A defense of Ron Johnson’s amateur candidacy blames the gaffes, from sunspots to the practices of his subsidized business, on Johnson’s relatively recent entrance into the race. The “outsider, politics-as-unusual” image is supposed to be an asset to Johnson. It is not.
At this point in an election, a candidate should know the ropes. A candidate should talk to the press. Ron Johnson does not.
At this point we should have clear information about Johnson’s policy positions. Instead Ron Johnson for Senate, Inc. has been spending big money on campaign ads touting nothing but fluff.
Republican primary opponent Dave Westlake compares Johnson’s uninspired candidacy to “refusing to show up to the [job] interview” and takes a well-earned shot at the anointed (R), saying “strong candidates welcome debate.”
Remember, Dave Westlake has been running since last summer. When the Democrats had yet to field a big-name gubernatorial candidate last fall, the Republican Party of Wisconsin attacked, as if a year before an election was the deadline to get on the ballot.
Last fall was six months before Ron Johnson’s political entrance at a Madison Tea Party, and seven months before he announced a Senate run.
The GOP picked Ron Johnson as the Party’s candidate out of nowhere this May because he’s rich. Their decision, but he cannot continue to play the “outsider” card and avoid substance until election day.
Both Republican candidates for Senate, Ron Johnson and Dave Westlake, are in the midst of a stumble over the Constitution, among other issues. Westlake recently penned an article for Red State laying out a “plan” to address illegal immigration. Westlake calls to “end the anchor baby program” then within a few paragraphs states the country needs “Constitutionally-based leadership.”
The “anchor baby program” (glossing over the derogatory nature of the term) is rooted in the right to citizenship presented in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. A “Constitutionally-based” leader would understand this concept.
Ron Johnson, who has read the Constitution “probably three, probably about five to six time” could be a subject of the recent Onion article “Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be” says the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, touting their hilarious Caption This Article Contest. Johnson deserves this treatment when he says a whole lot of dumb things, and then nothing at all.
Mr. Johnson finally released his personal financial disclosure last Friday, originally due June 10th. Speaking of hilarious, the day before the disclosure was released the campaign found the time to release Johnson’s charitable contributions. The hilarious part was buried at the bottom of that press release;
“The Johnson family plans to submit personal financial disclosure documents in accordance with rules of the United State Senate tomorrow.”
The rules say the documents were due last month, but Johnson needed an extension. The disclosure showed massive amounts of stock in BP held by Mr. Johnson, who earlier claimed the $20 billion escrow fund for victims of the spill was “not good for America.” The ordeal goes to show the America that Ron Johnson lives in is a much different America from that of the rest of us.
When the right-wingers who recently discovered the document start another ill-informed rant, remember Senator Feingold chairs the Subcommittee on the Constitution. He also didn’t have so much money to count he couldn’t file personal financial disclosures on time.
With this statement Terrence Wall officially dropped out of the GOP Senate race.
Notably absent from the statement is a mention (much less an endorsement) of any of his primary opponents.
Meanwhile with this press release the Republican Party of Wisconsin is oblivious to what looks more and more like the party handpicking its Senate candidate for the fall. You know, the thing they attacked the DPW for doing in the 7th congressional district?
Cognitive Dissidence has it on rumor that Terrence Wall is dropping out. Blogging Blue sums up what will likely soon be the conventional wisdom on the move, calling Wall and Johnson;
“Essentially the same kind of candidate (rich, well connected “job creators” with no experience as an elected official).”
I called Wall dropping out first, due to his general horrid candidacy (poor speaker, no ideas, couldn’t win Maple Bluff trustee, etc.) but Leinenkugel blew that one for me.
Assuming the Wall news is true, we’ll move on to what’s next. Westlake has never had much money to campaign on, so there is a good chance he will stay in through the primary. He has had a wealthy opponent since Wall announced his candidacy last September. While I don’t think he can beat Johnson’s money, Johnson won the RPW endorsement last weekend which brings me to this “although” from Blogging Blue;
It’ll be interesting to see how Johnson fares as the candidate of the GOP establishment in a year that certainly hasn’t been kind to establishment candidates (just ask Trey Grayson or Vaughn Ward).
The GOP base and the teabaggers (or the GOP base/teabaggers) really seem to like Ron Johnson. But here is another “although” — Delegates to the convention and primary voters are not interchangeable.
Questions for the next three months: Will Westlake and Johnson go after each other, or Feingold? Will Westlake have the funding to get his message out about either? And will Wisconsin voters look at Johnson as an “establishment candidate?”
Terrence Wall supports a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget for the federal government. He also uses his successful real estate firm as evidence his private sector experience qualifies him for a position in the United State Senate. The run-government-like-a-business slogan is popular among the GOP, but completely at odds with a balanced budget mandate.
