Fucking idiot:

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We aren’t sure if it’s like the Ice Bucket Challenge or more akin to feminist bra burnings but Ohio Republicans are burning their face masks on social media.

The celebratory conflagrations come as Ohio’s mask mandate and other restrictive orders were officially lifted Wednesday.

Former state treasurer Josh Mandel, who’s running for U.S. Senate, posted a 10-second video of himself calmly lighting a mask on fire and unceremoniously dropping it on a concrete floor.

Chris Cillizza nails it here:

Because of Trump’s focus on masks, the issue became a political one rather than the public health issue it should have always been. Among Trump backers, wearing a mask became a sign of capitulation to the overbearing federal government while refusing to wear one was a sign that you loved freedom.
This was (and is) America, after all. The government can’t tell you what to do! Every individual gets to make their own decisions!
This is (and was) a ridiculous line of thinking when it came to a pandemic. The only way to limit infections — until the development of the Covid-19 vaccine — was to stop so many people from getting it. And because many of the people who did become infected were asymptomatic, the best way to slow the spread was for everyone (sick or not) to wear a mask.
Not wearing a mask, then, wasn’t just about you and your rights. It literally endangered other people.
Anyway, the point here is that Mandel sees his path to the GOP nomination as painting himself as the Trumpiest candidate in the crowded field. And because Trumpism isn’t about a set of policy prescriptions but rather focused on tone (owning the libs, mostly), the way to demonstrate fealty to the former President is through stunts like, say, burning a mask.
What’s most depressing here — at least to me — is that Mandel’s transparent ploy will probably work. The video, posted on Tuesday night, already has more than 400,000 views. Trumpists will celebrate it — and Mandel — as heroes willing to fight against the nanny state.
    Which, of course, makes no sense. Mask-wearing quite clearly saved American lives.
    But that doesn’t matter. Masks are bad because Trump said they were. Which is more than enough justification for Mandel.

    You can read the Twitter responses on Mediaite, they are pretty brutal. Here’s just a little taste:

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    Mandel’s latest desperate MAGA grab for attention to make up for this:

    Three fundraisers recently resigned from Republican Josh Mandel’s U.S. Senate campaign, prompting questions about the strength of his fundraising operation, according to Republican sources close to the campaign.

    Mandel campaign spokesman Scott Guthrie declined to comment on personnel matters but issued a written statement that said: “I can tell you that polling continues to show Josh as the heavy double-digit winner of this race. The more voters hear his pro-Trump, anti-establishment message, the more they are energized to vote for him and the larger our base grows.”

    Mandel and the three fundraisers did not return messages seeking comment. The treasurer for Mandel’s campaign committee, Citizens for Josh Mandel, also did not respond to an interview request.

    The sources are not being named because they fear retribution by the Mandel campaign.

    This Republican primary really has become a clown show. Here’s the Ohio GOP’s preferred candidate:

    During Jane Timken’s tenure as Ohio’s GOP chair, Donald Trump won the one-time bellwether state by a whopping 8 percentage points. She put 150,000 miles on her car driving to the state’s 88 counties as a surrogate for the president. And she raised a total of $5 million for his two campaigns.

    But that sterling record of MAGA support might not be enough to guarantee the former president’s support in her bid for the GOP Senate nomination. Timken’s sin? In her capacity as state party chair, she failed to immediately condemn home-state Republican congressman, Anthony Gonzalez, for voting to impeach Trump in response to the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

    At the time, Timken said the congressman had a “rational reason why he voted that way. I think he’s an effective legislator, and he’s a very good person.”

    That statement is proving costly. In a Republican Party where a candidate’s viability is measured in degrees of fealty to the former president, the crowded field of primary opponents is insisting Timken has failed a key test.

    Days after entering the Senate race in February, Timken changed gears and called on Gonzalez to resign. But despite that — and despite calling both Trump impeachments a “sham” — Timken’s foes and two dozen conservative activists penned an open letter this weekend to the state Republican Party that called on primary voters to reject her candidacy.

    “Timken is everything that President Trump stood against: politicians who say one thing and do another,” read the letter, a hard copy of which was also sent to Trump and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Timken defended Anthony Gonzalez’s vote to impeach President Trump, then called for his resignation the moment it became politically toxic for her to stand with Gonzalez.”

    And of course she’s reverting to the GOP favorite new distraction, critical race theory:

    In Ohio, Republicans in the General Assembly introduced a bill last week to ban teaching that any individual is “inherently racist,” that any individual “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by the same race or sex,” or that the advent of slavery “constitutes the true founding” of the United States.

