MADISON - Ron Johnson has refused to do his job and consider the President's nominee, claiming he wants to hear the voices of Americans. The chorus of voices grows louder every week, but it seems no matter how loud Wisconsinites scream, Senator Johnson refuses to listen.
 
Key point:

Just as “Mad Men” on Madison Avenue conjured up “Come to Marlboro Country” to conceal the cancer of cigarettes during the 1960s, “Let the American people decide” hides a malignancy consuming our democracy: hyper-partisanship. It's the obsession with winning the next election cycle, rather than governing in the current cycle.
 
Eric Frydenlund: Ron Johnson should ditch talking points, consider Merrick Garland for high court
ERIC FRYDENLUND

Dear U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson:
 
Thank you for your email responding to my phone call. I had called your office to request that you consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. In that conversation I spoke with a nice woman who politely listened while I recited my talking points.
 
Talking points. You see, that’s the problem for both of us. When we get on a good run, hitting each point like a ball set on a tee, we’re not really listening. We’re just practicing our swing.
 
Your talking points have been handed down from the marketing department of the Republican Party. “Let the American people decide,” says the wordsmith over in the creative department.
 
Those words have now been repeated in every conceivable venue, press conference, talk show and, yes, email. You hope those words move people to wait until after the November election to appoint a Supreme Court justice.
 
Just as “Mad Men” on Madison Avenue conjured up “Come to Marlboro Country” to conceal the cancer of cigarettes during the 1960s, “Let the American people decide” hides a malignancy consuming our democracy: hyper-partisanship. It's the obsession with winning the next election cycle, rather than governing in the current cycle.

Hyper-partisanship finds its roots in an arrogance of pride from which we all fall victim -- an intoxicating cocktail of back-slapping success and blind faith. We look in the mirror and smile as if we know something astonishing.
 
In “The Big Short,” by Michael Lewis, the wildly entertaining and deeply disturbing story of the 2008 financial meltdown caused by the collapse of the subprime housing market, the astonishment with ourselves proved irresistible. Except for some smart people who realized a housing bubble was coming and shorted the market, essentially betting against the American economy.
 
Wall Street’s arrogance – or what Lewis called “the system of incentives that channeled the greed” – caused Wall Street bond packagers to believe the housing market could not possibly lose its value. It did.
 
Similarly, Republicans believe that past electoral success in capturing majorities in both the Senate and House will lead to a bull market for conservatism. Democrats suffer from the same intoxicating illusion: The electorate will never tire of a Congress consumed with partisanship. It has.
 
Republicans are betting long, past the next election. Yet as this primary season shows, a growing electorate sees a diminishing value of a system consumed with partisan rancor that accomplishes little. They’re selling short, betting against the American political system.
 
The Supreme Court was never intended to be a partisan body. Serving its purely constitutional purpose, the court exists as a balance between executive and legislative power and arbiter of all issues constitutional.
 
However, the past “success” of appointing “left-leaning” or "right-leaning” justices has left us nothing but partisan talking points -- and the complete loss of confidence in the high court’s impartiality.
 
Senator, we live in a political landscape that makes no sense. As political consultants seek to capitalize on our confusion and pundits endeavor to explain it, we are left holding the nonsensical idea that the answer to our partisan problem somehow lies in a partisan solution. Rather like saying the solution to the overselling of subprime mortgages is to sell more subprime mortgages.
 
As investment manager Charlie Ledley said in "The Big Short": “In the course of trying to figure it out, we realized that there’s a reason why it doesn’t quite make sense to us. It’s because it doesn’t quite make sense.”
 
Please restore some sense to our political system of checks and balances. Consider Merrick Garland, a moderate jurist cut from the mold of an impartial judiciary. From the Mad Men, “Just do it.”