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Feingold opponent wants no income tax and a longer 'Atlas Shrugged'

Count me among the people who knew next to nothing about Wisconsin GOP candidate Ron Johnson until he won his party's U.S. Senate nod in a landslide in last weekend's convention.

But George Will talked to Johnson, and the flattering interview that resulted reveals a pretty hard-core libertarian who jokes/talks about the perfect tax rate being zero and "Atlas Shrugged" not being long enough.

The theme of his campaign, the genesis of which was an invitation to address a Tea Party rally, is: "First of all, freedom." Then? "Then you've got to put meat on the bones." He gets much of his meat from the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages. And from a Wisconsin congressman, Paul Ryan, whose "road map" for entitlement reform Johnson praises. Health care? "Mitch Daniels has the solution." Indiana's Republican governor has offered state employees the choice of consumer-controlled health savings accounts, and 70 percent now choose them.

Will drops an important fact midway through his column -- Sen. Russ Feingold (R-Wisc.), whom Johnson is running against, did not vote for TARP. That will force Johnson to confront Feingold -- and Feingold to confront Johnson -- on government and spending issues that are less unpopular. But Republicans are currently swooning over a Rasmussen poll showing Johnson, a total unknown, in a statistical tie with Feingold.

By David Weigel  |  May 27, 2010; 3:46 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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