Today, Johnson’s hometown newspaper called him out for refusing a debate in Oshkosh and for refusing to meet the paper and answer simple questions that deserve honest answers.
Put simply, the paper challenged Johnson to man up and he failed to do so.
The Oshkosh Northwestern’s Managing Editor, Jim Fitzhenry, asks a series of questions of Johnson, as well as Senator Feingold, and concludes by showing the difference between the two:
"What's the difference? I will be able to look Russ Feingold in the eye and hear his answer to those questions Monday afternoon when he visits The Northwestern's editorial board. Can't say the same for Johnson. His campaign turned down a request for a meeting with the board along with an invitation to debate Feingold at the Grand Opera House…
Johnson's campaign has been careful to keep him under tight wraps, limiting his availability, not releasing his schedule until the last moment, leaving news organizations scrambling to cover events…
Democracy won't suffer if Wisconsinites think long and hard, examine and re-examine the case for and against both candidates, and ultimately decide to retire Russ Feingold.
"Problem is, voters are not being allowed to see beyond the plastic packaging of Ron Johnson."
Johnson’s ducking and dodging has gone on a long time and has not gone unnoticed:
“Ron Johnson’s campaign didn’t make him available for questions.” - WBAY Green Bay, 7/30/10
“Ron Johnson, another Republican candidate, did not take questions from reporters.” - FOX 11 Green Bay, 7/30/10
“We’ve had twelve opportunities to debate Ron Johnson and he has turned down every single one of them. And that, I think is just unfair to the people of this state. The people of Wisconsin deserve to be able to hear both the candidates side by side…”- Dave Westlake to WISN’s Mike Gousha, 9/12/10
“Ron Johnson, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, indicated on Wednesday that he would not appear at a scheduled debate this Sunday on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/15/10
“…Johnson walked away from a group of reporters asking him about the number of debates he planned to attend.” - WTMJ, 9/15/10
“Johnson declined to speak with The Northwestern…”- Oshkosh Northwestern, 9/18/10
“Johnson was unavailable…”- WISN Milwaukee, 10/4/10
“His campaign did not respond to a request for an interview.”- Boston Globe, 10/5/10
When Johnson has been asked simple questions, he fails to offer honest answers:
“I’ll say just no opinion,” he replied when asked about Bush’s tenure as president. “He has his pluses and minuses.” – Politico, 7/6/10
“So where, exactly, would Johnson cut? Johnson’s ads don’t specify any programs. Neither does his web site, which offers up the usual generalities, such as ‘Unsustainable spending is a threat to our freedom’ — part of a vague four-paragraph statement on debt reduction and spending.” - Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 9/14/10
“Johnson has said the federal government is overspending the nation into unstable levels of debt and painted Feingold as being part of the problem. He has been vague about suggesting what he would do differently, though, saying in his ads the answer is to rely on “discipline, hard work and common sense.”- AP, 9/14/10
"I'm not going to get in the game here and, you know, start naming specific things (spending cuts) to be attacked about, quite honestly.”- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/24/10
When he has answered questions, his political handlers have sought to reinvent Johnson’s own words:
“Johnson has found himself explaining or modifying his statements on gun rights, global warming, selling BP stock, taking government aid for his company, and the business climate in China compared to the United States. He also got tangled up on the issue of drilling for oil in the Great Lakes. He left the first impression that he did not oppose it, before coming out aggressively against it as Feingold aired an ad on the subject.”- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/4/10
“Both Ron and the campaign have since clarified that Ron specifically opposes drilling in the Great Lakes.” - Johnson campaign press release, 7/13/10
“Johnson backpedals on gun licensing” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/10/10
“Johnson backs away from sunspot claim” - WKOW, 8/23/10
“The Johnson campaign quickly clarified that Johnson did not mean to imply that he himself believed China is better for business…”- Wisconsin State Journal, 9/7/10
“The Johnson camp later clarified its earlier statement…”- WTAQ, 10/6/10
“…a Johnson campaign spokeswoman…clarified her candidate's point.” - Appleton Post Crescent,10/6/10 “His spokeswoman later clarified his comment…”- Politico, 10/8/10
Last week, in a rare moment of candor from Johnson, he made perhaps the most telling comment of his entire campaign:
“It will be different once and if he wins, he promises. Then, his true feelings can take voice.” -Politico, 10/12/10
With 16 days until Election Day, when voters will make a very important choice between two very different candidates, one question remains – Will Wisconsin voters know Ron Johnson’s “true feelings” before or after the election?
Waukesha County, Republican pols failed to kill it.
The Calatrava Addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum
Sunset on the lakefront, summer 2018
Milwaukee River empties into Lake Michigan
Wisconsin wind farm, east of Waupun
86 turbines overcame Walker's blockade
Skylight illumination in Milwaukee City Hall
The historic 19th-century building has stone floors, copper decoration, and iron work by the famous artisan Cyril Kolnic. Stop in and walk around.
What water, wetland protection is all about
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.
Lake Michigan in winter
James Rowen's Bio
James Rowen is an independent writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He worked as the senior Mayoral staffer in Madison and Milwaukee and for newspapers in both cities. This blog began on 2/2/ 2007.