Paddy tells us what we already knew; that Johnson often seems clueless in public, as if he was too shy when out of his element to observe the social niceties.
So there was Ron Johnson, running for U.S. Senate, touring Joy Global's
P&H mining equipment factory on National Ave. in July and not doing what
candidates are supposed to do.
Paddy presents Johnson as some sort of benighted savant in corporate America rather than a man who has walked a plant floor since 1979 when he was taken into his in-laws' business.
The tour passes a gear five feet in diameter. He touches it, naturally,
though it casts no ballots.
It's almost as if he expects Johnson to coo at the wonder of the big casting.
Remember that movie cast game from The National Lampoon? They listed Hollywood actors in the format of You Want___, You'll Settle For____, You Get____ as in You Want Sylvester Stallone, You'll Settle For Jason Statham, You Get Vin Diesel. P-Mac plays the WisGOP version and Johnson gets cast as the bottom of the barrel.
Republicans hoped that Wisconsin's most masterful politician in 30
years, Tommy Thompson, would take on 18-year incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold this vulnerable year. They nearly got Terry Wall, a businessman with political
Instead, they're likely to get Johnson, an Oshkosh plastics
manufacturer with almost no engagement with politics until last fall (provided
he beats underfunded Watertown businessman Dave Westlake in the
P-Mac glosses over the fact that the Republicans pissed all over T-Wall in a race to distance themselves from him trying to get to Johnson's wallet. That Westlake has had a consistent message without the gaffe-fest of Johnson means little because he commits the Republican sin of penury. Paddy also neglects to mention the abortive candidacy of Dick Leinenkuegel, a seasoned politician elbowed aside in the rush to find a candidate who was absolutely unqualified for high office.
Paddy Mac makes excuses for Johnson without question.
Which means he's got to brush up quickly on other issues, too. Feingold's
surrogates have claimed Johnson is being heavily handled, filled with talking
points on what the senator repeatedly insists are "extreme" positions. Yet
Johnson freely confesses to his own beginner mistakes, such as saying
"licensing" when he meant "permits" in an interview on guns.
Never mind that he said "licensing" in the context of automobiles. He backtracked on the Great Lakes oil question by saying he never heard the question. He waffled on selling his BP stock, saying he'd sell when the market was back up and ignoring the reason that Badgers of good will might want him divested. His latest whopper is that sunspots are the cause of Global Climate Change and that cars help the trees grow. These are not stories of a political innocent finding his way. This is a loose cannon rolling on the decks of the ship of state firing money bombs and faux pas at random.
McIlheran goes on to tell us:
He dismisses talk about changing birthright citizenship, cautiously lauds
the drawdown in Iraq, says Republicans "went off the rails" with overspending
and says "the way you raise revenue is you get the economy going again" rather
than raising taxes.
All good positions taken years ago by Johnson's opponent, Russ Feingold.
Paddy Mac ends his paean to unpreparedness with an elegiac image.
He elaborates on answers, lacking the talking-point caution customary to
candidates. You can see he's been thinking about this stuff lately, an
intellectually curious man who spent the summer learning about trade by touching
gears, thinking about how his principles apply to politics.
I'm guessing that a self-funded candidate who managed to scare off the deep pockets of a Wall and Leinenkuegel didn't learn about trade by touching gears this week. It does make sense though, that McIlheran would find inspiration in a man ill-prepared to do the job he seeks. That CV has served him well since the JS promoted him to writing fluff like this.
How about this course for the Simple Candidate. Talk to someone other than conservatives. Dave Westlake has been pounding the pavement for a year talking to conservatives, liberals and non-political groups. All he gets for his trouble and loyalty is McIheran's scorn.
Next, debate your opponent. You've scared off all the serious candiddates save one. Stand up like a man and debate him in front of a public audience. Enough star chambers and command performances for the priveleged few.
Third and last, say what you mean. Stand by it. Own up when you foul up and don't hang around with hacks like P-Mac. He's not helping you, either.