Details, schmetails in Wisconsin

DETAILS, SCHMETAILS IN WISCONSIN…. Wisconsin’s Republican Senate nominee, right-wing millionaire Ron Johnson, doesn’t much care for substantive policy details. What’s more, he’s hoping his disregard for specifics is seen as one of his strengths.

Johnson’s chat with the Green Bay Press Gazette‘s editorial board the other day offered a high-profile example. The editors wanted to know about his plan to create jobs, and Johnson just ended up shrugging his shoulders. He vowed to cut some form of spending at some point by some undetermined amount. This, Johnson said, was his “jobs plan.”

But this kind of approach to policy problems keeps coming up.

Wisconsin’s Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson got tripped up on a point of policy during a recent interview: Asked what the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ responsibility is to homeless veterans, Johnson declared that his election fight against Sen. Russ Feingold is not “about details.” […]

The moderator pressed Johnson — a government skeptic — to explain exactly how the government should respond to the issue of homeless vets. “Are there specific things that you think need to happen within that galaxy of services, perhaps, that the VA has some responsibility for or other organizations that would help homeless veterans?”

Johnson responded, flummoxed.

“Specifically I can’t really — I haven’t been there, I don’t have all the details. One thing I will point out: I don’t believe this election really is about details. It just isn’t.”

He used nearly identical language at another forum, telling voters, “I don’t believe this election is about details. I really don’t.”

Johnson is of the “figure it out later” mold. Wisconsin may not know him very well, but if folks vote for him anyway, he’ll try to come up with good ideas eventually.

How would Johnson create jobs? He doesn’t know, but if voters support him, he’ll figure it out later. Why does he think “sunspots” generate global warming? He doesn’t know, but if voters support him, he’ll figure it out later. How should the nation provide for veterans? He doesn’t know, but if voters support him, he’ll figure it out later. How would Social Security work if he successfully privatizes it? He doesn’t know, but if voters support him, he’ll figure it out later.

This is, by the way, the same Ron Johnson who was asked last week what kind of innovative ideas he might pursue as a U.S. senator. Johnson skipped right past substantive issues, and committed himself to a “re-education of America.”

Maybe Johnson should be more interested in a “re-education” of himself?

For what it’s worth, this is wearing thin on some in Wisconsin. The Green Bay Press Gazette‘s editorial board, almost immediately after chatting with Johnson, endorsed incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D). It was the first time the paper has ever supported one of Feingold’s campaigns.