Among small government proponents he’s wildly popular, but Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel is taking flak from his liberally-minded cousins who took out a full-page newspaper ad to air the family's proverbial dirty laundry in public. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
Ohio Republican Senate hopeful Josh Mandel married into one of Ohio's most wealthiest and most prominent Jewish families. But they're also mostly Democrats -- and some haven't been too keen on his Senate candidacy against liberal stalwart Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Now some of Mandel's cousins-in-law have taken out an ad in the Cleveland Jewish News rebuking him for his opposition to same-sex marriage and to gays serving openly in the military. In their open letter, the cousins note that one of their family members has a same-sex spouse and, like Mandel, has served in the military.
The cousins write in their open letter published Friday:
Four years ago you came into our family. We still remember the excitement surrounding your wedding, and how happy our family members were as they described it afterwards. So we were deeply saddened when you announced during your October 18th debate with Senator Sherrod Brown that you believe only some people should share this right to marry the person they love, while others should not.
Your cousins, Ellen Ratner and Cholene Espinoza, are among the many wonderful couples whose rights you do not recognize. They were married almost eight years ago in Massachusetts, at a time when it was the only state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. Their wedding, like yours, was a beautiful and happy occasion for all of us in our family. It hurts us that you would embrace discrimination against them and countless other loving couples in Ohio and around the country.
We are equally distressed by your belief that gay men and women should not be allowed to serve openly in the military. Like you, Cholene spent many years in the armed forces. A graduate of the Air Force Academy and an accomplished pilot, she became the second woman in history to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane. And yet, you have argued that she, like many gay and lesbian soldiers, should be forced to live a life of secrecy and lies.
Mandel’s cousins-in-law accuse their Republican relative of bigotry and appear to talk down to the 35-year-old Marine veteran and Ohio state treasurer, writing that his “discriminatory stance violates these core values of our family. Nevertheless we hope that over time, as you advance in years and wisdom, you will come to embrace the values of inclusiveness and equality as well.”
JTA provides more biographical information on the well-heeled relatives, some of whom are New Yorkers “including Bruce Ratner, developer of the new Brooklyn Nets arena; Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Elizabeth Ratner, a journalist and critic of Israel.”
Glenn Beck interviewed Mandel on his radio show Friday, where Mandel expressed his belief that the federal budget needs “aggressive cuts.” He said that unlike many other Republicans, he would also consider cuts in military spending. He told Beck, "I’m a proud full spectrum conservative. While I am a Republican, I’m a conservative first and I’m a constitutional conservative and in Washington some of the Republicans are oftentimes just as much a problem as some of the Democrats."
Regarding those Democrats to whom he’s related, Mandel spokesman Travis Considine told the Columbus Dispatch, "Josh has never met any of those 'cousins' who signed that letter and has no idea who they are. He looks forward to having the opportunity to meet them someday -- if they ever come to Ohio." The spokesman further said that the signatories are not "the Ratners from Cleveland," don’t live in Ohio and didn’t attend Mandel's wedding in Israel.