Dodging questions is hard


Ask the typical Republican policymaker for an opinion on President Obama’s rescue of the American auto industry, and you’ll get an earful about an “outrageous abuse” and the scourge of “bailouts.” It doesn’t matter that Obama’s policy worked better than expected – what matters is that the successful policy runs counter to the GOP’s ideology.

But Republican opposition isn’t universal. Republicans in Michigan, for example, tend to admit that the president made the right call and generally applaud the policy that helped hundreds of thousands of families in the Midwest.

Occasionally, though, we’ll find a conservative politician who just doesn’t want to take a side (via Dave Weigel).

In this clip, a reporter in Dayton asks U.S. Senate hopeful Josh Mandel (R) of Ohio whether he would have supported Obama’s rescue policy. “I will do everything I can as a United States Senator to protect auto jobs,” he replied.

Asked if he’s willing to answer the question, the Republican said, “We’ve talked quite a bit throughout the state of Ohio about all the great plans we have for protecting auto jobs here.” Pressed for a direct answer, Mandel responds, “Great seeing you.”

If the Senate candidate denounces Obama’s policy, Mandel condemns a rescue effort that help save Ohio’s economy at a time of severe crisis. If he endorses Obama’s policy, Mandel sides with the president he hates and is desperate to undermine.

So he’s left to clumsily dodge the question in a way that makes him appear rather foolish.

How long can Mandel seriously expect to keep this up? Quite a while, actually – the Republican has come this far without ever giving an opinion on Obama’s successful rescue policy.

If Mandel and his wealthy friends weren’t outspending Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) by such an enormous margin, it’s hard to imagine how this race would even be competitive.