Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Does Ron Johnson's first Op-ed Piece Tell Us?

The short answer: he needs better ghost-writers.

The MJS gave Johnson some real estate in their august pages to fir the junior Senator to "welcome" President Obama to the Badger State and the results are ... remarkably vapid.

The piece takes the form of an open letter, a stylistic method that only works in two circumstances: 1.) when the author has absolutely no ability to otherwise communicate to the intended "reader" and 2.) when the author wants to speak disingenuously to the "reader" to the amusement of the wider audience. Since the op-ed is neither informative nor entertaining I can only asume that President Obama isn't taking Johnson phone calls yet. I know that the author was trying to make Johnson look like he was standing up to power and the authority of a political rival, but he missed the mark by a wide margin and effectively made the Senator look small and insignificant.

Moving on, the second paragraph is doused in economic statistics, which are essential the national "sales figures" of this presentation. Everyone knows you never kick off with sales figures. It's like digging a moat filled with alligators in front of a brick wall covered in razor wire around your central argument.

Not that there much of a central argument to find in Johnson's essay. The piece is clearly about the economy's ill, after all there is this diagnosis half way through: "Our economy is stagnant because consumers and businesses rightfully lack confidence in government policy." OK, but which policy is undermining consumer confidence? Is inflation and monetary? government spending? debt? regulation? Any one of these issues are complicated enough to devote 570 words to, but instead we get a grab bag of economic concerns that aren't put in any order.

Then we get this graph:
The solution is to show consumers and businesses that Washington understands the problem and has the courage to address it honestly and forthrightly. We must pursue policies that will first limit and then begin to reduce the size, scope and cost of government.
Great ... like what? Johnson doesn't endorse any legislation or even recommend levels of acceptable government involvement in the economy. What we do get is: "America is exceptional - it is precious." Precious? Really? Is there any way to display pride and patriotism without sounding like Gollum from Lord of the Rings?

So why no details? One would hope they are forthcoming, but the more likely answer is that this op-ed is merely part of a larger effort to get Johnson out of his media cocoon. Johnson was on Mike Gousha's show last weekend discussing a host of issues (more on that in posts to follow) and it's a good bet that we'll be seeing more of him in local outlets shortly. It's easier to do this in the Wisconsin media than it is in the Washington media.

MORE: A shorter, non-open-letter -- and, thus, more effective version -- of this piece ran at RCP today.

1 comment:

Stewie's Paragraph-by-paragraph Translation said...

Yo Barack Hussein,mah man! Welcome to Earth

hurrrYou got pwned in the last elections, I bet that hurt

My aides told me the median household earns $49,777. I make more than that in 2 fuckin' weeks. Pwned again, bizatches!

'n did I tell you guys I'm The Boss of A Company? Sure am.

I wasn't so good at school stuff but I wanna sound smart for a minute in this paragrah.... blah blah herp derp.

OKay but no one can really understatd that stuff anyways,it all sounds like white noise to you guys too right?

So okay I suppose you're really scared about getting a Pink Slip from your own boss aren't ya? But don't blame your boss or the corporate office, it's the Government's fault.

and um, I should probably sound a bit "statesman like" here cuz a lotta ppls will be reading this while they sit on the commode so, here comes another shot of White Noise, hang on, BRB.

I might as well pee too as long as I'm set to "Appear Offline", so yeah, *more white noise* in this section too

Okay, back. Mm'kay need a job, *yawn*you said that last year too right? I know, it's a bitch, but we're not taking any applications down to Pacur until after Obama looses that 2012 election.

And when it's time, I'll be first in line to help.