US Senator Ron Johnson came calling on the Devil’s Advocates Thursday, going “on the record” on a number of current issues, starting with a tense exchange over his support for Right-to-Work.
Johnson initially expressed support for private sector unions before quickly losing patience with the co-hosts successive lines of questioning.
RTW is being fast-tracked through a GOP directed “extraordinary session” in the Wisconsin legislature this week and next. Governor Walker has said he will sign RTW into law, once it reaches his desk next week.
On the DAR Show, Johnson first drew distinction between public sector and private sector unions, Johnson seemed supportive of trade unions especially.
“There is an awful lot of support for private sector unions, even among businesses,” Johnson said.
“Private sector unions do a great job protecting worker safety, providing good wages for people…” Johnson said.
Moments later, “I don’t want anybody thinking I am opposed to private-sector unions,” Johnson said.
“That being said, I’m for freedom to choose whether or not to join the union and whether they want to contribute to dues,” Johnson said.
When Progressive co-host Mike Crute quizzed Johnson with a Chamber of Commerce analogy, is this just the “freedom to freeload?” Mirroring questions posed by D-State Sen. Bob Wirch to R-State Sen Scott Fitzgerald in a RTW hearing Tuesday, Crute further pressed Johnson if the local Chamber of Commerce or a trade organization like WMC would allow membership without dues.
Sen Johnson quickly countered “No one forces you to join the chamber,” before extolling many potential chamber benefits. “People decide to join the chamber out of freedom and pay the dues, it’s an important organization…”
Libertarian DAR co-host Dominic Salvia then hit Johnson with a dose of logic. Salvia asked if Johnson’s freedom to choose analogy extended to a prospective employee also having the freedom to not take a job at a unionized shop.
“They can walk down the street and get another job. How does that analogy hold up sir,” Salvia asked.
“I’m not sure it is a perfect analogy, but again, in general, I’m for freedom,” Johnson said.
“The other point to make is this is a state issue,” said Johnson, before adding, “So in other words, let’s move on. I think I told you where I stand,” Johnson said with an edge of annoyance.
“Yes on right to work Ron,” Crute pushed to clarify.
(annoyed chuckle) “Yes.” Johnson responded.
“Hey, thank you,” Crute said before sarcastically adding, “At least I didn’t start with a tough one like-Do you believe in evolution, sir?”
“Do you believe in evolution, sir?”-Crute asked.
“I’m for freedom. Yes,” Johnson said, apparently still addressing the prior line of questioning.
“Yes for freedom, or yes on evolution? I want to get you on the record,” Crute asked.
“Yes on evolution…” Johnson responded before explaining his faith and evolution aren’t incongruent.
Senator Johnson further discussed DHS Homeland Security funding expiring due to the actions of…Democrats and Obama of course. Johnson said there can be no legislative solution to the President’s immigration executive orders, no comprehensive immigration reform because Obama has “poisoned the well.”
Johnson would not commit to voting for Obama’s Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch, when asked later in the interview, but suggested he is inclined to support Presidential nominees.
Crute closed the questioning by asking Johnson to comment on his presumed ’16 opponent, former Wisconsin D-Senator Russ Feingold. Johnson called Feingold a “career politician” and contrasted himself a “citizen legislator.”
A last, last question for Johnson was if he would self-fund his reelection campaign. “I will be adequately funded,” Johnson said. Neither a conformation or denial.
Find the interview podcast here: