The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2011 (VAWA) passed the senate last week with overwhelming support from Democrats, including Senator Sherrod Brown. Despite some complaints from the far-right, the bill received bipartisan support, with 15 of the 68 Yes votes coming from Republicans including Ohio’s Rob Portman, John McCain and even David Vitter!

There’s no question this bill is important, funding everything from women’s shelters to police officers investigating violent crimes against women. And the bipartisan support it received only goes to prove its importance. Josh Mandel, of course, has refused to come out in the support of the bill.

His campaign team has likely advised him that he should avoid taking positions on any issues, ever, or he might scare away some of those valuable ‘independent voters’ that we hear so much about. And especially this year, with the Republican War on Women heating up, Mandel has likely been advised to shut his mouth and say as little as possible.

Unfortunately for Josh, his lack of a response only helps solidify his already poor position on this issue. And Ohio’s Democrats have every right to slam him for his silence.

According to a letter released by Brown’s campaign, nine Ohio legislators have called out Josh Mandel for refusing to support the bill. The authors rightfully claim Mandel’s lack of support is “troubling and upsetting.” But one thing it should not be is surprising.

When it comes to women’s rights, especially those involving choice, Mandel has decided to pursue the path of “extreme partisan politics”. And despite what he says – or doesn’t say – to reporters or the public about this specific bill, I guarantee you Josh and his campaign team are working behind the scenes to reassure his supporters and, more importantly, his donors that Mr. Mandel is solidly in the anti-women camp.

Given Mandel’s record, it shouldn’t be a hard sell.

Last April Mandel signed on as a supporter of the unconstitutional “heartbeat bill” along side Ohio’s other extremist, anti-women crusaders like Ken Blackwell. Senator Sherrod Brown has opposed this bill.

And in 2009 Mandel co-sponsored a resolution opposing the Freedom of Choice act, which gives “every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child” or, if they choose, to not bear a child. The act maintains the same existing federal restrictions already established under Roe v Wade.

Mandel seems to hate the idea of women having control of their own bodies SO much that he showed up and spoke at an anti-choice rally along-side other radical extremists like Chris Long, the anti-gay, anti-women and anti-human/animal hybrid president of the Ohio Christian Alliance.

I honestly don’t know if Josh Mandel thinks women are too stupid to decide what to do with their own bodies, or if he’s just siding with these extremist because he heard it would help get him elected to the Senate. What I do know is this: when it’s comes to women’s rights, Senator Sherrod Brown beats Josh Mandel hands down.