Yesterday, Sen. Ron Johnson came to Marquette Law School for the latest “On the Issues with Mike Gousha”. My classmates and I were there for the event, which served as a natural counter-point to us attending Russ Feingold’s visit on Oct. 4.
I had expected Johnson to present some less-common views, given his Tea Party connections. But I wouldn’t have predicted how little everything had to do with the debate and election. I think Johnson fielded two questions on the elections and debate before the conversation moved on to completely different topics.
A number of those topics were driven by Johnson’s Power Point presentation. There was a lot of budget numbers. You can see some examples at his website, like the slide he showed comparing spending cuts House Republicans proposed versus the ones Obama proposed.
As I tweeted during the event, the amount of statistics Johnson was referencing on his slides was too much to fact-check in anything approaching real-time.
This is one of the general challenges of live-tweeting, of course. The time for research is limited. There were some good ones during the debate. Like this one by Alex Rydin, linking to an article that debunked the claim that Obama went on an “apology tour.” And one by me — if I may be so bold to name my own — noting that the Buffett Rule, a proposed tax on millionaires, would raise only $5 billion, as Johnson said.
Because of how much effort is required, I’m not sure that you can do much worthwhile live-tweeting on your own. Doing a stream of key quotes isn’t hard. But if you want actual analysis or fact-checking, it’s harder to do those and create a complete picture.
Besides the Power Point, the biggest surprise was his graphic on out-of-wedlock births. As Johnson acknowledged, out-of-wedlock births are not one of this election’s hot issues. Nonetheless, he maintained it was important.He argued that the drastic increase in births to unmarried couples has weakened our society. The rate of nonmaritial births has definitely risen, but connecting that to other societal changes is beyond my province as blogger.
Johnson’s take on issues and data-heavy style contrasted with Russ Feingold’s presentation on Oct. 9, which you can watch here. Besides the obvious difference — Feingold is liberal, Johnson is not — there were some others. Feingold seemed to focus more on current events, rather than on trends and future projections like Johnson did. He also didn’t stress numbers as much, let alone use graphs and give a Power Point presentation.
The conversation was well-moderated, and whether you agree with Johnson or not, his positions and priorities are a helpful second (or third, or fourth…) perspective.