Reading a Townhall.com article this week titled “Question John Kerry Long and Hard!”, I thought I had magically been transported back to 2004 and some fantastically ridiculous episode of Lost where Ken Blackwell, the author, is re-swiftboating John Kerry on his military experience.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised Ken wants to relive that year. 2004 was probably the last good one he had as a politician or political figure.
Back then, Blackwell was serving as the G.W. Bush re-election campaign co-chair in Ohio, the Ohio Secretary of State AND “the most prominent backer of a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage on the same ballot.”
Blackwell became infamous nationally for his efforts to suppress voters – especially in heavily African American districts. Despite a dozen voting-related lawsuits, Bush won, the homophobic measure passed, and Blackwell won enough credibility with his own party to become the Republican candidate for Ohio Governor two years later.
Blackwell was at the top of the world.
But in 2006 shit went south for Ken. Kerry, not surprisingly, supported Blackwell’s opponent, Ted Strickland, who went on to win the Governor’s race in a landslide.
You can’t blame Ken for keeping a grudge for a year or two. Just like you can’t blame John Kerry for the same.
The difference, of course, is that John Kerry changed course and recovered while Ken Blackwell continued down the same pathetic path.
Kerry lost his presidential race by 2 points, conceded gracefully, and went on to focus like a laser on his Senate career. Blackwell lost his Governor’s race by nearly 25 points and now spends his time defending racist voter suppression strategies, running ads about “Obama-phones” for the Tea Party and accusing Sesame Street characters of making “little boys grow up to be gay prom queens”.
John Kerry is now on track to be the next U.S. Secretary of State while Blackwell’s successive demotions have left him a second-rate politician writing nasty, repetitive, outdated bullshit for some third-rate conservative blog.
Some people obviously take political defeat, and the important lessons it delivers, better than others.