Not quite two weeks ago Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), one of the most liberal members of the Senate, made waves by releasing an ad accusing his opponent, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, of being the candidate of the “Big Lie.” The “Big Lie,” of course, was a term coined by Adolf Hitler and is associated with Nazi propaganda:
“All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility…These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes. From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited.”
—Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
Josh Mandel is Jewish. His grandfather survived the Holocaust in Poland, while his grandmother was hidden from Nazis by a Catholic family in Italy during World War II, making Brown’s Godwin’s line of attack especially offensive.
At age 34, Mandel is something of a conservative Republican rock star in Ohio. He is a Tea Party favorite, supported by FreedomWorks and Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund. He graduated from both The Ohio State University and Case Western University Reserve Law School and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves where he served eight years, graduating first in his class from boot camp and Marines Corps Intelligence School. Mandel served two tours in Al Albar Province, Iraq.
In 2003, Mandel was elected to the Lyndhurst City Council. His most notable accomplishment was pushing through a property tax roll-back — the first in the city’s history and one of the only in Ohio history. In 2006, he won a seat in the Ohio House in a 2:1 Democratic-Republican ratio district. The first bill he introduced was a measure to force the state’s pension funds to divest from companies doing business with Iran, which would have made Ohio the first state to do so. He was named “Watchdog of the Treasury” by the United Conservatives of Ohio and was re-elected to a second term in 2008.
In 2010, Mandel won more votes than any other state office candidate and became the Ohio state treasurer, beating his opponent by 14 points. Rumors began to swirl that he could be the future challenger to Brown in 2012.