Somehow I just don't associate Sen. Rob Portman with a hardhat. With his blandness as a "commonsense conservative" - a tepid term itself that is meaningless - he's now turning up in TV commercials with a hardhat and a sincere message that he's "fighting for Ohio jobs". Fighting? Hardhat. Jobs. Get it?
We haven't seen much of the Cincinnati Republican up in our part of the Buckeye Woods, but he's being challenged in the 2016 senate race by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and probably is anxious to get his campaign going before it's too late.
To that end, Karl Rove has already chipped in $1.12 million for the TV campaign. But can we all agree that another million or so doesn't go as far as it used to?
Portman, George W. Bush's budget advisor, has been a blur since the 2112 presidential campaign when not a pictorial moment flew by that didn't show him tagging along in jeans and work shirt at Mitt Romney's side. The gurus were sure that Mitt had swing-state Portman in mind for his running mate.
Gurus, however, can be very impressionable and conventional thinkers, even those who seemed to think that a guy who votes with his party nearly all of the time is a "moderate". (A persistent voice against funding Planned Parenthood. One of 47 Republican senators who signed Sen. Tom Cotton's letter opposing the Iran deal.) But with Mitt back on the shelf, Portman had to be satisfied with simply being the commonsense conservative in a borrowed hardhat.
So for the remainder of the campaign, the most important job that he will be fighting for is his own.