In college I use to go home over the summers to Akron and work at a grocery store to make some extra money. Normally, when I worked at the grocery store I worked in the meat department but sometimes they sent me down to the fish department to cover for someone. I hated the fish department. It smelled like dead fish, it made me smell like dead fish, and I had no idea how to answer anyone’s questions. I remember once a customer asked me to cut some steaks off a whole salmon for him so I went in the back and tried picking up this whole salmon, that must have weighed like 15 pounds, and as soon as I got out of the cooler the thing just slipped right out of my hands, landed on the floor and slid right under the counter. I went back out and apologized to the customer and told him we were out of salmon.
The reason I’m telling you this is because my favorite baby-faced Treasurer Josh Mandel reminds me of that salmon. Try as you might, you can’t hold him in one spot. Once you get a hold of him, or get him to say something, he just slips right out of your fingers and on to the floor. Then you try and pick him up again and he just shoots out of your hands again. He is slimy.
There is his unwillingness to file is financial disclosure forms on time, or his lack of understanding copy-write law, or his explanation that he needs more time to think about supporting the 4,000 jobs that would be created in Piketon, take your pick – he is slimy. Before he makes a decision he is thinking about what decision needs to be made so not to be held accountable for any decisions he has made.
Which brings us to, of all places, Josh Mandel’s You-Tube page. Back in the dark days of October 2010, Mandel ran an offensive ad against, then Treasurer Kevin Boyce, accusing him of making shady deals at his Mosque with other shady people. Problem is Kevin Boyce is not a Muslim, nor does he attend a Mosque. It didn’t matter though, crazy, right-wing nuts like nothing better than some good old fashion Islamophobia and Mandel was more than willing to serve it up for them.
After the campaign ended Mandel went on ONN and said he regreted running the ad and that he and Boyce had made peace with each other. In the interview Mandel said –
…in life there have been times when I have been knocked on my butt, you get up, and keep marching forward.
Which seems all well and good except Mandel still has not taken the ad down from his campaign’s You Tube page. The ad, “Boyce Corruption Ad” is still up on his page. And as of this afternoon it is the second most viewed video on his page with almost 11,700 views. When Mandel said that when life knocks you down you get back up and keep marching apparently that means you don’t do anything to change why you got knocked in the first place.
This begs the question, does Josh Mandel believe that this ad is still true? After meeting with Kevin Boyce and supposedly “breaking bread” with him and learning that Kevin Boyce is not a Muslim, does Mandel still think it is OK to keep the ad up on his campaign’s You-Tube page?
What is more likely is that Josh Mandel is playing politics. I believe Mandel when he says he regrets running the ad but he also knows the calculus of the situation – when trying to court crazy right-wing voters in a Republican primary you better have something to give them. Some people would call that slimy and others might call that knowing your audience.