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Of course, this saying is usually heard when it comes to Presidential politics. However, I believe that the maxim could also be applied to the races for the Senate in the 2022 election cycle.
As everyone knows, the Senate is presently split directly down the middle with Vice President Harris usually casting the deciding vote. However, the elections of 2022 will give the Democrats an opportunity to achieve a clear majority. When two-term Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman announced that he would not seek a third term, Democrats began licking their chops in anticipation of turning both Ohio Senate seats blue. Based on what I am seeing from most of the Republican candidates, the Democrats may have a very good chance.
Before taking a look at those candidates, however, it might be a good idea to check out the incumbent Democratic Senator and the Democrat who hopes to join him in “the world’s greatest deliberative body”.
Sherrod Brown has been in the Senate since 2007 and has never held a job in the private sector. Although he has carefully cultivated an image as a “champion of the little guy” (helped immeasurably by his journalist/commentator wife, Connie Schultz) he and his spouse have a net worth well into seven figures.
Put a microphone under Brown’s nose and you will hear the familiar platitudes of “standing with the working class” and “fighting the wealthy special interests”. However, don’t ask Brown about his brother Charles. Charles Brown’s tenure as Attorney General of West Virginia was marked by corruption including charges that he had impregnated his secretary. Finally, he resigned from office in exchange for an end to grand jury proceedings. I suspect that the two brothers are not far apart when it comes to ethical behavior.
The Ohio Democrat hoping to join Brown in the Senate is Tim Ryan, presently the Representative of Ohio’s 13th Congressional District. Like Brown, he has never worked in the private sector. And, like Brown, he has never been in the military.
Ryan’s start in politics was as an aide to former Representative Jim Traficant; yes, that Jim Traficant. For those of you unfamiliar with Ohio politics, Traficant was convicted of ten felony counts, including bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion. He served a seven-year prison sentence.
Tim Ryan’s style seems to have been copied from Brown; that is, a propensity for demagogic language and behavior. Shortly after he announced his candidacy for the Senate, I observed one of his speeches (on C-SPAN) from the floor of the House chamber. I don’t recall the subject of the speech; only the manner in which Ryan wildly flailed his arms, gesticulating to an audience of somewhere between 15 and 25 people. He would have made Benito Mussolini extremely proud.
Ryan’s Republican opponent will come from a field that, for the most part (remember that qualifier), is unimpressive. But one declared candidate intrigues me; I mean really intrigues me.
Let’s go down that field of candidates. The first to declare their candidacy was Jane Timken, the chairperson of Ohio’s Republican party. I had never heard of her until she declared her candidacy shortly after President Biden took office. For a four-month period she flooded the airways (at least, the Conservative airways) with almost hourly commercials, declaring that she would “build the wall” (which I found to be a bit humorous). She is not a terribly impressive person and seems to have achieved much of her notoriety through her marriage to Ward Timken, former chairman, CEO, and president of Timken Steel. She has never held an elective office and I can find no record of her ever working in the private sector.
The second person to enter the race is well known to Ohio voters, Josh Mandel. Although he did serve eight years in the Marine Corps Reserve, I can find no record of him working in the private sector. His record as a politician is decidedly mixed. Although he did a credible job as the Ohio State Treasurer, his campaigns for the U.S. Senate have been less impressive. In his first try for the office in 2012, Brown defeated him rather handily, 51% to 45%. In his second try for the Senate in 2018, he dropped out of the race rather suddenly, maintaining that he could not campaign due to his wife’s health issues (they were divorced two years later).
The two other declared candidates; one an investment banker and the other, a car dealer, are so unimpressive that I will not even mention their names. Neither has any name recognition or, to date, any financial backing.
So, that leaves Republicans with one final candidate and that is author J.D. Vance. I make no bones about it; I like the guy. As I read his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, I could not help but identify with him, even though my family was in no way as dysfunctional as Vance’s. Growing up in Appalachia can be, shall we say, a unique experience. However, Vance “overcame and adapted”; getting through high school and joining the Marine Corps. After his hitch, he went on to get his BA at THE Ohio State University and his JD from Yale.
Vance is a solid conservative (although, not as conservative as some would like; as evidenced by Matthew Continetti’s column in today’s NR feed). More importantly, however, I believe that he has the fire in the belly that will be needed to defeat Ryan in 2022.
It was very interesting to me that almost immediately after Vance announced his candidacy, the Left immediately pounced on him while seeming to ignore both Timken and Mandel. A prime example was a snarky editorial that ran in most of the Ohio newspapers owned by Gannett. (Gannett owns 21 newspapers in Ohio, including the Columbus Dispatch and the Cincinnati Enquirer.)
The editorial, written by a columnist from the Washington Post (Alexandra Petri), was strange, to say the least. While attempting to cherry-pick parts of Hillbilly Elegy as some sort of proof that Vance was unsuitable for office, the columnist acted as if she was on the payroll of Congressman Ryan. I took a quick look at her biography and saw that she has a degree from Harvard, majoring in English. (Yeah, in this case, that really qualifies her to write about this subject.)
So, unless I miss my guess, I believe that, before the Republican primary in May of next year, Ohio’s MSM will combine to do everything in their power to take down Vance. They are clearly afraid of him and believe that Tim Ryan can easily defeat either Jane Timken or Josh Mandel.
Now, perhaps you are thinking that this is an issue that affects only Ohioans. Nope. The scenario that I described will be coming to your state. (In neighboring Pennsylvania, conservatives will be facing the same situation due to the retirement of Pat Toomey.)
The congressional elections of 2022 will be an all-out slugfest. The Democrats know that they cannot run on the issues. Immigration policies? Crime and law enforcement? COVID policies? Education? The Democrats know that they have hopelessly bungled these issues. So, what will be their strategy?
Simple answer; they will fall back on what they know best. Vitriol, lying, wild hyperbole, and all the other negative campaigning that is in their wheelhouse. Expect to hear rhetoric along the lines of “…the Republicans plan on giving $700 billion to millionaires and billionaires” and “…the Republicans are planning on ending Medicare”. Those of you from Ohio will remember those words. They were spoken (repeatedly) by Sherrod Brown in his campaigns for the Senate. As for Tim Ryan; even though he’s younger than Brown, he’s catching up quickly as evidenced by his tweet that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a “low rent demagogue”.
It distresses me that some Republicans are saying that their control of the House and Senate is a virtual lock. That’s a load of bull. There was no way on God’s green earth that they should have lost the two Senate seats from Georgia. Yet, they managed. Republicans have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and I see signs that history will repeat itself. There is no doubt in my military mind that the Republicans have the wherewithal to botch the 2022 elections.
If it were in my power, I would force every Republican in elected office to go to the blackboard and write 500 times, “I will grow a pair of cojones”. Alas, I cannot. All I can do; all any of us can do, is to keep fighting the good fight. If we don’t; as a famous and wise philosopher once said, “…They’re gonna put ya’ll in chains…”
Wait a minute. Maybe I should find another famous and wise philosopher.Published in