Regarding Russ Feingold, RoJo and Milwaukee newspaper both hooked on drug metaphors

Separated at birth: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial writers and Sen. Ron Johnson. At least it looked that way reading Sunday's newspaper. Note the oddly similar constructions in the news pages and the editorial pages regarding former Sen. Russ Feingold's decision to run against Johnson next fall (boldfacing added):

1. News story: "Russ Feingold is a career politician," Johnson said in his speech. "He's addicted to it... ."

2. Journal Sentinel editorial: "Russ Feingold is back, which at the very least will delight political junkies... ."

Yup. The campaign hardly has begun and the Journal Sentinel editors already are channeling Johnson's rhetoric. Feingold is just a drug head, suggests RoJo. And so, the newspaper itself promptly suggests, are Feingold's followers.

Were these paired allusions just coincidence? Probably. But that ultimately doesn't matter. What matters is the roughshod diminuation and marginalization of a credible, experienced candidate for public office before he even gets started.

The Feingold camp criticized Johnson's comment as more of his "disappointing and divisive" style. The same could be said of the Journal Sentinel's casual use of similar rhetoric, which implies that "political junkies" tend to come from the leftward side of the political spectrum. After all, conservatives heavy into politics arguably aren't "delighted" with Feingold's re-entry into the electoral arena after a six-year hiatus.

In both cases it's over-the-top rhetoric. After all, Johnson seems prepared to seek his second six-year term, which hardly qualifies him as somehow disinterested in political power, although his evident lack of interest in serious and sensible public policy surely will be an issue. Yet we're to believe it's not him but his returning opponent who's allegedly obsessed?

Or do you think "addiction" and "junkies" are words something other than pejoratives?

Feingold has a solid record of pursuing strong legislation that serves average citizens of this state and the nation. Moreover, he succeeded in passing important bipartisan legislative measures. Johnson arguably is the least bipartisan-minded senator this state has elected in decades. Politicians obsessed with power don't often look across the aisle to find consensus.

But if the voters go with Feingold and dump Johnson, maybe afterward we'll be told just how hooked and addicted they are, too.


May 17, 2015 - 10:56pm