The List: Places in Columbus we would put Josh Mandel if he were a statue
Including Faulkner Painting, the lobby of a bank, Yats Grandview and more
Earlier this week, Josh Mandel, who is running in the Republican primary to replace outgoing Sen. Rob Portman, um, “celebrated” Columbus Day by filming himself standing outside of City Hall in the spot where a statue of Christopher Columbus previously stood.
“The reason the Christopher Columbus statue is no longer here is because you have a bunch of thugs from Antifa and these crazy groups who vandalized it,” Mandel says, barely audible over the combined sounds of the wind and passing traffic. (Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but the statue was removed under the order of Mayor Andrew Ginther, and not due to vandalism or Antifa or any other right-wing buzzword.)
The video is just the latest of Mandel’s entries into “owning the libs,” a foundation upon which the candidate has built his campaign, forgoing policy proposals in favor of trolling Twitter lefties. (See: “Police are the good guys. Colin Kaepernick is the bad guy,” which is aimed not at Ohio voters but liberal Twitter, designed to inspire tweet-quotes from blue checks as a way of buffing his national conservative bona fides.)
But this latest video did get us thinking: If Mandel were a statue, where in Columbus would he stand? Here are just a few thoughts.
In a restaurant struggling to survive COVID, next to a clearly uncomfortable employee
This image has been a running theme of his campaign, with Mandel photographing himself next to random restaurant employees who generally look as if they would rather be anywhere else, the picture generally accompanied by some statement about how the business is struggling because nobody wants to work anymore.
On occasion, this has even caused the restaurants harm, such as the time that Mandel praised an employee at Inside the Five brewery for working while sick, which led to a wave of online backlash and the business releasing a statement that, no, it does not actually condone its servers working while under the weather amid a pandemic.
“We didn't ask for this," co-owner Chris Morris said in an interview amid the backlash, during which he reiterated that the brewery takes both its employees’ health and COVID seriously. "We definitely didn't ask him to come in and do this."
In the fairy garden at Franklin Park Conservatory
Every fairy garden needs a troll, and Mandel’s online presence makes him perfect for the part.
Outside of Yats Grandview
At times, Mandel, who grew up outside of Cleveland in Beachwood, has been known to audition a fake Southern accent, so why not position him outside of a Southern restaurant somewhere in the North?
At Faulkner Painting
Whitehall resident Troy Faulkner was filmed kicking in and breaking a window at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection while wearing a jacket advertising his business, Faulkner Painting. Mandel, meanwhile, has repeated without evidence that the vote was stolen from Donald Trump, who lost the presidency in a free and fair election, and has even gone so far as to blame the insurrection on “liberal forces” funded by George Soros.
Near any fire hydrant
In case anyone gets inspired by the statue to follow Mandel's lead and burn a mask.
In a bank lobby
It wasn't until after he left the treasurer’s office that Mandel truly cashed in, quadrupling his income by serving on the board with a bank, an insurance agency and a pair of financial service companies. In 2020, according to Cleveland.com, Mandel raked in $397,000, “almost all of which came from serving on corporate boards with Capital Community Bank, Athene Insurance, Schear Financial Services and Legal Business Services.”
At an underground cock fighting venue
In December 2009 the Ohio House voted 79-19 in favor of making cock fighting a felony (it had been a fourth-degree misdemeanor up to that point). Mandel was one of the 19 “no” votes.
Standing next to Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich
Rather than distancing himself from Pizzagate-peddling Twitter personalities Posobiec and Cernovich, a man who once claimed “date rape does not exist,” Mandel has continued to cozy up with the pair, once posting to Twitter, “I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec."
Somewhere well ahead of J.D. Vance
Despite all of this, internal polls released in September showed Mandel ahead of the rest of the Republican field, including Peter Thiel-funded bootstrap advocate J.D. Vance, who continues to trade in the same type of online trolling as his competitor, but with far less success, which is both sad and also kind of funny.
It’s already where he lives anyway.