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Opinion | ‘You Don’t Know Squat!’ and Other Signs of Our High-Minded Politics

The two best-known contenders there are Representative Conor Lamb and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Lamb won a big upset victory in a 2018 congressional election during which his opponent sneered that Lamb was “someone who’s young and idealistic, who still hopes he can change the world.” Which, at the time, I felt might go down as the most depressing political attack in modern history.

Fetterman is 6-foot-8, shaves his head, sports a goatee and has a well-documented habit of showing up for public events wearing baggy shorts; he once wore them at a visit to a bridge collapse — a wardrobe choice that was notable both because he was there to meet President Biden and because it was freezing.

On the Republican side, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who became famous as a health guru on Oprah Winfrey’s show, is running against about a trillion other hopefuls. The most prominent is David McCormick, who would probably like you to think of him as a former under secretary of the Treasury, rather than a former hedge fund C.E.O. who still needs to answer some questions about the Pennsylvania teachers’ retirement fund.

Oz, who’s been photographed kissing his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, got a rather muted comment from Winfrey, who responded to news of his candidacy by saying, staunchly, “One of the greatest things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office.” He may not have Oprah, but he has been endorsed by none other than Sean Hannity.

Ohio is going to have to pick somebody to succeed Senator Rob Portman, a Republican who ranked fairly high on the bipartisanship meter, at least by our current pathetic standards. The major Republican candidates are all desperately courting a Trump endorsement, so it’s likely that in the future we’re going to see less hands-across-the-table from Ohio and more stop-the-steal.

On the plus side, it’s been lively. During that recent debate, Gibbons rather grudgingly acknowledged that women were “probably” oppressed by being denied the right to vote but added that “there were not a lot of women that were in combat in World War I and World War II.”

Mandel’s campaign issues page starts right off with “Fighting for President Trump’s America First agenda.” Gibbons calls himself “Trump tough.” And Timken, the candidate who was endorsed by Portman, is now billing herself as “the real Trump conservative.”

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