    “Critical race theory is a dangerous and flat-out wrong theory,” State Representative Don Jones, the bill’s lead sponsor, said in a statement. “Students should not be asked to ‘examine their whiteness’ or ‘check their privilege.’”

    Mr. Jones, in an interview, could not cite any examples of such teaching taking place now in Ohio. He said his bill was a response to voter concerns.

    Although parents have appeared before school boards in Ohio and elsewhere to object to critical race theory, calling it “Marxist,” many school administrators vehemently deny that they are teaching the subject, or are being influenced by it. They say that much of what conservatives object to amounts to little more than more frequent and frank discussions of subjects like slavery. Parents are also pushing back against the loosely related trend of anti-bias training for students and staff members, which has led to dust-ups across the country.

    A biracial student sued his Las Vegas charter school for requiring him to take a sociology course that asked students to list their various racial and gender identities, and that named institutions like family and religion as oppressive. A Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio, Jane Timken, said that during a listening tour of the state, she had heard a parent object that second-graders were made to draw pictures of themselves as a different race.

    Republicans’ attacks on critical race theory are in sync with the party’s broad strategy to run on culture-war issues in the 2022 midterm elections, rather than campaigning head-on against Mr. Biden’s economic agenda — which has proved popular with voters — as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

    Oh, and in case you were wondering:

    Sen. Rand Paul is weighing in on the increasingly crowded GOP Senate primary field in Ohio in the 2022 race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

    Fox News has learned that the two-term, libertarian-minded senator from Kentucky and 2016 Republican presidential contender is endorsing Cleveland businessman and 2018 Ohio Republican Senate candidate Mike Gibbons.

    “Mike Gibbons is a liberty minded, fiscal and constitutional conservative who will stand up for our Bill of Rights and to stop our endless wars. Mike will fight the radical liberal policies being pushed by the Biden Administration by championing smaller, limited government principles in D.C.,” Paul highlighted in an endorsement statement.

    Here’s Gibbons big game plan to win the GOP primary:

    Cleveland-based investment banker Mike Gibbons, who entered the race in mid-April, is taking a different approach. While he says he supported the former president’s policies, he claims the race is about more than Trump. “I am a Trump supporter, but I’m not into the cult of personality,” Gibbons told Jewish Insider in a recent interview. “If he wouldn’t have done what he did when he was in there, I wouldn’t have supported him. It’s not about Donald Trump, it’s about America.”

    That posture, however genuine, may also be a form of self-protection. Gibbons first ran for Senate in Ohio’s 2018 Republican primary, losing by nearly 16 points to former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), who went on to lose the general election to incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Despite having served on Trump’s 2016 campaign, Gibbons failed to earn the former president’s endorsement. “I was Ohio finance co-chair in his campaign, and he didn’t even know it,” Gibbons griped. “He was never told.”

    This time around, the 69-year-old GOP hopeful seems guarded on the subject of an endorsement. “If he wants to endorse me, that’s fine,” Gibbons said of Trump. “I think it’s a shame that an endorsement should mean that much. But generally, what I do is when all these people are fighting about how Trumpy they are, I just kind of say, here’s my business card from the ’16 election. I was his co-chair, I raised a lot of money for him, I gave a large amount of money, and I support his policies, period.”

    And then there’s clown:

    Conservative author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance has emerged as an “X-factor” in the Ohio Senate race as he considers bringing his name recognition and deep pockets to the already crowded Republican primary.

    Vance, the author of the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy,” has drawn attention from Democrats and Republicans alike in recent weeks, having launched an exploratory committee for a Senate run earlier this month. Meanwhile, super PAC Protect Ohio Values is pushing Vance to pursue a run. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, a noted backer of former President Trump, donated $10 million to the PAC in March.

    While some in Ohio have expressed skepticism about his candidacy, others note that should he run, Vance would start with an undeniable edge.

    “Any candidate who starts out with a $10 million super PAC behind him is someone who cannot be ignored,” said veteran Ohio Republican strategist Mark Weaver.

    Friendly reminder, Vance is a fake populist:

    This is, of course, the Trump culture-war playbook. Vance carps on Twitter about the phrases “woman of color,” “cisgender,” and “intersectional,” and about critical race theory. None of this has any salience to the 2022 Senate election in Ohio. Vance decries college athletes who wear masks (“totally insane”) and then, after an Ohio reporter tweets about it, calls it “fake news.” Vance is even mimicking Trump’s weird use of capital letters (the New York attorney general’s prosecution of the former president, for instance, is “a threat to Our Democracy”).

