Monday, May 15, 2006

More Unity

I crossposted my summary of the Unity Event at the new Right Angle Blog. Most of the comments I've received about the piece have been complimentary, but this one isn't. I'm not so thin-skinned as to respond to every single blog entry that is critical of my point of view, but there are a few things I'd like to say to set the record straight.

She opens with this gem:
The Unity event was filled with mainly former Petro supporters.
No kidding. Really? In Columbus? You know, the heart of it all (if by "it" you mean establishment Republicans like Bob Taft)? Color me shocked and appalled. I was pretty sure that was Blackwell country.
The fact that Petro came out and supported Blackwell was soundly viewed as a huge testament to his character and vastly helpful to Blackwell in his quest to garner the moderates of this party.
There are PLENTY of moderates in the Ohio Republican Party. Remember Bob Taft? He's one of them.
Petro gave one of the best speeches I've ever seen him give and spoke to what many of us on RAB are concerned with in this party.
I would imagine losing power to actual conservatives would be of some concern to some folks...
He received a standing ovation.
That's some wasn't called a "unity" event for nothing. It was the polite thing to do...even I eventually got up and clapped for Jim Petro...doesn't mean I think he should have any say in what happens next.
The ‘Conservatives’ have won the first victory, but winning general elections are what the moderates have been doing for us in this state for years.
Does anybody think "moderate" Bob Taft would have won a third term if he were able to run again? That is the "moderate" legacy...
The question now remains whether a man considered to be an arch conservative can win the votes of those moderates.
The same way Ronald Reagan offering a clear alternative to the ultra-liberal that the Democrats have put up.
Petro's advice for a 'big tent' party didn't fall on deaf ears.
The ears in question were mine...and I'm not buying Petro's plea for "moderation". Elections have with it.

This was just the first paragraph. There is plenty more to go...

All this talk about "unity" is interesting. Notice that it is the "moderates" who are doing it. I didn't hear any "unity" talk from "moderate" Mike DeWine.....'s more:
Blackwell has started to heed Petro's advice and proved that he is a consummate politician. He has already dropped his right wing pandering of social issues and started moving to the center. His speech revolved around jobs, around respect for Petro and his ideas, and about unity. For the first time, he actually commended legislators for the CAT tax as opposed to chiding them. He claimed that Petro’s ideas were "bigger than any candidacy". He’s started backing away from the TEL, saying that if legislators would come up with something comparable, he would stop touting the TEL. He created a commission that usurps Petro's idea of reorganization of Government and asked Petro to head it up. Blackwell proved that he is a true chameleon.
Man, how about that "unity"? I feel all warm and fuzzy being "unified"...

Here is a newsflash: The reason why Ken Blackwell is saying that he'd accept an alternative to TEL if the "moderate" legislators can figure something out that will get the job done, is that he knows they are going to be unable to do it. And if they should stumble upon an idea that is worth talking about, he can take credit for that too. How's that for being a chameleon?
I had initially written off Blackwell winning the general election. I thought that his attempt to swing to the center would seem transparent. But Petro’s support of him is sure to help him. He’s taken Petro’s ideas. Petro, who backed his campaign on his ideas, who has been able to win moderate and independent votes because of his ideas and management, and who has a consistent record of good governing is now on Blackwell’s team. Blackwell spoke to the validity of Petro's ideas and has made them his own. This will be of tremendous support in getting the support of state legislators, fiscal conservatives and responsible voters. Petro, in many ways, has won. His reorganization plan - the cornerstone of his campaign - is now part of Blackwell's candidacy. The TEL - the former cornerstone of Blackwell's campaign and a piece of legislation that Petro strongly disagreed with - is slowly being dropped. He's highly respected and his reputation is intact.
Petro didn't win. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you. He lost. It's true. You can check the results right here. Only a "moderate" at a "unity" event would say that a "loser" of an election actually "won" something.
Blackwell is a brilliant politician. He will do or say whatever it takes to become who the state wants. Do I trust him? Absolutely not – I’ve seen what he’s capable of. But do I discount his candidacy? After the unity event, no. He’s entertaining – it will be fun to see who he becomes next.
If I have any more "unity" I just might have to join a third party...

Earlier I mentioned that it was important to notice just who's talking about "unity". The funny thing is that when Petro and his supporters talk about "unity", they expect people to drop their convictions and principles and see it their way regardless of the results of the election. When Blackwell speaks of unity, he means the real thing. Singleness or constancy of purpose or action; continuity. Getting together to defeat the opposition, for example. I get the impression from this Petro supporter, that she really wouldn't mind seeing Blackwell lose this election. How can I say that? Well, if this is the level of support we can expect after we have all experienced "unity", I'm not real sure there is much actual unity in the party.

Perhaps time will heal this particular wound. I hope so. We have a lot of work to do. And just because Blackwell needs the support of all Republicans, that doesn't make him weak or in need of changing his views. His views are right. He is the right man, at the right time, with the right ideas. He represents bold new leadership in a time of needed reform.

It probably wouldn't hurt my case here to point out that "moderate" Republicans have been running the state for a decade and here we are talking about the need for reform, but that would mean I was expressing thoughts of "unity"...

And I think we've all had enough of that.


Matt Dole said...

It's early and I am trying to get up to speed. If I understand correctly, the unity event:
1. upset conservatives, because they don't feel they need to have unity with someone as (gasp) moderate as Jim Petro.
2. Upset moderates, because the conservatives believe victory can happen with them.
3. Proves that unity is a one way street - Petro supporters better get behind Blackwell, because he is the future, but there is no need for reciprocity for candidates like Mike Dewine, whom we still hate as a RINO.

Matt Hurley said...

Yeah, that's pretty much it... :)

Seriously, I have issues with billing this thing as a "unity" event when the guy who lost keeps making his case. He lost.

Bill Pierce lost too...I didn't see him on the podium this weekend. Mike DeWine sure didn't reach out and ask for "unity" from me...

I don't have a problem with the idea of having real unity with moderates like Jim Petro. But let's not kid ourselves about who won. Invoking Reagan, incorrectly I might add, to slap Ken Blackwell at a "unity" event was a disgusting display of the particular brand of "unity" that we really don't need.

All around, as far as unity goes, I really don't think the event achieved what it was supposed to...if the goal was outreach, all I saw were the conservatives reaching out to moderates...the moderates do what they always do...

Matt Dole said...

See, this is the problem with unity. You, Matt Hurley, are allowed to say you support Mike Dewine in this election, but still criticize him for his beliefs. Ok, great. I disagree totally, because supporting someone while bashing them only helps elect the opponent, but what ever.

Jim Petro did the same thing. He supports Ken Blackwell, but they still have disagreements.

What's the difference? You say that is a brand of unity that we don't need.

Is it only a brand of unity we don't need when it is a supposed moderate questioning a conservative?

It seems to me that the unity event didn't work for Matt Hurley, because there is no compromise that could possibly satisfy your ideology. The only way the unity event could have worked is if Petro has admitted he was completely wrong, and if Mike Dewine stepped down totally.

That isn't unity and it doesn't win elections.

Matt Hurley said...

I, Matt Hurley, was not a speaker at the so-called "Unity" Event...that's why I get to have my opinion.

The difference is that Petro was at a GOP sanctioned event trashing Ken Blackwell and conservatives. He was there as a representative of the party.

I am not a representative of the party. If I were, I would do the "right" thing and bite my tongue because you are right in that this sort of thing doesn't help foster unity.

Get it?

And don't you find it at least slightly bizarre that the moderates who won aren't asking for unity, but rather it is the moderates who lost that are asking for "unity"?

For me, that is what this issue is about. I'd like some "unity" from Mike DeWine, but I'm not going to get it. He won. He gets to carry on about his pork as if it were a good thing. He gets to tout his Gang of 14 membership as a victory while Brett Kavanaugh still waits for an up or down vote.

I'd like a little "unity" too, please.

Mark said...

Matt D,

Unity is not jumping up on the podium and trashing the people who won. It is not saying how closed minded and evil the conservatives are, as petro did. He laid out the basis for a big tent. Tell me, what has the big tent done for Brett Kavanaugh? For Miguel Estrada? What has the big tent mentality done to the President's agenda in congress? Arlen Spector deliberating, etc.

Matt, this was about coming together. Betty M. realized that. Ken Blackwell realized that. Jim Petro was the only one who continued to wag his finger at the true base of this party, the conservatives. That is why he lost. He thought he was the smartest guy in the room and he was wrong.

Mike DeWine, instead of realizing how much discontent is out there, even in the party that gave him 79%, he just continued to arrogantly talk about him and sherrod, sherrod and him, and didnt even ask for our vote. He was the only person on the dais not to do so.