Here’s what I wrote in 2006 when the Plain Dealer endorsed then-Lyndhurst city council member Josh Mandel (R) for the open seat in my Ohio House District, 17.
Here’s what the Plain Dealer says this year about Democratic challenger Bob Belovich and the incumbent:
30, a Republican, is a former member of Lyndhurst City Council now seeking his second term in the House. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Mandel has served two stints in Iraq as a Marine Corps intelligence specialist.
57, is an attorney with 30 years in private practice and is also vice president of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Democratic Club. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University and a law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
This is a contest between two good candidates. But Belovich was an unapologetic supporter of the jobs-killer initiative mandating paid sick time, since pulled from the ballot. But he is sincere, well-informed and would probably become an effective legislator. Mandel’s first term was significantly interrupted by his admirable service in Iraq. A second term should tell us whether he will live up to his advance billing as a future political star. He has earned the chance to prove himself.
As some of you may recall, audiences in California who heard Mandel speak last spring came to believe that the Democrats of Ohio were going to put up a “tidal wave of cash” to unseat him. What I found when I tried to figure out just how much he needed last time to win was that Mandel gave a tidal wave of cash to the Ohio House ($200,000) in the 2006 election cycle.
To the best of my knowledge, there’s been no such tidal wave of assistance for Belovich to fight Mandel and in fact, Jeff Coryell of Ohio Daily Blog writes about disturbing behaviors on the part of the Mandel campaign, including a refusal to debate the opponent until after the election (yes, you read that right), as they strategize for the incumbent to retain the seat.
But I digress.
This year, although the Plain Dealer editors resisted making their decision based on age (they liked Mandel’s youthfulness in 2006), they do appear to base their decision not on the ability either candidate posseses to serve my district, but rather on their assessment of how Belovich supported paid sick leave, while the PD opposed it.
Hmm – problem is, Plain Dealer editors, if you are going to judge on issue stances, first, you should apply that standard to both candidates. Why did you only apply that measure to one of the two candidates?
Second, if they had applied this measure evenly, they could easily have pointed to the fact that Mandel voted in favor of the English-only law for the state of Ohio, which the PD resoundingly panned. And I mean, really panned, as almost the height of political manuevering for the sake of the GOP party:
Given the many choices the General As sembly has offered Ohioans this session, it’s hard to decide which of the legislature’s antics has been most embarrassing. But a House-passed bill to require state agencies to use only English – as, in practice, they already do – may lead the pack.
The measure, House Bill 477, passed the House 54-42, with the help of a half-dozen Democrats. It is now pending in the Senate’s State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. If that panel is short-sighted enough to recommend it for Senate passage, Senate Republicans should have the common sense to shelve the proposal rather than bring it to the floor for a vote.
That’s because House Bill 477 sends an awful message about Ohio to anyone considering a business investment here.
Likewise, the PD editors wrote:
Gov. Ted Strickland has vowed to veto the bill if its reaches him, and rightly so. The Mecklenborg bill would cancel out much of the good that the state Development Department, Greater Cleveland’s biomedical complex and Ohio research universities do to draw new people, new ideas and new money here.
The bill is a solution in search of a problem. On this topic, Ohio Republicans differ even from their political patrons. It’s no coincidence, for example, that ATMs of Ohio’s big banks offer customers a range of languages. That’s also true of labels on consumer products made or distributed by giant Ohio companies, such as Procter & Gamble. The world is not going to change because Ohio Republicans want to win or hold marginal General Assembly districts. But the world’s opinion of Ohio would change, and not for the better, if Mecklenborg’s bill gets through the Senate.
And Josh Mandel’s vote in favor of HB 477 helped that legislation, which the PD implies is, to them, “embarrassing” and “awful,” pass the Ohio House. Even though Mandel’s campaign website says, under the Issues section, Growing Our Economy:
Josh Mandel is working to lead the fight to help retain and create jobs for working families. This means investing in worker training to provide the skills that employers need. It means creating a climate in which state government is working with businesses, not against them. It means cutting government red tape and lowering taxes to protect the jobs of hard-working Ohioans. [my emphasis]
That statement is, according to the PD’s assessment of HB 477, in direct contradiction to what the PD believes HB 477 would do to business in Ohio.
But the PD doesn’t mention those opposite opinions on HB 477 when assessing Mandel.
Someone explain to me how it is that the Cleveland paper of record can only mention that one candidate is on the opposite side of an issue from the editors, and not mention that same exact fact as it relates to the other candidate on a different issue, about which the PD wrote with great passion?
Plain Dealer editors: if you want to support Josh Mandel, just do it – there are reasons that even I would buy (his reputation as a hard worker, the excellent staff he’s assembled, his efforts at communicating with constituents). But for goodness sake, either include that he voted for the English-only law which panned, or don’t imply that you didn’t endorse the other candidate because he supported something you opposed – and then be silent about the fact that your endorsed candidate also supported something you opposed.
No.Sense.At.All. And not very fair.