Ron Johnson: I didn't say what I said | Wis.Community

Ron Johnson: I didn't say what I said

Or I wish I hadn't said it. Or if I said it I didn't mean it.  Or something like that.  From his press release complaining about Russ Feingold's TV commercial, contrasting his record with Johnson's on Great Lakes oil drilling:

Russ Feingold’s false attack is hinged to a response to a question about drilling that the Feingold campaign cites in their cynical claim that Ron Johnson is for drilling in the Great Lakes.  Ron was speaking to the greater reality that our nation needs to continue producing oil or risk further dependence on foreign oil.  Both Ron and the campaign have since clarified that Ron specifically opposes drilling in the Great Lakes.  The Feingold campaign is aware of it, yet chose to distort Ron’s position...

“Ron is a straight-forward businessman and not a politician, and was addressing the larger needs of oil production in America while referring to ANWR, where significant resources exist, for drilling,” Johnson said. “Ron does not support drilling in the Great Lakes, a currently illegal practice, and has made that point clear.”

Perhaps a refresher is in order:

When Johnson was asked "Would you support drilling like in the Great Lakes, for example, if there was oil found there?" Johnson said:

"Yeah. You know, the bottom line is that we are an oil-based economy. There’s nothing we’re going to do to get off of that for many, many years, so I think we have to just be realistic and recognize that fact. And I think we have to get the oil where it is."[WisPolitics, Interview, 6/14/10]

Johnson said that a month ago. Much has been made of it, in the news media and in the blogosphere, since then. He has come under all sorts of criticism for taking that stand.

But he didn't get around to saying he was against drilling in the Great Lakes until yesterday -- when I suspect his campaign found out that Feingold was about to run a commercial about it.

Johnson accidentally told the truth a month ago, and a month later his campaign is trying to pretend he never said it.

It reminds me of a line from a James McMurtry song: "Whiskey don't make liars, it just makes fools. So I didn't mean to say it, but I meant what I said."

Johnson wasn't drinking. He wishes he hadn't said it. But he meant what said, and no amount of double-talk a month later is going to erase the record.


July 13, 2010 - 2:54pm