Blackwell’s Play

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Ambinder’s got a good line on former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell’s alliance with Texas party chair Tina Benkiser; to win:

Most significantly, this union gives evangelical Christians on the national committee a single ticket to join.

Blackwell’s the all-out social conservative whose clock Ted Strickland cleaned in the 2006 gubernatorial race. Benkiser has had better success managing the fortunes of Texas candidates.
With Blackwell as chair and Benkiser as co-chair, the GOP would have a black face and a female face in titular charge of the party without giving off any vibes that they might be reaching out to “moderates.” That’s too bad for Maryland’s Michael Steele, who has given off just such a vibe. It’s equally bad news for incumbent RNC chair Mike Duncan, the apparent front runner despite presiding over the biggest Republican electoral debacle in decades.
Duncan’s latest exercise in self-promotion has been an unremitting assault on President-elect Obama for alleged ties to Governor-reject Blagojevich. Is it a coincidence that the assault was piously denounced two days ago by fresh-minted Christian warrior Newt Gingrich? I rather doubt it. Gingrich and Blackwell are longtime allies and collaborators.