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Johnson vs. Feingold: Who is best fit to represent wisconsin?

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Welcome to "Political Posturing," featuring opposing views on current issues important to Wisconsin's business community. In this column, Wisconsin Business Alliance Board President Brad Werntz and conservative columnist David Blaska offer their opinions from the left and the right, respectively.

Feingold preferable to the angry Ron Johnson.

I worked phone banks for Russ Feingold in 2010. “I make my living by talking to people about important stuff on the phone,” I said. “Put me on the hard calls.” And so they did. Night after night through October and into November, I called registered Democrats who had identified that they were voting for Ron Johnson and tried to get them to change their minds. It was grim duty.

“Can you share with me why you’re not supporting Russ this election?” I asked one voter.

“I’m just so upset about the stimulus, quite honestly,” she replied.

“Well, that’s good news then for Russ. You do know that he is the only Democratic Senator to vote against expanding it, right?”

There was a long pause, and she said: “I’m still voting for the other guy.”

This was typical of the replies I encountered. Many voters were upset about the stimulus packages that helped pull the U.S. out of the recession. There was a strong anti-incumbent bent to the voters in 2010, too: “We just need to vote them all out and start over,” said one voter. People were angry and they took out their anger at the voting booth. Russ Feingold was swept out of office on this wave of anger, along with many others.

So fast-forward to 2016, and not much has changed. Voters are still angry, but they are less certain about why. In fact, if most people thought about it they might admit that they are angry because they’ve been angry for so long.

For those who like dumb, blind anger, Ron Johnson is a perfect candidate. He’s an angry guy, and he makes other people angry, too.

In the years that Russ Feingold served as our senator, he was well respected on both sides of the aisle. While he was famous for staying true to his own vision, he was just as well known for being smart, nice, and likeable.

After six years, it’s time for Wisconsin to let go of anger. A vote for Russ is a vote toward something better and Lord knows we deserve it.

Brad Werntz is a small business owner and the executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Business Alliance, wisconsinbusinessalliance.com.

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