Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What in God's Name was Ron Johnson doing voting for the Fiscal Cliff Deal?

So, Senator Johnson went on CNBC yesterday to sing yet another refrain of his hit single "Washington is broken!" Here's a sample, backed by the world's smallest violin:
“It’s an alternate universe. No, this — this place is a joke. I mean, bottom line, this is an absurd process,” Johnson said on CNBC. “It certainly proves the genius of our founding fathers that government should be limited. I mean, the fact that we have this place having such an enormous effect on our economy, on people’s livelihood, is wrong. It’s simply wrong.”
Unfortunately, Johnson continued to keep talking and eventually said:

The senator also decried the shady negotiations. “We’re here at the end of the year, a couple of elected officials with their unelected staffs, are doing these deals behind closed doors,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happening behind there. Am I all of a sudden going to get a product sometime in the middle of the day and say, ‘you’ve got to vote on it right away’? I mean, that is an absurd process.” 

So Johnson is basically admitting on national TV that he has no input or pull into the "fiscal cliff" negotiations whatsoever.

Much of the trick to using power effectively is creating the perception that one actually has power. For a sitting United States Senator to go on national television and say "I'm utterly irrelevant" is pretty extraordinary. I'd call it a rookie mistake, but Johnson is no longer a rookie and doesn't show any signs of correcting this issue any time soon.

By the way, Johnson ended up voting for the deal, which makes all the whining he did on cable TV earlier in the day look utterly absurd. It's very difficult to understate just how much this vote undermines Johnson's entire self-stated purpose for being in the Senate. It only took Johnson a matter of 12 hours between complaining about a problem to becoming part of it, at least according to his own estimation.

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