As the Republican Party flails around trying to regain its bearings, party operatives should take a close look at Ken Blackwell, who just won the Republican primary in the governor's race in Ohio.
Blackwell decisively defeated Jim Petro, Ohio's attorney general, garnering 56 percent of the vote, and now has a shot at becoming the first black Republican governor in the nation's history. Initial polling shows him trailing his Democratic opponent Congressman Ted Strickland. However, it's early in the game and Blackwell, a former Xavier University football star, is both a competitor and a winner.
Blackwell also is a man of principle and is that rare and unusual politician who is clear, upfront and uncompromising about those principles. He serves up his agenda, a combination of limited government, fiscal conservatism and traditional values, in a straightforward way that makes typical political gurus and consultants wince. But, like Ronald Reagan, Blackwell knows that Americans respond to honesty and he also knows that he is right.
Conventional wisdom is that he's too conservative. There is also concern that Ohio is in such bad shape, and that the current scandal ridden Republican governor is so unpopular, that the door is wide open for a change in party.
But, in fact, Blackwell's clear and honest conservatism is the answer to the concerns about the state's economic problems and the problems with government corruption.
The point is that corruption is the product of big, undisciplined government, and this is exactly what Ohioans have gotten from their current regime. It is a joke to think that the way to solve corruption is to throw out a big government Republican and replace him with a big government Democrat.
So, in fact, Ken Blackwell has not stopped smelling the roses of the Reagan revolution. Or, perhaps I should say the American Revolution.
I have long felt, counter to the conventional wisdom that Republicans recruit blacks, that blacks will play a key role in defining and leading the Republican Party. It is because the black community needs the agenda of limited government and traditional values like oxygen.
The beauty is that it's an American agenda. Not an ethnic or racial or special interest agenda.
So watch Ohio. It may tell you a lot about the country's future.
(Star Parker is president of CURE, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org) and author of the new book "White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.")
Go check out the whole thing. A great ringing message of solidarity and support with the Blackwell/Raga Revolution.