Russ Feingold has been in an inexplicably tough race with Ron Johnson for the Wisconsin junior Senate seat. But the more Ron Johnson opens his mouth, the clearer it is that Johnson's campaign is built on a single idea and it isn't benefiting most Wisconsin citizens.
Wisconsin residents are exceptionally lucky that the statewide unemployment rate is lower than the national average, so perhaps it wasn't as high a priority for Republican challenger Ron Johnson to form a coherent jobs plan. In this meeting with the editorial board of the Green Bay Press Gazette, Johnson was asked about his plan to bring more jobs to Wisconsin and he shifted to the standard talking points of cutting spending. When it was pointed out to him that he had yet to speak to jobs specifically, Johnson's response was to merely shrug it off, an ironic gesture from a man whose self-styled campaign was to insist as a successful business man, he knew how to create jobs.
As Steve Benen says, Johnson is extremely lucky he's being overshadowed by other extremist candidates. That's why his casual dismissal of his lack of jobs and his rather frightening plans for America don't get noticed.
In a typical year, Johnson's bizarre, misguided worldview would be a pretty major national story. The chattering class would marvel at questions like, "Would Wisconsin really elect a far-right radical to the U.S. Senate?" But this isn't a typical year, and unhinged candidates like Angle, Paul, O'Donnell, Miller, and Buck have garnered enough attention that Johnson can run in relative anonymity outside his home state.
This week, Politico's Jim VandeHei reported from Wisconsin on the significance of the Senate race pitting Johnson against Sen. Russ Feingold (D), and the GOP candidate reflected a bit on his future plans.
[...][H]e watches his words, ignoring the fact that he's already making the trade-offs conventional politicians make to win office. It will be different once and if he wins, he promises. Then, his true feelings can take voice. [emphasis added]
Is that so. Vote for Johnson in November and then voters will get to see what he's all about. Call me old fashioned, but that sounds backwards.
Elsewhere in the Politico piece, VandeHei asked what kind of innovative ideas Johnson might pursue as a U.S. senator. Johnson skipped right past substantive issues, and committed himself to a "re-education of America."
Are you kidding me? Can you even imagine what the response would be if a liberal Democrat vowed to pursue a "re-education of America" if elected to the U.S. Senate?
After trailing the big money-backed Johnson for much of the race, Feingold has tied it up recently. Russ is too good a progressive candidate to lose to such an empty suit. You can still donate and help his campaign in these last two critical weeks and keep the momentum going.