In Ohio?s Senate race, incumbent nut case Sherrod Brown recently complained on his website about all the outside groups running ads against him. And why not? Brown?s average polling lead on my friend Josh Mandel is roughly within the margin of error less than 75 days out, with RealClearPolitics calling the race a toss-up in a key battleground state for the presidential candidates. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are virtually tied in Ohio, too. Blaming conservatives for their own dismal records is the strategy du cycle for Democrats.
But is making the Ohio Senate election about outside groups what Sherrod Brown really wants to do?
Josh Mandel should be happy to engage Senator Brown, especially in an election cycle during which a ?journalist? accused Mitt Romney of the ?n**gerization? of Barack Obama?s campaign, or a super PAC run by a former White House staffer accused Mitt Romney of giving a blue collar worker?s wife terminal cancer. Democrats are willing to win no matter the cost as the tide of American politics turns against them, and Ohio is a great place to see it in action.
Josh Mandel has been the subject of vicious attacks that cross the line of what?s appropriate in American politics, and the mastermind behind them ? Media Matters founder David Brock ? is largely to blame for how emboldened the rest of the left has become.
Liberal super PAC American Bridge for the 21st Century, founded by David Brock (who still acts as its treasurer), began smearing Josh Mandel in the Politico before Mandel even formally announced his run for U.S. Senate. His crime? He accepted a meager $1,000 donation from Rich Iott:
“Rich Iott, the Nazi reenactor who ran unsuccessfully for Congress, donated $1,000 to Josh Mandel?s Ohio Senate campaign, according to the Republican?s campaign finance filing provided to POLITICO by the Democratic group American Bridge.”
Remember, Politico is a David Brock ally, according to an expos? on Media Matters by The Daily Caller. So it’s no surprise they actually explicitly get credit from the Politico for bringing the story up. You can also see the story linked on American Bridge?s website in a directory called ?A.B. in the News.? That?s how David Brock brags to donors like George Soros about the vile work they do to tear down opponents personally.
What?s so offensive about attacking Mandel for taking a donation from Iott? Josh is Jewish, and that?s what makes it so offensive. Of course, that doesn?t matter to David Brock?s gang, who openly declared in their Media Matters application to the IRS for tax exemption that they were waging a war on religion. It should also be no surprise that Brock?s American Bridge revived its Nazi-themed attacks on Mandel in a Christmas-themed attack on 12 Republicans last December. You know, because those holly-jolly Nazis sure were funny, weren?t they?
Adding insult to injury, American Bridge later coordinated with ProgressOhio to try to shame Mandel as a bad Jew, prodding him to give the $1,000 donation either to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently labeled the Family Research Council a ?hate group? because FRC?s mission disagrees with liberal orthodoxy, or to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization dedicated to Holocaust education:
“The liberal issue advocacy group ProgressOhio said Mr. Mandel should donate the contribution to a charity, such as the Wiesenthal Center or the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
The irony here is delicious ? not only is it patently absurd to accuse a Jewish member of AIPAC who strongly supports Israel of being somehow insensitive to the memory of the Holocaust, but the Simon Wiesenthal Center has openly condemned David Brock and his anti-Semitic organizations:
“The Wiesenthal Center took offense with several articles and Tweets written by CAP and Media Matters writers, as well as their use of the expression ‘Israel firsters.’ While CAP blogger Zaid Jilani has apologized for using the term on Twitter, saying that he didn?t understand its connotation, Media Matters Senior Fellow MJ Rosenberg still continues to use it.”
Some may argue that it isn?t fair to continue to hold Brock to M.J. Rosenberg?s insane, anti-Semitic rants after Media Matters fired Rosenberg (by the way: Rosenberg?s anti-Israel screeds are frequently cross-posted on white nationalist websites ? see the video that got Rosenberg fired for more. This is made more ironic considering Rosenberg slandered RedState co-founder Josh Trevino as a white supremacist). I disagree with those people, because according to recent Federal Election Commission disclosures, Media Matters?s Rosenberg replacement Walid Zafar, who Breitbart News exposed this spring, is also an American Bridge employee:
- $862.65 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 06/29/12 for “Salary”
- $862.65 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 06/15/12 for “Salary”
- $862.64 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 05/31/12 for “Salary”
- $862.65 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 05/15/12 for “Salary”
- $862.64 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 04/30/12 for “Salary”
- $862.65 to “Walid Zafor” of Silver Spring, MD on 04/13/12 for “Salary”
Depending on how much time Zafar spends working on projects for each organization, he could be violating non-profit law. And isn’t it curious that American Bridge has a ?Walid Zafor? on the payroll and Media Matters has a ?Walid Zafar,? when anti-Semitic themes emanate from both organizations? The close-but-not-perfect spelling of Zafar?s last name also raises an interesting point: did American Bridge deliberately misspell Zafar?s name on their FEC filing so he wouldn’t be easily discovered by document searches? I ask because Brock?s cabal is very vulnerable on their anti-Semitism; just ask liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz, who promised to campaign against Barack Obama if he didn?t renounce his association to Brock?s groups. You could also examine before and after screenshots of Media Matters?s ?Political Correction? site, and see that they have scrubbed the ?Foreign Policy Matters? section where Rosenberg and Zafar regularly promoted the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran.
Media Matters also has an extensive library of content defending Sherrod Brown so let?s drop this distinction-without-difference between David Brock?s overtly political, anti-Semitic organizations.
American Bridge?s latest stunt has been to sic its lawyers on Mandel?s office, attempting to bully him into disclosing ?basic employment information? about Ohio state employees. This is a frivolous fishing expedition that aims to distract from Sherrod Brown?s abysmal record on the economy and his complicity in Harry Reid?s refusal to propose a budget in the Senate. Interestingly, American Bridge calls on Mandel for transparency, but don?t say in their letter which records they seek, why they seek them, or what bearing the records have on the election.
This is Harry Reid?s ?source? on Mitt Romney?s tax returns on a smaller scale. It?s up to Republicans to prove they aren?t guilty of something ? anything!
American Bridge also has its own problems with donor transparency; according to OpenSecrets, American Bridge 21st Century (the super PAC) has received $416,016 from American Bridge 21st Century Foundation (the sister 501(c)(4) to the super PAC, which doesn’t have to disclose its donors) since August 30, 2011, with over $234,000 of that total coming in June 2012. Brock calls for transparency from Republican candidates and conservative organizations, but uses a black box to secretly move almost half a million dollars from liberal donors into his super PAC.
Finally, according to an American Bridge memo, Mandel received contributions from employees of an Ohio company that distributes over-the-counter ?male enhancement? supplements:
“Suarez Corporation Subsidiary Sold ‘Performance For Him’ Supplement. According to their website, Biotech Research, a division of Suarez Corporation Industries, sells ‘Performance for Him,’ an all-natural male supplement. The ingredients in Performance for Him naturally help increase the male libido without a doctor?s prescription.? [Biotech Research, accessed 8/30/11]”
Does a guy who wears dog collars in pictures with Barney Frank really want to make a political issue of other men’s penises?
It?s probably pointless to ask someone as far leftwing as Sherrod Brown to renounce David Brock?s thuggish brand of over-the-line politics, even though he?s complaining about the meanies on our side. But the Mandel campaign should welcome the opportunity to talk about the issue of outside groups carrying water for candidates. Because with friends like David Brock, who needs political opponents?