Opinion: Ohio GOP Senate candidates pull a ludicrous snow job on voters


HR King
May 29, 2001
By Paul Waldman
Yesterday at 12:36 p.m. EDT
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4 min
Politicians say a lot of fantastical things in their campaign ads, but we now have an early front-runner for the most ridiculous claim of 2022. And it shows that whatever voters think they’re going to get from the next Congress, they’re probably wrong.
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It comes to us from the Republican primary for Senate in Ohio, which until last week was a contest of which Trump lickspittle would abase themselves in a sufficiently humiliating fashion to win the former president’s endorsement.
That competition was won by author J.D. Vance, whose reinvention as a Trumpist culture warrior — complete with an embrace of the “great replacement theory” that Democrats are importing non-White foreigners to destroy the country — was apparently enough to win Trump over.
Which must have been crushingly disappointing to Josh Mandel, who no doubt thought he was doing all the right things. He posted a video of himself burning a surgical mask, playacted as a tough guy and presented himself as “pro-God, pro-gun, pro-Trump.”
Without Trump’s endorsement, Mandel had to find a different tack. How about inflation, an issue clearly on voters’ minds? And why not have his ally Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) make the pitch?
Cruz and Mandel are kindred spirits, people whose burning ambition carries them up the political ladder despite their intense anti-charisma. Cruz and Mandel evoke a powerful repugnance; watch them and you’ll promptly find yourself saying, “I despise that guy and I barely know anything about him.”
So here’s the ad they created:
True to form, the very first thing out of Cruz’s mouth is an absurd falsehood: “Want to stop Biden’s inflation? Send someone who’s done it before.” Wait — Mandel has stopped inflation before? Of course not. But Cruz does say that Mandel increased transparency when he was state treasurer, which is perfectly fine but doesn’t have anything to do with inflation.
Cruz then closes with a repeat of the claim: “End Biden’s inflation? Send Josh Mandel to Washington.”
Of all the over-the-top claims we’ve seen in campaign ads so far this year, this might be the most preposterous. Are we supposed to believe a single freshman senator is going to “end” inflation in America?
Is one backbench senator going to repair global supply chains, accelerate production of computer chips, reduce demand for consumer goods, increase the supply of construction materials and bring down international shipping costs?
And if one senator is capable of all that, how come Cruz himself hasn’t done it, with all the majestic powers of his office? Is he just waiting for Mandel to get elected so he can take care of it?
The problem, of course, is that there’s very little a president, let alone a senator, can do to bring down inflation. President Biden has been trying what he can, but most of it is too limited to have much impact (releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) or might help in the long run but won’t change things now (promoting domestic semiconductor manufacturing). If you’re looking for the brilliant plan to send prices plunging that Republicans will pass through Congress if they retake the majority, you’re going to be disappointed.
Which is why candidates are so vague when they address inflation: Get into the particulars, and it quickly becomes clear that your next senator won’t make a difference one way or another.
You can see it from another candidate in the Ohio primary, Jane Timken, who says in her new ad, “In the Senate, I’ll stop Biden’s socialist agenda and runaway inflation.” She does make reference to a policy — a balanced federal budget — but that has approximately zero to do with inflation, given that we had extremely low inflation for decades, and substantial deficits for almost all that time.
Another candidate, Matt Dolan, tells a lie about Biden — that he “banned oil exploration” on his first day as president — and says that’s the cause of all our inflation. Dolan vows to solve inflation by fighting Biden’s "energy agenda.”
By comparison, it almost seems refreshing that Vance doesn’t appear to actually want to do much of anything as a senator. In one recent ad, he complains that “Biden’s open border” — another GOP fantasy — is bringing drugs and “more Democrat voters” into America. And if you elect Vance, he will … well, he doesn’t say, but rest assured, he’ll go on Fox News to complain about it, just as he does now.
So these are Ohioans’ choices: ugly culture-war posturing, or ludicrous inflation posturing.
In a broad sense, this is not really new: Candidates often characterize themselves as heroically potent, able to transform the country from their perch as the 435th-most-senior member of the House, or whatever it is they’re running for. My favorite is the claim that “I’ll change the way they do business in Washington.” Sure you will.
If there’s a nugget of truth amid all this, it’s that electing more Republicans to the Senate will, in some ways, “stop Biden.” At least it will stop him from passing any legislation, or filling any judicial vacancies. But it will have absolutely no effect on inflation. And if you think it might, you’re just the kind of fool that candidates such as Mandel are looking for.

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HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 1, 2001
There should be two national parties, the Democrat Party and the NLP, National Lying Party. That's what they do, and they had a good teacher, sort of a genius in his own mind.
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