Having just watched the final debate between Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel, there are a few points that I want to get off my chest:
Mandel's repeated pledges (including the one he signed for mega-lobbyist Grover-Norquist) that he would never raise taxes cherry-picked the old Republican theme that there are other ways to pay for the things that Americans want, eliminate the deficit and sustain a healthy society. (On this score, we learned more about his grandparents and parents than we did on how he would replace the tax loss).
His cadence and mechanical gestures were stylistically perfect, indicating that he was still young enough at 35 to remember his lines for a class play without a flaw. My notes asked, Is this fellow the young Mitt Romney?
He stressed his opposition to the auto bailout without once acknowledging the huge number of jobs that it saved.
He also added a new spin, that polls show him to be one percentage point ahead (The latest average of several polls show Brown more than 4 points ahead.)
Finally, he enthusiastically talked of his future as a "bipartisan" problem solver in the Senate.
On that point, history is not on his side. Most of his talking points are clearly on the hard Right, as are the super-rich wealthy right-wing contributors who have dumped upward of $20 million into his campaign. An important condition that he has yet to learn if he ever reaches the Senate floor is in the book of Ancient Political Realities :
You must dance with the people who brung you there