You know the fun’s going to come in Ohio’s race for U.S. Senate when it’s only March 2015 and you’re already being treated to melting-clock surrealism.

When President George W. Bush’s old budget management director is pitching himself as the candidate of the future, the very fabric of space-time begins to warp. If he starts campaigning with Jeb, break out your flux capacitors, folks, I think we’re gonna get this bad baby up to 88 mph.

Robert Jones Portman, U.S. Senator, must’ve had a fit of the jellies reading about the opposition talking about the future at an Ohio Democratic Dinner Friday night.

“Fellow Democrats, we need to make this election about the future,” Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld told the crowd.

Sittenfeld is running against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in the Democratic Primary for the chance to take on Portman. For his part, Strickland promised he could “give an energized vision explaining what the future is.”

Not to be outdone, Portman may or may not have arrived via hoverboard to the Franklin County GOP dinner Saturday. “President Obama and Ted Strickland represent the past,” Portman told the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, our campaign is going to be about the future.”

There you have it, folks, gauntlet thrown. Or perhaps more apropos: fully-integrated, thermodynamic iGlove thrown.

Twelve years in U.S. Congress between 1993 and 2005, a good three years in the George W. Bush administration, and now into his fifth year in the U.S. Senate, where he’s signed his and Ohio’s name to nearly every bill of Tea Party Kabuki to come across the national stage, R.J. Portman is a man of the future. If he insists.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Portman said the new Republican majority in the Senate is making that chamber work better than it has in years.

“We’re not the ‘party of no,'” he said, paraphrasing a common criticism of congressional Republicans. “We’re the party of ideas and reform.”

Bwah! If this re-election bid doesn’t work out, Portman could get a nice gig hosting $1-shot night at the Funny Bone.

Not the party of no? Let’s see Portman’s own votes. Hurricane Sandy relief? No. Campaign Finance Amendment? No. Highway Funding and Transportation Act? Nay, three times nay. Bring Jobs Home Act? That’s a big negative. Protect women’s health from corporate interference? Rather not. Revamp student loans to be a little less, y’know, exploitative? Can’t do that. Extend unemployment? Of course not.

OK, but he’s not in the party of no though, so what would he do? Complete the fence along the Mexican border? You betcha. A bill to approve the Keystone pipeline? Co-sponsor! Another bill to approve the Keystone pipeline? Oh yeah. Another bill to approve the Keystone pipeline? Another co-sponsor!

I’m beginning to get the point.

And what has “the party of ideas and reform” been up to this 114th Congress, with their new majorities in the House and Senate?

They kicked it off with another bone-headed effort to repeal Obamacare, for the 637th time or something. Then a couple months later they stalled their own budget talks arguing over the bone-headedness of their futile repeal efforts.

At the least, they violated foreign policy protocol, if not the U.S. Constitution, by circumnavigating the Executive Branch to host the head of government of a foreign nation.

They again undermined U.S. diplomacy and their own President during touchy negotiations by writing a profoundly tone-deaf letter to a country George W. Bush himself called part of an “axis of evil.” A letter Portman signed onto and defended.

They narrowly avoided defunding the Department of Homeland Security because they stupidly tied it to the misplaced hopes of their xenophobic wing to stop any progress on immigration (is it even a wing or the whole damn bird?)

They hemmed up an important law against human trafficking by tying in anti-abortion language to score points with their anti-choice supporters.

Yes, I think we’re all beginning to get the point.

Helluva future y’all’ve got planned, Mr. Portman, helluva future.

David DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure based out of Athens, Ohio. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.

 

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