Monday, June 18, 2012
Marines Josh Mandel vs. John Glenn: No contest
Right. Like Horatius at the bridge!
Mandel's sanctified message is simply that just as he answered his personal call to duty in Iraq , he will likewise save America from the liberals, beginning with Sen. Brown and Barack Obama. Casting himelf as a disciiplined soldier and first-tier friend of Israel, he has succeeded in raising millions of dollars as well as kind words from the Republican Jewish Coalition of Cleveland, which obviously had something to do with his decision to enter the Senate race. He has also so pleased the Tea Party that it has solidly claimed him as one of its own with all that this portends regarding health care. The feeling is mutual.
One quickly senses with Mandel that every moment of his life is well planned, from his political birth as a Lyndhurst councilman, to state representative to Ohio treasurer in less time that it takes to steal second base.
I've met ambitious young politicians over the years, but none comes to mind with so much campaign cash to destroy his opponent. Or for that matter, enough lies to keep Politifact/Ohio busy eight days a week.
Now, allow me to go back to another Ohio Marine, Col. John Glenn, a Democrat who landed in the Senate.
In the many years that I reported on his political career, I heard not a word from him about his military life, which included tours as a combat pilot shooting down MIGs. His record as a flying ace and astronaut could speak for itself without his embellishment. His advisors often were disappointed that he didn't play on that noteworthy aspect of his life when he ill-advisedly decided to run for president, a short-lived venture. Actually he was too reticent about his accomplishments to run a national campaign. He turned down offers to make cameo appearances on sit-coms. Never made a product endorsement. Went shopping in Manhattan for shirts while Jimmy Carter was on the verge of naming a veep in 1976 as Ohio Democrats futilely promoted him for the job. He even turned down a floor rally at the convention by the D's in his behalf.
This Boy Scout from New Concord, Oh., had a reason: "I've already had more recognition than I need," he told me.
Once, when I visited his home in Central Ohio, I was astonished to see a smaller version of the iconic sculpture of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. It was sitting on a wide mantel in the spacious living room. It was the sculptor's model in creating the monumental memorial that now sits just outside Arlington National Cemetery.
"They sent this piece to me," he said casually, nodding to the model. "I shouldn't have it, so I'll send it to the Smithsonian."
Glenn, always the modest hero with a liberal voting record that showed his deep concern for average folks. So I'll tell you this much: I knew John Glenn. Josh Mandel is no John Glenn.