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Sherrod Brown: the clear choice in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race



Published: Mon, October 8, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.
  Election 2012: Sherrod Brown

Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

  Election 2012: Josh Mandel

Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate

Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate

Some candidates run as “outsid- ers” because they are just that — or even a little bit of that. And other candidates run as outsiders and claim to be something other than they are because they’ve calculated that voters like to think they’re voting for anyone but a “career politician.”

These imaginary outsiders will say whatever they think the voters want to hear. If there were a dictionary entry for such political mendacity, it could carry the picture of Josh Mandel, Ohio’s current treasurer and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Mandel is an outsider only to the extent that since becoming the state’s treasurer in January 2011, he has spent much of his time outside Ohio, raising millions of dollars in special interest money for his run against U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown, a Democrat, is seeking his second six-year term in the Senate. He is running on his track record, and while some may not like much of that record, he has one. And he is more than able and willing to defend it, even against his harshest critics.

Mandel served two years on Lyndhurst City Council and a term and a half as state representative from the 17th District before being swept into office in the GOP rout of 2010. He barely had his name on the door before he started putting together his senatorial campaign.

Despite the challenges and distractions of taking on a new job while simultaneously seeking a step up, Mandel is proud of his 21 months in office. He points to what he says is his record as state treasurer: generating a $2 million surplus by cutting costs in his office, protecting Ohio’s credit rating, improving the yield for local governments that invest in the treasurer’s STAR Plus program and saving the state $7.9 million in debt service through refinancing.

He has the makings of a respectable record, and we’d say he should be given the opportunity to prove what he can do by serving the four-year term to which Ohio voters elected him. It’s just possible that after a full term, Mandel’s absenteeism and the cronyism he practiced in filling some of the highest jobs in the treasurer’s office will catch up with him. Or perhaps he is a wunderkind. There’s only one way to find out.

And while Mandel is serving out his term as treasurer, Ohio voters should send Sherrod Brown back to Washington for a second term.

Insight from interviews

Vindicator editors conducted separate interviews with Brown and Mandel that lasted nearly an hour each. Space prevents us from a full recounting here, but one question and how the candidate chose to answer gives a decisive insight. Brown was asked to defend his vote for the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare in today’s shorthand.

He didn’t flinch. He pointed out that senior citizens are already getting preventative care and saving money through the closing of the prescription drug “doughnut hole,” young adults are able to remain on their parents’ health plan, a high-risk pool is being created for pre-existing conditions and insurance companies must show that they are spending at least 80 percent of what they take in on patient care. “I’m not running away from my vote,” Brown said, noting that those who have insurance are already footing the bill for those who don’t. Obamacare will reduce the numbers of the uninsured.

Mandel was asked about an issue that he has been quite vocal about, the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler Corp. In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Mandel called Brown’s vote for the bailout “un-American.” But he refused to answer the simple question: Had he been in the Senate would he have voted for or against the bailout? A yes or no would have sufficed. He would have been welcome to explain his answer at length — had he chosen to answer. We can only wonder if his tortured evasions of the question were as painful for him as they were for the editors.

Mandel seems to think his trump card in this race is claiming that Sherrod Brown is “too liberal” for a state like Ohio. Is Brown liberal? In most matters, no doubt.

But to the extent that liberal means standing firm against China’s rapacious trade policies, we can live with Brown’s liberalism. To the extent that he has consistently supported General Motors for the jobs it brings to this Valley, we can live with his liberalism. And to the extent that he recognizes that while the budget must be balanced, it shouldn’t be on the backs of Medicare recipients, we can live with his liberalism.

Josh Mandel may yet evolve into a thoughtful politician who earns the respect of the electorate. But he’s not there yet.

One of the last things he said during his Vindicator interview was a claim that he has Democrats and independents supporting him, while Brown has only partisans. That’s an insight into Mandel’s view of politics. It’s a view that may play well in some quarters, but there is already enough of such nonsense in the U.S. Senate. Sending Mandel there would be a mistake.

The Vindicator endorses the re-election of Sen. Sherrod Brown.


Comments

1Knightcap(699 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Two things we could count on from the Vindy. The endorsement of the same old same old tired career politicians and taxes. It's time to get rid of all these lifers feeding at the trough and vote no to all these taxes that the Vindy will be wanting you to vote yes on. Save some money out of your paycheck and let them make the cutbacks.

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2Jerry(498 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

A vote for Sherrod Brown is a vote for Nancy Pellosi, Harry Reid, and Barrack Obama.

I can't, and I won't!

If a good conservative "small government" Democrat comes along, and is willing to separate himself or herself from the left wing big government crowd; I'll consider them. Until then.... no way.

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3Education_Voter(858 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Josh Mandel is a professional politician too, minus the committee appointments, ability, background knowledge, and ethics.

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4cathylukasko(116 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

The state of OH will go Romney/Mandel - Ohioans are aware the Brown was voted the MOST LIBERAL Senator in Congress that has NEVER seen a program he won't spend money on. He voted for the stimulus, Obamacare, etc. and has contributed to the LARGEST debt in the country. The only reason OH's unemployment is lower than the nation's rate is because of Republican Governor Kasich.

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5Politico(27 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Brown is nothing more than another lap dog for Obama/Reid/Pelosi and this larger ilk. Reid and the Senate, of which Brown is a member, has NOT PASSED A BUDGET IN OVER 3 YEARS. They have not done their constitutional duty and are derelict in their job performance. Continuation of the previous years budgets is not a budget. He voted for Obamacare, and supports additional restriction on gun control per the 1994 now defunct law. This law was based ONLY ON COSMETIC APPEARANCE of a gun, and had absolutely nothing to do with functionality or relative to actual gun crimes. Brown's wife had to leave her job as a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer due to conflict of interest and her negative article regarding military personnel. I vote NO for Brown and should anyone else who can read and understand the facts.

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6Ianacek(909 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm not sure whether its ever a good idea for a newspaper to offer political endorsements , but why pretend they are made on the basis of candidate interviews - which were videotaped . They show a calm Mandel constantly interrupted by 2 hostile & gesticulating interviewers , while Brown is given a clear run with patsy questions .
On a general note: Maybe white middle aged male incumbants may be secure for the moment , but the trend toward more representative democracy has begun in America , as evidenced by the backgrounds of candidates putting themselves forward , endorsed or elected or not .

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