Successful businesses often take out loans in order to expand. T. Wall properties did, though maybe at a reduced interest rate due to guarantees and investments by Wall’s father. Regardless, Wall should know running a business is expensive, and owners simply cannot afford to pay straight cash for everything immediately.
The stimulus was an investment in the business of America’s future. To stave off a much higher unemployment rate, money was pumped into the economy. Tying the hands of Congress with a balanced budget amendment could have resulted in economic collapse.
Even Dave Westlake knows a balanced budget amendment is a bad idea. It failed years ago. A balanced budget is a good thing, but we already have a senator doing a better job cutting wasteful spending than Terrence Wall ever could.
Republican US Senate hopeful Ron Johnson, the latest entrant into the GOP primary race is preparing a dirty campaign of misleading personal attacks, judging by the hiring of Darrin Schmitz. Schmitz is responsible for what may be the only Wisconsin campaign ad still causing controversy two years after airing — the Gableman campaign’s attack on Louis Butler, called a purposeful distortion by the Journal-Sentinel.
This purposeful distortion was on display in April at the Madison Tea Party, straight from Ron Johnson himself. Johnson ranted about lost freedom and not being covered by the mainstream media, while freely speaking and acknowledging friendly members of the mainstream media in the audience.
The tea party “movement” has never been very coherent or concerned with the truth. Now that they have their own candidate we can expect constant attacks on the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution’s knowledge of the Constitution, along with (of course) his disregard for it.
On the plus side, Feingold will get the opportunity to rerun the classic 1992 “mudslinging” ad this year (which I unfortunately cannot locate online), but with his old primary opponents replaced with present day GOP foes Terrence Wall and Ron Johnson.
Wall has run a dirty campaign of falsehoods from the start, and Leinenkugel followed suit. Ron Johnson’s Schmitz hire proves him shameless. Along with Dave Westlake they are going to say anything, truth-be-damned, to attack Feingold, all while simultaneously beating the hell out of each other. It’s going to be a long summer.
Filed under Courts, Politics
A lot of money from a lot of people — that’s Russ Feingold’s first quarter fundraising and cash on hand figures. The campaign has managed to put $4.26 million in the bank, $1.34 in the first quarter alone, with an average contribution of just $51. Good news for Wisconsin progressives.
Thing aren’t looking so good for the opposition, flip-flops abound.
A June 2007 In Business article by Terrence Wall sang the praises of a commuter rail project proposed by liberal Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who also received multiple campaign contributions from Wall. Meanwhile in this month’s IB Wall is ardently opposed to a rail project, partially due to the cost. Nevermind that Madison-Milwaukee high speed rail would be paid for by stimulus money, meant to put people back to work. There is more to the article, Wall makes some legitimate points that need a response but time is running short. Abridged explanation: Wall can’t support any rail project at this point, as the response of his party to any Democratic idea is “no.”
Tommy Thompson continues the flip-flop dance with his new partner being an exploratory committee. First Tommy for health care reform, then against it; for the stimulus (profiting from it), then against it. Now Will-he-Won’t-he Tommy appears ready to go ahead with the committee. Does he really want to run or just see his name in the papers? We’ll find out…in a couple months.
Dave Westlake hasn’t pulled a flip-flop since the sneaky reversal on campaign donations. Westlake is more interesting than flip-flops. This video released last week features Westlake saying he learned to “shoot a gun before learning how to ride a bike,” “children going to hunter’s safety classes have been demonized,” and finally “our second amendment rights have been eroded.” Westlake then rapidly fires seven rounds from a pistol before eying up the camera.
The problem is our second amendment rights are not being eroded. The Supreme Court threw out a decades-old handgun ban in Washington DC. The assault weapon ban expired in 2004 and Senator Feingold does not support a new one. Using “the-government-wants-to-take-your-guns” line is campaigning to the lowest common denominator and a shameful tactic.
Changing your mind is fine when done for a legitimate reason. Scrutinizing one’s position on an issue is not a weakness. However, changing a position to score political points is. Senator Feingold’s competition shifts their stance to stay in lockstep with the Republican party. Feingold votes to protect the people of Wisconsin.
More trash from Terrence Wall;
The La Crosse Tribune link from Wall is a letter to the editor containing lies about the health care law, from Rob Jesmer of Washington DC. Why is a citizen of Washington DC writing a letter to the La Crosse Tribune? Rob Jesmer is the Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the letter “refutes” a previous piece written by Senator Feingold for the paper.
