The arrival of October not only offers us the annual radiance of autumnal colors but also,unfortunately, the dismal folly of another newspaper editorial endorsement season. The candidate interviews have been held, the editorial boards have met and now we can sit back in wonderment at how the corporate media are prepared to lead the voter into their secure grasp.

As the years passed, the media not only lost readers but also credibility; Editorial support is now a lesser matter of influence than a fading obligation. Sort of like trying to lead a horse to water with fewer and fewer horses in the corral. Yet, the game goes on.

The Columbus Dispatch – no need to go into its past profile again – has led the enfilade with its soaring endorsement of John Kasich and then on Sunday packaged the entire Republican state ticket as the Masters of the Universe. Not entirely unexpected. Still, there was a surprise tucked in the GOP group, namely the paper’s support of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel as its unapologetic choice.

Mandel, it’s painful to recall, was one of the principle characters so often mentioned in the Ben Suarez money laundering case. Here’s what the Dispatch reported back in July:

“While Suarez was found not guilty of making illegal campaign contributions in 2011, no one is questioning that he gathered $100,000 for Mandel’s Senate campaign [against Democratic incumbant Sherrod Brown]. And no one is questioning that Mandel took up Suarez’s cause in a California legal battle at the same time.”

The story further noted that Mandel’s fundraiser, Scott Guthrie, “twice helped Mandel solicit campaign money from Suarez: $30 ,000 in one instance, $100,000 in another. Guthrie personally picked up an envelope containing the $100,000 in checks after hours at Suarez’s company.” Hardly beer money, wouldn’t you think?

So what does the Dispatch have to say about that apparent pay-to-play transaction? It rebranded Mandel by asserting that he has “performed his duties ably and helped put the state on a sound fiscal footing.” It concluded that Mandel had “weathered a bit of a scandal” in the Suarez matter and was not charged, as suspect as it all seemed.

True to his style, Josh immediately posted the brief endorsement in his flow of fund-raising letters, mournfully pleading for financial contributions to help him fight negative attacks by his opponent,

Mandel has experience in negatives. He once denounced Sherrod Brown as “un-American” for supporting the auto industry bailout.

And he wants you to help pay for his re-election. Clip and save.