On Monday, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio faced off against lowest common denominator Republican contender J.D. Vance in a debate. The debate between the two Senate candidates ranged from immigration to public health issues of addiction. A couple of days ago, The New York Times put out a piece investigating the short history of Vance’s “nonprofit,” Our Ohio Renewal. The piece really laid bare how odious the whole thing was: raising very little, giving even less, and fizzling out just in time for Vance to take the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.
What Vance championed as his hands-on approach to helping deal with the public health issues of addiction in Ohio included mostly spending money on nonprofit personnel like Dr. Sally Satel, best known for being the oft-cited addiction specialist with unseemly connections to Oxycontin producer Perdue Pharma. As Vance’s campaign flounders, Monday night’s debate offered up a chance to go on the GOP offensive and attack Ryan while not offering up any meaningful solutions to the problems, fictional and non-fictional, that Vance can string together into sentences.
Luckily, Ryan has truth on his side—specifically, Ryan has the truth that Vance is a bamboozler like the rest of his political party. In one memorable exchange, Ryan shut down Vance’s blathering series of falsehood attacks by pointing out that the one pretend thing Vance did for Ohioans wasn’t even real, and at best only served Vance: “You know what I haven't done? I didn't start a fake nonprofit pretending like I was going to help people with addiction like J.D. Vance did.”
It got better from there.
Ryan launched into what the kids might call the facts. “Literally started a nonprofit and didn't spend one nickel on anybody. In fact, he brought in somebody from Purdue Pharma to be the spokesperson for the nonprofit, the same drug company, Big Pharma. The big drug company that had all the pill mills going. Got everybody addicted. One million people died, J.D. One million people died. And you started a nonprofit to try to take advantage of people in Ohio. And you know what? All you did with it was launch your political career.” Was Ryan done? No he wasn’t.
“His campaign manager worked for that nonprofit. He ran a poll to check his own standing from that nonprofit. I'm not going to take a back seat to you or anybody else on fentanyl drugs or immigration or anything else.” And finally, Ryan brought it home.
“What kind of man would start a fake nonprofit to deal with addiction and not spend any money on it?”
This is one of the reasons why Republicans, who should have had a runaway victory in Ohio based on historic trends, are struggling to retain their footing. Fingers crossed that these polls hold next month.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Ryan's current office and has been corrected.
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