Thursday, May 18, 2006

Conservative swoon over Republican standard bearer's amazing ability to have Republican legislature pass his conservative legislation

It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't so true. In equally shocking (but in no way analogous) news, OSU football fans says that Scarlet's victory over the Grey team in the OSU Spring Game shows how much Jim Tressel is an amazing leader. This is the spin being raised to declare that after nearly a year promoting TEL, the constitutional amendment to place stringent caps on state and local government spending by tying it to inflation and population changes, Ken Blackwell's sudden abandonment of the amendment in favor of a legislative proposal, which only limits state government's spending, is a testament to his glorious leadership.

Surely, this isn't a flip-flop, the swooning conservatives say because Ken Blackwell himself says: "I am not going to stand before you and try and re-create myself for the general [election]. I am who I am and I am who you get."

Sure, the new proposal is a repealable and freely amendable statute, unlike a moreingrainedd constitutional amendment, but that's not a flip-flop. After all, in recent days, Blackwell had publicly said he would consider abandoning TEL if "a better proposal came along." And this is clearly a better proposal. Right? Right?!?

Well, it's hard to tell since the legislative proposal that's better than TEL hadn't even been written by the time Blackwell already endorsed it.

We do know that Blackwell is supporting a legislative proposal that completely abandons Blackwell's promise to constrain local spending. But, the swooning conservative says as he basks in the pseudo-Reaganesque glow of Blackwell, that's not a flip-flop. As the editor of the conservative blog, Right Angle Blog, stated:
"In all fairness, until the TEL was brought up Ken Blackwell always talked about state government spending, he never really mentioned the local spending."

And that's true. Well, except, of course, for the times when Blackwell really did mention local spending:

"State and local government in this state have been spending money like drunken sailors," Blackwell told Dayton's WHIOTV in April.

But, the nervous conservatives say:

We don't care whether the principles of TEL are enacted in a constitutional amendment or statute, what matters is that this legislation achieves the restraints on state government spending that we wanted.

Except the watered-down legislative proposal doesn't restrain all state government spending, either:

"But unlike Blackwell's amendment, which would limit the annual growth of government spending at the state and local levels, the new law would apply to only state general-revenue funds and not spending from other sources such as fees." From The Columbus Dispatch.

But, hey, at least a gap on limiting growth of the state's general revenue fund will achieve the conservative's goal of limited government creating sustainable economic growth, right? Right?!?

"A statute referring only to state (general-revenue funding) is only addressing part of the problem and not even the worst part of the problem," David Hansen, president of the conservative Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, said. (emphasis added).

But isn't it unfair criticize a candidate for changing his position on an issue, even if it's the centerpiece of his campaign. One issue alone doesn't make a person unprincipledled waffler, does it?

During the primary campaign, this is what primary election candidate Ken Blackwell said about Ohio's new Commercial Activity Tax (CAT):

"What would make someone create a new tax on commercial activity when we need more commercial activity?" he asked during a rally at Lima's Veterans Memorial Civic Center. "That CAT must go.""

Now, general election candidate Ken Blackwell says that he's ok with CAT.

So, in the end, what do we know?

"I can hold a position on an issue longer than six months without getting exhausted."- Ken Blackwell.

We know that CAT and TEL must have been at least seven months old.

"I think the Republicans got Blackwell out of a big mess."- William C. Binning, chairman of the political-science department at Youngstown State University and former Mahoning County Republican Party chairman.

Maybe, sir. But don't betray your conservative leaders, by calling this something it's not. It's not a retreat. It's a bold, visionary reverse strategic deployment.

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