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I’m a sucker for an Ayn Rand reference 2010-May-28 at 08:25 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Instead of shrugging, Ron Johnson is running for office, by George F. Will, 27-May-2010

Before what he calls "the jaw-dropping" events of the past 19 months — TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler’s creditors, Obamacare, etc. — the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson’s mind. He was, however, dry tinder — he calls Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged" his "foundational book" — and now is ablaze, in an understated, Upper Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh, Wis., is what the Tea Party looks like.

He is trim, gray-haired and suddenly gray-suited. For years he has worn jeans and running shoes to his office, but now, under spousal duress, he is trying to look senatorial — "My wife upgraded me to brown shoes." He has been endorsed by the state party and will almost certainly win the September primary for the Republican nomination to run against Russ Feingold, who is seeking a fourth term in a year in which incumbency is considered a character flaw.

Former Republican governor Tommy Thompson led Feingold in polls and froze the race on the Republican side before deciding not to run. But in this season of simmering resentment of the political class, a neophyte such as Johnson might be a stronger candidate than a recycled executive. Johnson can fund himself. Asked how much of his wealth he will spend, if necessary, his answer is as simple as it is swift: "All of it."

I had a big Ayn Rand phase, too… it’s kinda sweet, in a weird way.  If you didn’t, you missed out on a seminal experience growing up.  It’s fun to be that certain that you’re right, while simultaneously being certain that other people are wrong.  At least it’s fun when you’re young… but in your 50’s, I have less interest in seeing it in leadership and in Congress.

I believe that Ron Johnson’s motivation for running is rooted in a deeply felt sense of morals… but I still can’t support him.  We already know what lies down the path of deregulation and the lack of government oversight, and it’s not the hidden capitalist lair, complete with gold-backed currency, of “Atlas Shrugged.”