It wasn't exactly rapid response, but U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland yesterday accused Secretary of State Ken Blackwell of questioning the faith of millions of Ohio Democrats in a Toledo speech last week.
A spokesman said Mr. Blackwell wasn't questioning all Democrats -- just party leaders, the interest groups who support them, and Mr. Strickland himself.
Mr. Blackwell, the GOP candidate for governor, told the Lucas County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner last week that Democrats "still believe that government is God, and God is not."
Mr. Strickland, a Methodist minister who said he only discovered the statement this week, criticized it in a Scripture-laced news release, and urged his supporters to sign a petition asking Mr. Blackwell to retract his statements.
"I don't think you should say such a thing about any group of people," Mr. Strickland said in an interview, "because it exhibits, I think, a spirit of self-righteousness and judgment. It implies that you understand the hearts of millions of human beings ... it's inappropriate for anyone seeking the office of governor."
Mr. Blackwell's campaign spokesman, Carlo LoParo, said Mr. Blackwell was talking about "Democrat leadership [and] liberal groups who support Ted Strickland's candidacy and ... believe that big government is the solution to all society's problems, and that God and faith have no place in the public square" -- and not "the family that lives down the street who are Democrats."
Come now Tax ... er I mean Ted, it seems to me that Mr. Blackwell hit a raw nerve. The Democrat Party has itself admitted that it does a poor job of reaching out to religious voters and is taking (painfully ironic) actions to remedy the situation.
More damning in my mind is the list of Strickland votes that the Blackwell campaign as recently compiled (Hat Tip: Right Angle Blog):
* Strickland voted against a measure that permitted the public display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings. (Vote 221 6/17/99)
* Strickland voted against protecting the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks from liberal judges. (Vote 467, 9/23/04)
* Strickland voted against a constitutional amendment to guarantee every citizenÂs right to pray and express their religious beliefs on public property, including schools. (Vote 201 6/4/98)
* Strickland voted against allowing faith-based organizations compete for federal housing program grants. (Vote 109 4/6/00)
* Strickland even voted against allowing government-funded religious organizations to use religion as a factor in hiring. (Vote 175 5/8/03)
While each of these votes taken individually may be debated, surely Mr. Strickland's track record could lead one to believe that he belongs to that Democrat tradition which has shown a distinct hostility to people of faith in general and Christians in particular.
This is the voting record of one who despises religious freedom, not supports and succors it.
Blogs like The Daily KOS are replete with anti-religious bigotry. It should come as no surprise that the elected left would in some way reflect the soul of its party.
Socialists doing what socialist do, maybe the Democrat Party should look elsewhere for inspiration?