csvt1rdwyaadkzrTwo of America’s most effective progressive U.S. Senators are Ohio’s own Sherrod Brown and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren. The key to their effectiveness stems from a genuine commitment to working people… regular folk… us.

Brown and Warren do not deal in platitudes or vagueness in addressing the real problems facing America’s working class and the elite class of moneyed interests selling them out.

I’ve met many politicians throughout my life, but Brown and Warren both have an essential quality to them – something that appeals very personally to my mid-Western working class sensibilities – let’s call it the “potluck factor,” as in, they remind me of neighbors I might meet at a potluck; the type of neighbors who brought a casserole.

Of course, this is how most politicians strive to come across – accessible, relatable, humble “regular folk” themselves, out to serve the best interests of the people. But as a jaded old newspaperman, more often than not the performances ring hollow, and I suspect more often than not it’s because they are.

Ohio has another politician who can boast the “potluck factor,” but unfortunately, because of an astonishing and disgusting amount of dark special interest money flooding the state with negative campaign ads, he’s behind in the polls in his race for U.S. Senate.

It’s former Gov. Ted Strickland. Over $35 million and county in out-of-state dollars, and a months-long negative ad blitz, have allowed Republicans to shape the narrative of Strickland and his tenure as governor.

The corrupt banking interests that brought the world economy, the American economy, and Ohio’s economy crashing down around us in 2008 are the same dark money interests laying blame at the feet of Strickland eight years later. It’s a wicked canard, and according to the polls at least, it’s been sadly effective.

You can bet they’re not attacking Republican governors circa 2008 for allegedly crashing their states’ economies. Why? Because it a bald-faced lie. No state governor, Democrat or Republican, could’ve predicted, prepared for, and saved his or her political subdivision from the reckless griftopia of Wall Street and the mortgage-backed securities crisis.

Perhaps nobody has worked harder at holding Wall Street accountable on the national level than Warren, and so I think it should say something that she’s been campaigning hard in Ohio on behalf of Strickland. Does Warren blame Strickland for crashing the world economy in 2008? She does not.

From Cleveland.com:

The senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts has been prominently featured by Strickland’s campaign in recent weeks. Almost every Strickland fundraising email sent in the past three weeks is either from Warren or conspiciously mentions her. Warren campaigned with Strickland in Columbus and Cleveland last weekend. And in a new Strickland web ad, Warren urges Ohioans to support him “so he can fight for real people.” …

Spotlighting Warren also shows how Strickland’s path to victory this year is different than it was when he ran for governor in 2006, Kondik said. While Ohio Democrats used to be fairly reliant on centrist supporters from Southeast Ohio, now they increasingly need support from more liberal voters in large cities – voters who are more responsive to a progressive star such as Warren.

I chagrin that “centrist supporters from Southeast Ohio” aren’t trusting their own guy to stand up to Wall Street interests on their behalf, but instead are believing the $35 million lies of out-of-state financial industry dark money. I chagrin, though I’m sadly unsurprised, and because American political office now seems destined to be bought and sold outright by the highest bidder, I’m not sure what’s to be done.

D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s RouteFifty.com, the National Journal’s The Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.