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:
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.