressman is in Washington. Scintillating, I know. But as Republicans these days see it, someone who doesn’t publicly hate homos must secretly be one.
Strickland, who opposes the federal anti-gay marriage amendment, dismissed the charge as false. According to the Toledo Blade, Lankford has been fired and Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett wrote Strickland to apologize for the e-mail’s “inappropriate suggestions about your private life.”
Not that it matters. The damage has been done. Which was, of course, the point all along.

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