Mandel to GOPers: Absurdity wins
A passage from "This Will Not Pass" shows the Ohio Senate candidate knows he's playing a game with Republican primary voters.
It makes it easy to read everything Jonathan Martin writes since he was such a generous colleague while we crossed paths at Politico, but I’d probably read him religiously even if he wasn’t because he always manages to score the goods.
He, along with Alex Burns, have delivered again in their tome, “This Will Not Pass,” set to publish on Tuesday, dropping new nuggets about the sheer hypocrisy of Republican officials’ posture on Donald Trump in private versus in public. But if your interest has expired on books chronicling the chaotic finale to the Trump presidency, you can be forgiven.
I’ve given it a speed read and highlighted some new details about how gravely wrong Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was in predicting Trump’s “imminent demise” following the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection.
McConnell, who is often commended for his political acumen, couldn’t have been more wrong about the aftermath of Trump and Trumpism once he vacated office in 2021.
Key passages from my piece, which rounds up Martin and Burns’ reporting on McConnell, Tom Cotton, Joe Manchin, Liz Cheney and Lisa Murkowski:
“McConnell told his advisers there would be at least 17 Senate Republicans ready to affirm Trump’s impeachment, supplying the two-thirds vote needed to convict,” Martin and Burns write.
“McConnell is: Ignore and hope he goes away. And that just doesn’t work,” Cheney says in the book. “McConnell is somebody who normally has really good political instincts. He’s one of the best, but I think he’s completely misjudged the danger of this moment. This is about the Constitution. There is clear right and wrong.”
Read the whole piece HERE.
And yes, buy the book.
Since the Ohio Republican Senate primary is also dropping on Tuesday, I thought it only prudent to highlight the book’s reporting on its leading candidates.
Josh Mandel, once the flamboyant conservative frontrunner for the nomination who now looks threatened by the Trump-endorsed J.D. Vance, dished to GOPers in Washington that at least part of his absurd, extreme campaign rhetoric … is an act.
From the book:
Mandel, acknowledged to Republicans in Washington that he was parroting absurd rhetoric in the primary campaign out of a desire to court Trump and his supporters — but that was simply what he believed it would take to win.”
In fact even as he publicly mimicked Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, Mandel would privately reach out to McConnell’s top lieutenants to alert them each time one of his top rivals, J.D. Vance, criticized Washington Republicans — effectively trying to have it both ways with Trump and the GOP leaders he derided.
Double-speak from a politician isn’t going to shock most folks in Ohio or anywhere else, and it’s doubtful this type of inside baseball will insert its way into the campaign’s final weekend. But it’s just another straw of information to show how much of politics is playacting for a particular crowd at a particular time.
And for Democrats, it provides a little more ammunition for their case that Republicans are a bunch of phonies who will do and say anything to hold power.
Jane Timken, the former chair of the Ohio GOP whose Senate campaign has fallen out of contention in the final weeks, also makes an appearance in the book.
Watch her nimble evolution from the numbing days after the Jan. 6 riot to when she decided to formally launch a U.S. Senate campaign.
At the RNC retreat [in January,] Timken said her days as a [Trump] loyalist were over. “I’m done with Trump,” she told one Republican.
A month later, in February 2021:
When she announced her Senate candidates she boasted she had “stood next to President Trump and supported his America First agenda.”
In her latest ad, she brands herself as “Trump conservative Jane Timken.”
Of course if Vance isn’t victorious on Tuesday night, that result would immediately call into question the potency of Trump’s blessing.
But don’t hold your breath for even that outcome to stop Republicans from kissing 45’s ring.
They can snicker and play it all off in private.