A very simple strategy is at play in Ohio (and elsewhere, but on the heels of the Ohio special congressional election, Ohio is a topical case study in Republican strategy at work). Drive up Christian conservative turnout on social issues for victory at all cost. Nothing new here, right, we knew that from 2004:
In 2004, the Bush campaign targeted evangelicals for support, even collecting church directories to identify sympathetic prospects.
But lets look to the future. How about Ken Blackwell's in particular? The African-American and Christian conservative Secretary of State apparently has gubernatorial ambitions. Hmmm, what are the chances that such a candidate would get Karl's blessing and help to achieve higher office...someone who can go after the traditional Democratic base of African-Americans and get conservative Christians at the same time?
A startling characterization of Blackwell, however, and elsewhere in the article should give anyone pause:
Paul Weyrich, a leader of modern conservatism, has paid tribute to Blackwell in commentaries for the Washington-based Free Congress Foundation. Blackwell "believes God wanted him as secretary of State during 2004" because as such he was responsible for voting operations in a critical state during a critical election, Weyrich wrote. He added: "It is difficult to disagree with that proposition."
Johnson sees Blackwell as destined for higher things — even transforming American politics by drawing black voters, now the Democrats' most loyal supporters, to the GOP. If elected, Blackwell would be just the second African-American elected governor in the USA, and the first African-American Republican. Supporters suggest that would make him a natural to be the vice-presidential nominee on the GOP ticket one day.
Doesn't Blackwell sound like the kind of person you want to be a heartbeat away? Someone who believes God wants them there? Ooops, we already have that right?
"Johnson" is a pastor in Ohio, leader of the "Restoration Project," an entity whose goal it is to get 1000 pastors from Christian conservative churces to each register 300 "values voters." The article notes that similar efforts are going on in Texas and Pennsylvania.
I am reminded of a quote attributed to Rove in a New Yorker profile a few years back(well worth the read to see an astonishingly prescient view in 2003 of Rove's successes in targeting of traditional Democratic voters):
"I think we're at a point where the two major parties have sort of exhausted their governing agendas," Rove told me. "We had agendas that were originally formed, for the Democrats, in the New Deal, and, for the Republicans, in opposition to the New Deal-modified by the Cold War and further modified by the changes in the sixties, the Great Society and societal and cultural changes. It's sort of like the exhaustion of two boxers fighting it out in the middle of the ring. This periodically happens. This happened in 1896, where the Civil War party system was in decline and the parties were in rough parity and somebody came along and figured it out and helped create a governing coalition that really lasted for the next some-odd years. Similarly, somebody will come along and figure out a new governing scheme through which people could view things and could, conceivably, enjoy a similar period of dominance."
Guess what the "new governing scheme" is? And a frightening one at that.
Where is the Democratic Karl Rove?