As I watched and listened (via electronic media) to the Cleveland City Club debate between Sen. Sherrod Brown and his Republican challenger, Josh Mandel, I could only sigh that Josh was doing it again. His self-burnishing moment arrived when he, as occurs so often when he speaks, wanted the audience to know that he so loved the country that he volunteered to join the Marines to protect his homeland. Or, as he put it, to say "thank you" for what America has done for his family.
He hasn't yet given us specific details of what he did while working in the protected Green Zone, and there is no reason to bring it up except he has cast himself as Sgt. York. Or maybe Col. John Glenn.
His grandiose view of his patriotism didn't occur overnight. I would suggest that back in his teens (he's now 35) he realized that he had to radiate toughness in his anticipated political career, given his boyish looks and schoolyard high-pitched sound. The Marines served his personal needs.
On Monday, he offered nothing new, but the speech was so constructed that I believe he has been prepping for it since high school. After all, he is still a whiz kid of a young man who has held four different political jobs in his quest to be well prepared for his next brattish leap into greatness.
Although I find nothing corrosive about being a liberal, particularly after a "compassionate conservative" like George Bush left behind such a mess when he went back to his vast acreage in Texas, Josh accused Brown of being a do-nothing ultra liberal senator who wants to blame everyone else. No sense, I believe, in going over much of his debate terrain from promising to lower taxes "across the board"to opposing the auto bailout. He even signed Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes - Norquist, for God's sake, the Gulliver lobbyist who rules over the Republican Party. At times, his remarks were downright foolish. I mean, here was Josh calling Brown a liar for reneging on his past promise to limit his political career.
Josh, indeed. He hardly locates his new office's bathroom before he prepares for another job - including the current one in which he had promised to serve for a full term.
But as he was asked by a Muslim in the audience why he chose to negatively characterize a former opponent as a Muslim, (which, by the way he wasn't except that he was dark-skinned) Josh could cnly ramble about why he wanted to stop radical Muslims from brutally harming their women.
Folks, the Republicans allowed with open arms this foolish candidate to happen, so it's their problem now. There was a time when they could boast of senators Bill Saxbe, George Voinovich, and two Tafts who were family to the latest Bob Taft. Not that I could always agree with them. But Josh Mandel vanishes in their senatorial presence.
Frankly, Josh, I don't think you prepped nearly enough over the years for this job. At your age, you still have plenty of time to prep for another one. And as an avowed advocate of the middle class, where would you be today without the $20 million from the big right-wing oil, energy and corporate power brokers? If you should win, they'll be expecting a huge return on their investment, don't you think? Finally, Josh, for the big dollars, you da man!