Monday, June 18, 2012

Marines Josh Mandel vs. John Glenn: No contest

Anyone who has been following the quasi-meteoric rise of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel couldn't escape the fact that  he is an ex-Marine.  And if you didn't know  by now that he is running somewhat as an ex-Marine for the U.S.Senate against Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, Josh will be more than happy to fill you in.   The 34-year-old Whiz Kid has cast a heroic glow on his political life.  As Summit County Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff once admiringly declared of Mandel,  it took  "balls"' for a Jew to be off fighting in Iraq.

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.



Marv Katz said...

I don't know Josh Mandel, but I wish he and U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would quit giving Jews a bad name.

And the same thing goes for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Kent State grads.

JLM said...

Not surprised at all that Joshie's handlers have chosen to use his "war hero" status as a running platform.

God knows they can't use his record as Treasurer.

Grumpy Abe said...

Hey, Marv...Don't blame Jews for Issa. Unfortunately he is a scourge on my family's roots!

Marv Katz said...

I'm not blaming Jews for Issa. This was a separate but related thought: Issa is a Kent State (Canton branch) grad.

David Hess said...

As John Glenn exemplifies, REAL heroes don't need to brandish their medals.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one wondering why Mandel's ads focused on his military duty as if that means something in the Senate beyond being in lock step with his party

David Hess said...

The real question about Mandel is whether he would recognize the truth if he met it. It's almost as though he thrives in a milieu of self-indulgent fantasy, believing only what he hopes will benefit him. One who stoops to such tactics in a political campaign betrays his own confidence that he can't effectively compete in a debate over the real issues. It is a confession of desperation.