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J. Kenneth Blackwell: A Man All for Democracy,
Except, Uh, When He’s Not

by Mark Drolette
January 2, 2005

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Read the following two items carefully because there is a quiz afterwards:

1) From Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell’s op-ed, Cincinnati Post, December 8, 2004: “No, Ohio’s system of elections is not perfect…I look forward to working to improve it with those who have constructive proposals…”

2) From Associated Press, December 27, 2004: “[Blackwell], who declared President Bush the official winner in Ohio, is seeking a court order to keep himself from being interviewed as part of a court challenge of the Nov. 2 vote.”

OK, ready?  Here goes: Pick the real J. Kenneth Stonewall -- er, Blackwell.  (Hint: The answer is not an odd number.)

How quickly the worm turns (often, this is just an analogy): Secretary Blackout stayed pretty congenial on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown on November 29 when asked about Ohio’s then-upcoming recount (although he did froth a bit over Jesse Jackson, who had had the audacity to publicly question Ohio’s voting process the previous day.  Secretary Blockwell asserted that “Jackson has not had the courage or the credibility to run and get elected to dog catcher”; which got me to thinkin’: in Ohio, are Diebold machines used in that contest?)

Overall, the secretary was co-operative and pleasant.

However, as Maureen Dowd points out in her book Bushworld: “The Bushes are always gracious, until they need to go ugly.”  For a non-relative, Secretary Blackheart is about as Bushy as they come: he co-chaired Ohio’s Bush/Cheney re-selection campaign.  And now he’s got his own ugly going.

‘Tain’t surprising: The real study in human (or with today’s GOP, demon) nature comes when the pressure’s on, and Secretary Blockall must be feeling some; he’s got Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro (a Republican, of course) running interference on the aforementioned lawsuit spearheaded by attorney Cliff Arnebeck.  (I was going to make a crack here about the AG’s surname’s obvious Bush-like connotations -- you know, like Mr. “Petro-chemical” or “the oily Mr. Petro” -- but backed off because I didn’t want to take any cheap shots.)

The AP article again: “Petro…said the voters ‘are not trying to actually contest the presidential election but are merely using this litigation to cast public doubt on the voting system of the State of Ohio without a shred of evidence.’”

Mr. Petro does have a point: there isn’t a shred of evidence -- there are plen-ty of shreds, a few of which the “court challenge cites…”: “long lines, a shortage of voting machines in minority precincts and problems with computer equipment.”  As far as “cast[ing] public doubt” (and plenty of private scorn) on Ohio’s electoral system, I’d say Mr. Petro’s home state has done a bang-up job of that all by its Midwestern lonesome.

But, hey.  Maybe I’m just engaging in “frivolous conduct,” the sort of behavior of which Secretary Blockhead, per AP, “accused 37 voters challenging the results” of exhibiting.  (He also harrumphed that the troublemakers were making “abusive and unnecessary requests of elections officials around the state.”)

If trying to get to the bottom of what really happened in the Buckeye State on November 2 is somehow “frivolous conduct,” then methinks there was a whole lotta frivolity goin’ on’ that particular day and verrryyyyyy long evening (only for queued voters in Democratic precincts, though).  To those mentioned above, I’ve added a few other frivolities: the amazing automatic votes-subtracting/adding voting machines; Diebold’s chief executive and board chairman Walden “Wally” O’Dell promising in September 2003 “to [help] Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president”; the curious exit polling data (fine for the Ukraine, nyet for America); and post-election: the Triad Systems employee who fiddled with one of his company’s machines before the Hocking County recount; the still-unexplained bizarre “Warren County lockdown” (if nothing else, it’s a great bluegrass song title); and the denial of voting records access to election observers in Greene County, supposedly per the direction of, yep, you know who.  (Click here for an eye-popping rundown on much more Ohio balloting monkey business, as reported by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld, and Harvey Wasserman in The Free Press.)

And still Secretary Blacksick audaciously leads a Washington Times op-ed, in highest Kafkaesque style and apparently straight of face, with: “The electoral system in Ohio worked well on Nov 2…”

This is where we traditionally ask: “Do Republicans think we’re really that stupid??”  That, I can’t answer, but they most assuredly believe Americans are ill-informed, with excellent reason: ‘cause most are (if at all).

Those who await the U.S. corporate media to awaken and finally carry this story face a severe disappointment, because it ain’t gonna happen.  The media and government have been seriously involved in a long-running incestuous relationship and are way too far-gone to serve anyone or anything but their own perverted self-interests.

This is all so nauseatingly familiar; I mean, has it really been four years since we last participated in America’s now-quadrennial Post-Stolen Election Obfuscation Olympics?  ‘Cause it’s seemed more like twenty since we defeated Dubya the first go-round.  Time flies not when you’re under his thumb.

It is up to us to get out from under that huge fleshy, digit by giving its owner a big, fat finger of our own.  Concurrently, we must jettison dismissive, corrupt politicians like J. Kenneth Blockade who demonstrably don’t give a cat’s wet whisker about American democracy, or real American traditional values laid out so wondrously in the Constitution are history.

We need a senator to sign an objection to Ohio’s (or any other state’s) electoral votes during the votes’ January 6 reading during a joint congressional session.  Reportedly, some representatives are already on board, but we’re still a senator shy.  I’ll (again) be sending emails off to mine.  You?

Admittedly, even if an objection is tendered, it’s unlikely to stop Dubya’s re-coronation.  But, while the work continues on proving the fraud beyond doubt, it would send a clear message to frauds like J. Kenneth Blackwell and others of his ilk that we won’t stop until he and the rest of them are down for the (re)count.

Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette.  All rights reserved.

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