“To me all of this is about, whose side are you on?" Senator Sherrod Brown told AlterNet. It's something he says a lot, whether it's about foreclosures or his home state of Ohio's recent attacks on public workers. In the senator's raspy voice it carries echoes of the old labor song, “Which Side Are You On?”
But when he's talking about the $15 million (and counting) that's been spent against him so far this election year, it carries new weight. It doesn't pay, after all, to be on the side of the workers. The big money's on the side of the bankers, the businessmen who've outsourced Ohio jobs and want to keep doing so, the union-busters who tried (and failed) to take away public employees' right to collective bargaining. It's on the side of 34-year-old Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican who wants to take Brown's job from him after serving less than two years in statewide office.
Brown's race has become emblematic of post- Citizens United politics, with articles aplenty about the money the Right has spent to try to knock him out of his spot. Republicans want to retake the Senate, dreaming of a Congress where they can actually push anti-abortion legislation and one of the 33 attempts at repealing Obamacare all the way to the president's desk. And since Ohio is a swing state, outsider issue ads do double duty, whacking Obama and Brown at once and hoping to elect a president who will sign those bills into law.