AP's Julie Carr Smyth Uses Tired Dem Talking Points in Josh Mandel Hit Piece

January 16th, 2012 8:04 PM

Republican Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is challenging incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown this November. Despite the false bravado emanating from the DNC and Ohio's Democratic Party and polls solely based on name recognition, Brown, as the Senate's most liberal member (2009 and 2010 Club for Growth ratings: 0%) in a swing state, is very vulnerable.

Associated Press Ohio reporter Julie Carr Smyth has apparently preliminarily staked out a role as the race's designated Democratic Party talking point and innuendo relay person. Her Saturday report on Mandel ("Ohio Treasurer Seeks To Unseat Brown"; alternate title showing her byline is "Ohio treasurer focused on politics in 1st year") is so transparent it's almost funny. 

She makes sure everyone knows that Mandel is Jewish (as if that matters, unless it's a setup to call the two-tour Iraq War vet a dreaded "neocon" later), that his wife Ilana is rich (her family is, but unless Smyth has proof, that doesn't mean Ilana is), that he hasn't had a big coming-out party announcing his candidacy (but somehow, everyone knows he's officially running, because he is), and that's he's supposedly not spending enough time tending to his duties as Treasurer (but has somehow managed to save the state at least $1.2 million). What follows are Smyth's excerpts making those claims, as well as a couple of others (numbered tags are mine):

During his first year as state treasurer, Ohio Republican Josh Mandel has been a man between two worlds, balancing duties of his first statewide office with a fledgling U.S. Senate campaign.

Mandel has aggressively worked the fundraising and speaking circuit these past months, amassing more than $3.8 million this year in his Senate bid against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. That's perhaps more than any other Senate challenger in the country.

At the same time, his weekly calendars as state treasurer are almost devoid of appointments outside of staff meetings and speaking engagements. And he's yet to hold a single news conference to discuss the work he's doing for Ohioans. [1]

Mandel, a Jewish Republican [2] and two-tour U.S. Marine veteran who married into a well-connected Cleveland family, [3] has emerged as one of the most ambitious young politicians in a closely divided battleground state.

... Known locations of Mandel's Senate fundraising destinations include Washington, D.C.; New York; San Francisco; Chicago; and Hawaii.

Mandel, whose wife Ilana is a millionaire, [3] has never officially told Ohioans he wants to be elected in November as one of their two U.S. senators. Instead, the news has leaked out bit by bit through federal filings and word of mouth. [4]

Critics say Mandel has little to show for his time as state treasurer because he's been so focused on his federal campaign. [5] They say he's afraid to face reporters at a news conference because they'll question his promise to serve his full four-year term as treasurer and ask about his experience level for higher office. [6]

... "When I came in here, I took the position that we were going to try to run the office quietly, humbly, keep our head down and do our job," he said in a recent AP interview.

He contrasted the approach to that of Democrat Richard Cordray, a predecessor in the office who was criticized for his large communications staff. [7]


[1] -- State treasurers are expected to hold news conferences? Since when?

[2] -- The relevance of Mandel being Jewish is exactly what?

[3] -- The relevance of Mandel "married into" a well-off family is exactly what, and relevant to whom -- the Occupy movement? It appears that Julie and Democrats trying to imply that Mandel, who earned a reputation as a hard worker and dogged campaigner since his days as a local city councilman and has never let up, somehow doesn't deserve to be where he is. Amazing. I also question whether there is proof that Mandel's wife Ilana herself is a millionaire. And while we're on the topic, how often did the establishment press report that presidential candidate John Kerry had a multimillionaire for a wife? (Answer: Rarely)

[4] -- Seriously, Julie, do you think that official public filings with the Federal Elections Commission like this one (it's called a "Statement of Candidacy" for a reason), are "leaks"? The document "leaked" pretty easily onto my computer screen. It would appear that what upsets Smyth is that Mandel didn't have a big public event of some kind. So? According to her "logic," that should hurt him. She should be happy.

[5] -- Smyth knew better than to report this claim of non-accomplishment without a rebuttal. In contrast to Mandel's predecessor, who had a nasty habit of wasting money on self-promotion, hiring cronies, and patronage-driven decisions, Mandel claims to have saved the state $1.2 million, stopping such ridiculous practices as driving certain bank deposits from Columbus to Cleveland every month instead of transferring funds via computer.

[6] -- The objection to Mandel's decision to run after promising to stay as Treasurer for four years would have some credibility if it were applied equally to Democrats. But of course it never is. Bill Clinton made the same promise during his final run for Arkansas governor in 1990 with no negative blowback. And of course, Barack Obama promised to serve out his full Senate term after his November 2004 election to that office. By October 2006, he decided, according to (irony alert) an AP report, that "he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress." I don't necessarily object to these changes of heart; what I object to is the double standard so obviously being applied depending on the politician's party.

[7] -- The comparison to the now-unconstitutionally appointed Mr. Cordray is valid. Among other things, Cordray was the first Treasurer to force Ohioans renewing their drivers' licenses to make their checks out to the state treasurer by name (great way to increase name recognition for a reelection campaign, eh?). Shortly after he declared his candidacy for Attorney General following Marc Dann's resignation in disgrace, he conducted "Borrower Outreach Days" in at least five Ohio cities. It sure looked like a great way to engage in taxpayer-funded campaigning to me.

The two most important things Julie Carr Smyth's report tell us are that Democrats are more than a little concerned about Mandel's prospects for knocking off Sherrod Brown, and that Julie Carr Smyth and the AP appear interested in doing everything they can to help Brown in his defense.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.