Sen. Johnson: Grassroots Conservatives Know GOP Will Tackle Tough Issues

By Fred Lucas | August 30, 2012 | 5:00 PM EDT

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) (AP Photo)

Tampa ( – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told that grassroots conservative voters know Republicans are serious about addressing the nation’s tax and spending issues, and he disregarded a dispute earlier this week over party rules.

“Elected officials, it’s very important for them to realize that if they make tough decisions, the voters will actually support that,” Johnson said. “The lesson in Wisconsin is that leadership matters.”

He said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s success in fending off a recall effort after closing a major budget gap in the state has national implications because it demonstrated why elected officials must take on tough issues. Johnson believes that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also serious about addressing the nation’s fiscal problems.

“He is dead serious, 100 percent dedicated to offering real solutions to fixing the problem,” Johnson said. “You don’t pick Paul Ryan unless you’re willing to fix the problem.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

Johnson, who was elected in 2010 with grassroots tea party movement support, was not concerned about views from some grassroots conservatives upset about a rule that would allow the Republican National Committee to amend some of the rules in between the party conventions that take place every four years. This was Rule 12.

Among the groups opposed to Rule 12 was a leading tea party group, FreedomWorks, which contends that this takes away power from grassroots activists that make up the delegates at the national convention every four years.

“I believe that the Republican Party has made a huge mistake by effectively disenfranchising grassroots activists who want to be a part of the party process,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement.

“If the party sincerely wants the support of citizens, shutting them out of the process is not the way to do it. Sooner rather than later the Republican establishment needs to come to terms with the decentralized nature of grassroots organization circa 2012. The terms of engagement can no longer be dictated from the top-down,” he added.

Johnson said this not a major concern.

“Some people may have hard feeling about that and may blow it out of proportion,” Johnson told “Again, when you look at the issues facing this nation, the severity of our problems, some of these minor rule disputes, they pale in comparison. So in the end, people are going to have a choice to make. Do you want to pursue President Obama’s path of government control and unsustainable debt levels or do you want to pursue Gov. Romney and Paul Ryan’s path – one that recognizes we are a land of free individuals operating in a free enterprise system?”