April 12, 2012

What's going on with Senator Ron Johnson and his staff?

It's hard to read between the lines of this Rollcall piece.
While top Republican sources expressed exasperation at the internal turmoil in Johnson’s office, they also noted that the Wisconsin freshman has not been diligent in building relationships with other Senators within the Conference and has alienated himself by not reaching out more frequently to colleagues.
What's that about?

43 comments:

Elliott A said...

Maybe he is trying to actually work for the people who elected him instead of just voting how he's told.

Tim said...

The Senate is a club of 100 divas.

Some like it, and learn to work with it.

Some don't, and never do.

Others, it just takes time.

Not having previous political experience is certainly not helpful.

AJ Lynch said...

What Elloitt said. I suspect Johnson is not going to go along to get along with the likes of long tenured failues like McConnell, Lugar, etc. He and Rand Paul & Rubio & Mike Lee are the new models- they actually want to fix a few things during their time in the Senate.

Triangle Man said...

Elliott is exactly right. The special interests that elected him don't want him contaminated by party politics.

Roadkill said...

He's having trouble working with career politicians? Maybe that's a good thing.

chickenlittle said...

Maybe his staff is infected with moles.

David said...

Doesn't suffer fools gladly?

We've had decades of people going to Washington and playing by the rules. How has that worked out?

Herb Kohl (for whom I have great affection and respect) does not play the game either. Maybe it's a Wisconsin thing.

(Have there been articles like this about Herb Kohl?)

edutcher said...

As AJ says, Elliott may be right.

He may also be prepping himself like that other notoriously aloof Midwestern Senator, Barack Hussein Obama, mm, mm, mm.

President Johnson?

The gags write themselves.

leslyn said...

Freshmen. They think they know everything.

When I was a freshman....

No, we won't go there.

Jess said...

@Triangle Man
Elliott is exactly right. The special interests that elected him don't want him contaminated by party politics.

I read Elliott as saying that he was working for the people of Wisconsin who voted for him. Am I reading to much into what you wrote to think that you are implying something else?

Lem said...

Its amateur hour with these republicans.. letting staff go when he should instead be focusing on the intern to help him raise his game.

Charlie Eklund said...

Wisconsin.

That's what's going on.

Elliott A said...

I was saying it straight. If you run to represent your constituency, and you actually do it, you will have a long career. If you represent something else, you will be one and done.

Saint Croix said...

“He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store.”

This comment is from an aide, not a Senator. And since it's a really poisonous and angry sort of rant, I suspect it's from a really unhappy aide in Johnson's own office.

Probably the guy who's already lined up a job with somebody else. He figures it's safe to drop this stinkbomb on his soon-to-be-former boss.

I think it's highly unlikely that an aide to another Senator would be so personal and vindicative to Ron Johnson. I mean, an aide to another Senator barely knows Ron Johnson, right? Why would he have such strong opinions?

No, I think this vitriol is coming from Johnson's own office.

And if I'm right about the source for the story, then we also know who is likely to blame for this whole situation. While it's possible Johnson is a bad boss (nobody is perfect), this anonymous leaker is real poison.

Whatever aide is behind this attack is utterly passive-aggressive, condescending, disrespectful, and four kinds of shitty.

If I were one of the other 99 Senators, damn if I would want any of Johnson's aides coming to work for me!

Penny said...

Like a fish out of water.

Penny said...

And his supporters are hoping he is one of those walking fish.

garage mahal said...

It's become clear now why his father in law bought him a senator seat. To get him the hell out of Oshkosh.

Great pick there, Wisconsin.

leslyn said...

Johnson is responsible for getting Mitt elected:

The Wisconsin Senator said recently that he would like to refocus his efforts on political messaging, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has asked him to help coordinate strategy with the eventual GOP presidential nominee....

In his interview last week with Roll Call, he emphasized how he could help presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney with his campaign messaging. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to coordinate our message very closely,” Johnson said. “I believe he certainly understands [the] advantage of having a coordinated message and strategy. I can’t predict success until it happens, but certainly the will is there.”

Penny said...

McConnell may be onto something in trying to get Johnson involved in "GOP Messaging".

It worked in Wisconsin, once. Otherwise we wouldn't be calling him Senator Johnson, now would we?

Michael Haz said...

This is not unusual. A newly-elected senator chooses staff from a pool of candidates who have worked in DC for a while, probably for other members of Congress. Career aides have their own agendas and want to impose them on their new boss.

In Ron Johnson's case, the "new boss" wants things done the way he wants them done, so after a while if the staff doesn't figure that out - time for a new staff.

It's not complicated. A senator runs his office; the staffers don't.

traditionalguy said...

Johnson seems to have that vision thing leaders need but he may not welcome the advice of others that doesn' t view the world the way he views its boundaries.

He needs a crash course in diplomacy. Then he will become a very good leader.

leslyn said...

He seems to get frustrated with a lot of people. According to Roll Call, he got frustrated with his own staff after the election and told them none (of 42 staffers) would be coming to DC with him. Maybe it's hard to find good help.

YoungHegelian said...

Let me chime in here as a resident of the DC area.

You guys out there are thinking there some noble method to this guys madness.

Wrong! He's probably just a dysfunctional putz who's now in way over his head. He probably has a substance abuse problem, or a woman problem, or a head-case problem.