So why is Terrence Wall linking to it? Wall almost exclusively links to writings containing dubious “facts,” but in recommending Jesmer’s letter Wall gets the added benefit of a shout out to the director of a committee that funds Republican Senate candidates. Wall is rich but he doesn’t want to waste all his money on a failed run for Senate. Of course the NRSC doesn’t want to waste their money on a failed Senate run either, leaving Wall with plenty more to do to prove himself worthy.
The real estate millionaire comes out swinging at new challenger Dick Leinenkugel (who also has problems). In a video released today the campaign questions Leinenkugel’s Republican credentials and associates the former Commerce Secretary with Governor Doyle and the high unemployment rate. Some nice animation and a cameo from Gary Coleman make it an enjoyable 45 seconds.
Jesmer’s letter was probably borne of frustration. He doesn’t have much to work with in Wisconsin. Dave Westlake’s candidacy still seems like a joke, with the blaze orange gimmick. Wall, despite his deep pockets is a terrible politician. Wall’s right about Dick Leinenkugel however, the man has a lot to answer for from Republicans after his stint as Doyle’s Commerce Secretary, but that doesn’t help Jesmer. Finally, Tommy won’t make up his mind until the state GOP convention at the end of May. With a field like that the director needs to blow off some steam, however misleadingly he may choose to do so.
Jesper’s letter managed to get one thing right — voters will hold Feingold accountable in November. Accountable for providing millions of Americans access to health care. Thank you Senator Feingold.
The DPW reports Dick Leinenkugel used a state telephone line as the contact for a website he registered Monday, leinenkugelforsenate.com. I doubt Leinenkugel was trying to campaign on the state’s dime, the action was more of a glaring oversight than anything. As xoff points out Leinenkugel isn’t even at that number anymore. Regardless, it doesn’t look good for the campaign.
More interesting is why exactly is Dick Leinenkugel running? Cory Liebmann poses three good questions, the first being who (if anyone) recruited Jim Doyle’s Secretary of Commerce, in charge of wrangling the hated stimulus money, to run for Senate as a Republican?
“Who knows? Maybe it could be big biz folks and/or Tommy loyalists that recruited him. Or maybe it was the national Republican big-wigs that have been so desperate to get a real candidate.”
Xoff predicted yesterday if Leinenkugel’s in, Tommy’s out of the Senate race. That’s a fair prediction, with either one running there would be two candidates with government experience in the race, although Tommy isn’t technically “in” the race (yet?).
Regardless of Is He In? Tommy’s decision, I’m guessing Terrence Wall will drop out first. I believe Dave Westlake when he says he’s in it until the end even if Tommy runs, mostly because he’s never had much of a chance to begin with and is still sticking it out. Terrence Wall said the same thing, but of course a candidate won’t acknowledge dropping out if a potential candidate enters.
Wall says he talks to Thompson once a month. That relationship alone tells me that a man who has never won an election in his life would drop out if an acquaintance and seasoned politician stepped in. More importantly, Wall’s campaign has been nothing short of embarrassing. Three prominent Milwaukee right-wing radio show hosts gave his candidacy three thumbs down. His Twitter feed is a diagram for being out of touch with regular people. Wall has dropped at least $275,000 into his campaign so far. He will need to either spend more in the fruitless pursuit of a Senate seat, or cut his losses and go back to the real estate business he is actually good at.
I think things look pretty good for Feingold.
A Public Policy Polling poll shows Russ Feingold leading wishy-washy Tommy Thompson 47-44. PPP is a Dem affiliated firm with a fairly accurate record. But the big number from the poll is not the above figure, nor is it Feingold-Wall (48-34) or Feingold-Westlake (48-31).
The big number is 1%. That is the favorable opinion of Washington lobbyists, according to Wisconsin voters.
Tommy Thompson has spent the last five years as essentially a lobbyist in Washington. I doubt most Wisconsin voters even remember he was tapped by George W. Bush to be Secretary of Health and Human Services back in 2001, leaving the Governor’s Mansion mid-term. I am positive even less are aware of his current career. If Thompson declares his candidacy Wisconsin voters will know all about Tommy’s latest job as a power-broker for dozens of big business interests.
Before he was a maybe-candidate Thompson supported health care reform. Both potential opponents in a primary have pledged to repeal reform. WWTD? An apparent flip-flop.
Now a contrast. While Tommy was making millions taking special interests on as clients, Russ Feingold was taking them on for you.
His recent earmark cancellation amendment could save $478 million this year. His votes for health care and jobs have Wisconsin’s best interests in mind, not a corporation or his pocketbook. Remember, it’s “a lot of people in Washington” that want Thompson to run for Senate.
Stick to the private sector Tommy. Your pocketbook and the citizens of Wisconsin will both be better off. We want a senator that represents more than 1% of us.