The Weakest Ad in the History of Politics: Sherrod Brown’s attack on Jim Renacci’s hard work speaks of how tight the race really is

I’ve met Don Ksiezyk a few times and I love the guy. He’s a good person, and he’s smart. You generally have to be smart to be a pilot and he and I stood in the cold together last January waiting for Donald Trump and Jim Renacci to arrive at Lunkin Airport in Cincinnati. It took a while for the President to arrive on Air Force One so in that duration Don told me everything I’d ever need to know about airspace controls during Presidential flights. Congressman Jim Renacci had just been picked by Donald Trump to take on Sherrod Brown, the liberal senator from Ohio so the congressman was riding with Trump on this particular trip back from Washington giving Don a much-needed break. Usually when Renacci travels back to Ohio Don flies him on a private plane allowing the senatorial challenger to do his work in Washington while also doing work in his home district, which gave him the added ability to also be able to challenge that senate seat with the versatility of transportation to get back and forth. Private plane air travel costs about $2500 dollars per hour to operate, so it helps to know someone who can bring those costs down. And at a recent debate in Miami University Jim Renacci had hit Sherrod Brown so hard on multiple topics the only thing the liberal senator from Ohio could think to do was to criticize Renacci’s frequent travel by private plane trying to frame the situation as a rich man out of touch with the common people of the “middle class.”

But that didn’t work, people really didn’t care. Polls showed that Renacci was catching Brown quickly closing the gap in a frightening way for Democrats and early voting numbers for Republicans were even scarier. So Sherrod Brown had to dig deep and try a cheap shot to stay alive in order to hold his seat. So he ran a campaign ad picking on good ol’ Don Ksiezyk, Renacci’s pilot and confidant. That’s when you know the Democrats were out of bullets, because they had nothing else. Renacci hammered Brown on his lack of attention to the state of Ohio loving Washington D.C. much more than his home state, so Brown had no defense but to attack Renacci’s versatility in transportation.

The nature of the controversy was that Don was the owner of a couple of strip clubs in Cleveland, Ohio and that the plane in question was owned by Ksiezyk and American Nightlife Magazine. The hook they are trying to pin on Renacci from the Brown campaign is that the Republican challenger is a “family values” candidate so in theory Renacci is supposed to never affiliate himself with people who might call that into question. But deeper than that is the Brown hatred of money, wealth and industry, and strip clubs are a business like anything else. They are certainly much more progressive than traditional businesses, but young people don’t often get that wisdom until later in life, and when they do they are better people for it. When I met Don I saw a person who had made good with his life. Here he was a pilot for an important congressman, a man who had climbed some mountains in life, and like all good Christian people, Jim sees the person who has become something in life, not a person who lived at a lower level before. Some people never step away from those low-level places, but some people work to improve themselves, and Don is clearly one of those people.

Yet there is a vast hypocrisy at work here and its Jim Renacci who brought it up. Many years ago, over thirty years Sherrod Brown had a domestic violence case against him that was chronicled in court documents that went so far that he had to have a restraining order cast against him. Renacci has brought up that issue in the last three debates and ran ads exposing it, yet the same liberals who demanded that Brett Kavanaugh step down from his Supreme Court nomination do to a mere allegation by a few women about something that might have happened in high school, where applauding Sherrod Brown for telling Renacci to apologize for bringing up his old case as a campaign issue. The double standard was obvious, but Renacci really exposed it during the debates leaving Brown to turn to desperation. So right after the Miami debate the Brown campaign decided to attempt to paint Jim Renacci as a millionaire who flies around in private jets. Additionally, the pilot who flies Renacci around is a former strip club owner—so talking out of both sides of his mouth Sherrod Brown wanted to go after the pilot of a person Renacci knows yet Renacci wasn’t supposed to go into Brown’s past on an actual court documented problem. Doesn’t this tell the whole story?

Sherrod Brown out of desperation is trying to make a big deal about someone Jim Renacci knows who did things in his past that were not up to the moral standard of a family first Republican, but those same standards are not supposed to be applied to Brown. Yet the real target is to attack the whole corporate jet culture, which implies that successful people are not to be trusted, only big government types like Sherrod Brown. This is to fulfil the fantasy that Democrats like Brown have about economic activity. Brown wants to believe that economies are created from the inside out while reality says that its job creators who create and let the effects trickle down into the rest of society. Even a business like a strip club does more for a successful economy than a typical government job because the wealth creation is empowering, its empowering even for the women who work there and for the companies that provide concessions. So it is the subtle attack of many issues that Sherrod Brown is after here which are directly hypocritical to his own problems.

If the Brown ad against Renacci is to be considered than the domestic abuse case against Sherrod Brown is a huge issue in this campaign. Democrats can’t have it both ways. And if Jim Renacci owes Sherrod Brown an apology for bringing up the domestic violence problem, then Brown owes Don an apology. After all, Don Ksiezyk was an employer, he created jobs. Donald Trump used to run beauty pageants, and he also ran casinos, all businesses that I’d equate to running strip clubs. But people can and do improve over time and their decisions get better. That is certainly the case with Donald Trump who is now a great president and Don Ksiezyk is now a great pilot for a powerful Washington politician who needs to get around quickly. If you are a successful person flying commercial just takes too long, in the amount of time that it takes to get through security at a typical airport, a guy like Renacci with his great pilot Don can get back to Ohio and back to Washington often before the commercial flier gets on their plane.

Smart people who can avoid commercial travel utilize their time better by having such access to private planes and it’s a huge credit to Jim Renacci that he does. He is lucky to have a great pilot who is dedicated to the Renacci campaign in Don Ksiezyk who can get him all over the state and still do his work in Washington while Sherrod Brown has been left in the dust. The real issue in this Ohio senatorial campaign is that Jim Renacci simply outworked Sherrod Brown and it was Don Ksiezyk who helped make it possible. Brown is jealous and feeling the heat of a tight campaign, and all he knows to do is to try to demonize wealth creators. Jim Renacci worked hard to win the Ohio U.S. Senate seat that Sherrod Brown has held for three terms and Brown got caught taking things for granted, so he’s mad and using all kinds of hypocrisies to articulate his essential laziness, and misunderstandings of economic theory. That is one of the many reasons that Jim Renacci should win that seat. And for the record, Don Ksiezyk is a very good man.

Rich Hoffman

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