    At his most hypocritical, Vance, a millionaire banker who’s been affiliated with at least three venture capital firms, is aligning himself with the GOP’s war on woke capitalism. “Establishment Republican apologies for our oligarchy,” Vance tweeted in April, “should always come with the following disclaimer: “Big Tech pays my salary.” Never mind that Vance has worked for tech moguls Steve Case and Peter Thiel, and that one month earlier, Thiel put $10 million into a SuperPac supporting Vance’s yet-unannounced Senate candidacy. (The Mercers have also reportedly contributed.)

    A principal target for GOP opponents of woke capital, Vance suggests, should be capital held by nonprofits like Harvard and the Ford Foundation “that are destroying our country.” In a speech earlier this month before the conservative Claremont Institute, Vance said, “All across the country we have nonprofits, big foundations, that are effectively social justice hedge funds.” They should be forced to pay tax and to pay down more of their endowments, he said. Vance probably meant Yale, too, but mentioning Old Eli would risk reminding people that in 2013 Yale handed him a Juris Doctor.

    Will working-class Ohio voters fall for this? They fell for Trump, twice, and the 2022 primary is already shaping up into a competition for who can show the greatest devotion to the Trump cult. If he wins the primary, Vance may find some crossover appeal among people who remember the book fondly, or the 2020 film adaptation (which, while no masterpiece, was better than its terrible reviews). As late as April 9, Clarence Page of The Chicago Tribune, an alumnus of the same Ohio high school as Vance, wrote that he wished Vance well. Five years ago, I might have said the same. But Vance’s latest transformation is more than I can stomach. He’s become an Appalachian Sammy Glick.

    Now if you want a lesson on how to really go viral, U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Tim Ryan (D. OH) knows how to go viral:

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    A video of Representative Tim Ryan passionately criticizing Republicans for opposing a commission to investigate the Capitol riot has now been viewed more than 3 million times.

    Ryan, a Democrat who represents Ohio’s 13th congressional district, spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday and blasted GOP members who were opposing the bill to set up a 9/11 style commission.

    A video of Ryan’s remarks shared on Twitter had been viewed 3.3 million times at the time of writing. The House passed the bill by a vote of 252 to 175 with 35 Republicans voting in favor.

    Ryan’s running a real pro-worker populist campaign:

    Speaking at the steelworkers union hall on Mohican Street in Shelby, the Niles congressman said his campaign is about putting American workers “front and center” and resuscitating the working and middle classes.

    Ryan, calling the union hall home, said he comes from a working class and union family.

    “My mom was AFSCME, my grandmother was AFSCME, my uncles and cousins were all building construction trade unionists,” Ryan said, referring to the trade union.

    He argued that working more than five days a week or multiple jobs shouldn’t be what Americans have to do to make ends meet.

    “I’m running because it’s time that this country remembers your hard work,” Ryan said. “And I don’t care what your job is. If you’re out there busting your rear end to try to make ends meet for you and your family, to try to contribute to society, you should have some breathing room.”

    He argued that working more than five days a week or multiple jobs shouldn’t be what Americans have to do to make ends meet.

    “I’m running because it’s time that this country remembers your hard work,” Ryan said. “And I don’t care what your job is. If you’re out there busting your rear end to try to make ends meet for you and your family, to try to contribute to society, you should have some breathing room.”

    During his 10-minute speech, Ryan said the United States is at an inflection point, and the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to “hit the reset button” and change the status quo.

    “You’re not going to get two bites of the apple coming out of this thing,” he cautioned. “It’s going to be one. One bite to reset the politics and the economic positioning of the middle class in the United States.”

    Ryan toured ArcelorMittal Shelby after his speech.

     

    And I am liking this:

    Congressman Tim Ryan is calling on his colleagues to pass legislation that would lower prescription drug prices.

    Ryan supports the Lower Drug Costs Now Act that would give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug costs, which advocates say is the most effective way to bring drug prices down.

    Lourdes Barroso de Padilla spoke with Ryan during a press conference about her experiences with drug costs. Her sister is 58 years old and suffers from severe diabetes. Barroso de Padilla says drug costs put unnecessary pressure on chronically ill people and their families.

    Let’s defeat Trumpism everywhere this year and next year and expand our Senate Majority. Click below to donate and get involved with Ryan and his fellow Ohio Democrats campaigns:

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