Politics & Policy

Johnson’s Lead, in a Nutshell

Chris Cillizza at The Fix posts a dead-on assessment of the Wisconsin Senate race and the factors behind Ron Johnson’s considerable advantage in the polls.

One of the most surprising developments in the political world over the past three months has been the rise of Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson (R) in his race against Sen. Russ Feingold (D).

Capitalizing on a discontent with Washington and a rising unpopularity with the national Democratic party, Johnson has cast himself as the ultimate outsider — co-opting the same message that Feingold used to win the seat in 1992.

Specifically, in this ad:

Which points out that Johnson’s opponent, Sen. Russ Feingold, is one of 57 lawyers in the Senate. The ad’s basic premise is: Do we really need that many? Cillizza breaks down the ad’s effectiveness:

With less than five weeks before the November elections, people are inundated with all sorts of campaign ads. The first step then is to get them to pay attention — not fast forward (thank you Tivo!) or simply tune out. Johnson’s ad does that.

The engaging visuals are complemented by a very simple message: We need to start sending some different kinds of people to Washington. “I’m not a politician, I’m an accountant and a manufacturer,” Johnson says in the ad’s closing moments. “I know how to balance a budget and I do know how to create jobs. Now that’s something we can really use.”

That message is also distinctly non-partisan and somewhat apolitical. At no time in the ad does Johnson mention that he is a Republican and there is nothing on screen that suggests he is at all tied to the political process — down the fact that he is wearing a button-down shirt with no tie.

The takeaway from the ad is unmistakable: Ron Johnson is different. And being different is a very good thing to be in an election cycle like this one.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

Most Popular

U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
U.S.

The Lies We’re Told about the American Story

Editor’s Note: The following essay was adapted from remarks delivered to the annual dinner of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, in California, on October 4. Every American heart must break when lies are told to boys and girls, who then grow up to think the worst about their past: that the American ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More