Wisconsin Republican Senate challenger Ron Johnson would not publicly challenge the White House on matters of war and peace from his perch if elected to the US Senate.
In a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson makes clear that challenging the Executive Branch publicly when it comes to armed conflict is not something he would do — except privately.
Johnson’s most pointed comments were directed at Feingold, saying that when he and other senators “come out and start demanding a U.S. pullout and that kind of thing in public, it just undermines what our troops are trying to do.”
Said Johnson: “That’s not saying if you have real grave concerns as a member of Congress you should not be talking to the administration. It’s just extremely harmful to our nation when it’s all done in public.”
Asked whether he was saying it’s improper for Feingold or other senators to be speaking out publicly against the war, Johnson said: “I guess what I really object to is how quick and early he has been throughout his career (to criticize military action) .?.?.?he has been carping about this from the sidelines forever.”
Johnson then repeated his suggestion that when there are troops in the field, lawmakers opposed to U.S. policy should be expressing their opposition in private rather than in public.
“There’s an appropriate way of opposing a policy and an inappropriate way,” he said. “The appropriate way if I’m a U.S. senator is going to be not public. If I’m opposed to something, I’ll make those views known very, very well, but privately with the administration.”
This is the most remarkable and disturbing statement I have ever read from anyone hoping to serve as his state’s chief spear carrier in the US Senate.
Does Ron Johnson not have any background on the history of this Chamber and the many great Republicans and Democrats who have helped shape the national security decisions of the nation — often knocking back or kicking along the White House?
As I was prepping for a recent discussion about US policy and the Afghanistan War at the PBS NewsHour studio, I had a conversation with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) which I share here.
I am in agreement with Senator Feingold on his take on Ron Johnson’s disturbing comments.
More of my conversations with Senator Feingold later today.
— Steve Clemons