The staffers on the Hill can take abuse that would make the masochist in a BDSM porn movie blanch, and they routinely do. Your Senators & Reps are nasty petty tyrants to their staffers, almost to a (wo)man.

That this guy can't keep a staff tells me he's headed for a fall. We'll know soon enough.

Alex said...

Wisconsin to eject Walker and Johnson very soon. Wisconsin is a super progressive state and it doesn't want your fucking capitalism and freedom and all that shit. We love our cheese and communism.

GO UNIONS!!!!

Alex said...

As of November 1, 2010, Johnson had contributed more than $8.2 million to his own campaign, representing 64% of total campaign contributions.[16] In June 2011, Johnson's financial disclosures showed Pacur, where he was CEO for 13 years until elected to the Senate, had paid him $10 million in deferred compensation in early 2011. The compensation covered the period from 1997-2011, during which he took no salary from PACUR. Johnson said that he, as CEO, had personally determined the dollar amount, which was "totally unrelated" to the almost $9 million that he had given to his campaign.[17] Johnson has said that he and PACUR "fully disclosed" and "complied with the spirit and the letter of the law."[18]

RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT. Nothing fishy there. Anyways that's a huge gift to his next opponent. Wisconsinites don't like corporate stooges.

leslyn said...

Alex--glad you're back. I've been waiting all day to say I'm sorry I said I disbelieve you when you told me, "Wrong on all counts."

Re Johnson: noticed that too. How conveeenient.

Penny said...

"Nothing fishy there."

But fresh fish have no odor!

leslyn said...

Oh! And another thing! As a cheesehead I believe it incumbent upon me to say that if there's anything wrong with Johnson, it's because he was born and raised in--Minnesota. We are not responsible for him.

Chuck66 said...

He's a CEO, not a slick politician.

MadisonMan said...

it's because he was born and raised in--Minnesota

LOL. And yet Wisconsin elected him.

I think he's done a good job of purging the Minnysoda accent from his vocal cords.

Rusty said...

Chuck66 said...
He's a CEO, not a slick politician.


Ah.
That would explain the dissatisfied staffers.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Working Relationships? Johnson probably got there and was sick to his stomach. What is the last thing the Democrats in the Senate did besides Obamacare? They don't DO anything anymore, anyway!

Senator Johnson is probably disillusioned at the realities of today's Senate. He probably had no idea how dysfunctional, and stupid they have been in the last 20 years.

I can't imagine a group of professional Washington Staffers that leap from one office to another, are all that kick-ass to employ. And I would bet, many are more concerned with kissing the ass of the Senator down the hall, rather than being committed to the Senator and his agenda.

He's been refreshing. At least he's willing to call it like it is. I'm just sick of being intellectually insulted by Reid, Durbin, and the rest..

Remember, the US Senate Employed Arlen Specter for how many years? The man who gave us the singl-bullet theory. Puke.

Go Johnson. Give em the finger.

Petunia said...

If Wisconsin doesn't like corporate stooges, why is Herb Kohl still there? I don't hear the usual lefty tools complaining about HIS corporate $$$ when he buys election after election.

Bob Ellison said...

I've created a new blog called "Drunk, high, or stupid?" to discuss and rate news items like this one. Please visit and vote!

Kit said...

He'll return to the private sector. That's where the real money is, I heard.

Peano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitch H. said...

More worrisome is the information that he effectively canned his campaign staff, and carried none of them into office. Which probably means he recruited from the usual DC gang of idiots, and it sounds like they've either been sabotaging him from day one, or running rings around him.

The rest of the article is typical Senate "we don't want to hear word one from freshmen Senators unless you can give us something", which hasn't changed in a century. That Caro biography of Lyndon Johnson's volume on his years as a Senator are *full* of weepy little tales of northern liberal senators having their tender little feelings hurt by just how little regard the old bulls had for what they had to say. LBJ was actually able to buy Hubert Humphrey by given him entree into the old-boys clubs, with ol' HHH just giddy that Dick Russell actually liked him. (The bit with Paul Douglas rushing back to his office to break down in tears is just *precious*.)

My admittedly limited understanding of the modern Senate is that the bloated committee staff actually runs the institution, while the senators sit behind their tables and look pretty & their office staff deal with the home folk and the petty corruptions of office.

EMD said...

"I've created a new blog called "Drunk, high, or stupid?" to discuss and rate news items like this one. Please visit and vote!"

Adjust your grey on black links, please.

walter said...

"Sources" say........

Bob Ellison said...

Good criticism, EMD. Done.

walter said...

RJ will be on McKenna's show today..see if this is mentioned

SukieTawdry said...

Sources indicated that when Johnson came to Washington, he put a staff together like “any other Senator” but quickly realized that the day-to-day grind of legislating was not his forte. Johnson said last week that he wanted more of his office’s focus to be on building an effective messaging operation.

I dunno, I tend to think the people we send to legislate ought to have at least a passing interest in "the day-to-day grind of legislating." What did he think the Senate was about?

He wants to build an effective messaging operation. For whom and to what end? He's there to serve the interests of the people and state of Wisconsin, right? How exactly does an effective messaging operation accomplish that? Sounds like he'd be better off as a Karl Rove type than a politician. I don't think I want him on the VEEP short list.

jimspice said...

I blame McIlheran.