Feingold's opponent, Ron Johnson, one (and only) qualification for running for the U.S. Senate is that he is a self-made-man: He's a brilliant entreprenuer that started a plastics company (PACUR) from the ground-up and built it into a successful, multi-million dollar operation.
Since the unknown Johnson came on the scene earlier this summer, that is the bio that we here in Wisconsin have heard from the Johnson campaign and mimeographed from the media.
Right there on the bio section of Ron Johnson's campaign website it says,"In 1979, Ron and Jane moved to Wisconsin, where Ron started a business called PACUR with his brother-in-law."
When Johnson was first introduced to Republican delegates at the Wisconsin Republican convention they were shown a video that clearly leaves the impression that Johnson is not only a "self-made man," but someone that scratched and fought his way out of humble beginnings to become a millionaire. The American Dream, personified. This story was so attractive that the GOP delegates voted to give him the party's nomination shortly after seeing the video.
In addition, around the same time, many conservative radio hosts around the state were strongly endorsing Ron Johnson and using the term "self-made man" in contrast to the other frontrunners in the race--Terrence Wall and Dick Leinenkugel-- which were not considered "self-made" millionaires.
The campaign is not the only one that has spread this-- the Republican establishment has spread this as well. The NRSC likes to refer to Johnson as an "entrepreneur" and a on a recent campaign trip to LaCrosse, GOP State Rep. Mike Huebsch introduced Johnson as someone that "built a successful manufacturing company from scratch."
The problem is that it is simply not true. In fact, it's TOTAL BS.
The real story is this: Ron Johnson married the daughter of Howard Curler.
Who is Howard Curler? He's easily on the Mount Rushmore of plastics entrepreneurs.
Curler founded a plastic company called Curwood in 1958. In the late 1960s, he led a merger with the huge multinational plastics corporation, the Bemis Company, but stayed on as president of Curwood. From 1978 to the early 1990s, Howard Curler would be CEO of Bemis.
Today, Howard Curler's son, Jeffrey Curler is president and CEO of the Bemis Company.
Anyway, back to Johnson. Howard Curler's other son, Pat Curler, headed-up an off-shoot company of Curwood, called PACUR which started in 1977 and was named "PACUR", as a shortening of Pat Curler's name. For many years PACUR's only "client" was "selling" plastic products to parent company, Curwood.
In 1978, Ron Johnson would marry Howard Curler's daughter, Jane. Soon after, in 1979, Johnson would move to Wisconsin go to work in his wife's family's plastics business-- as a night manager at PACUR, under his brother-in-law, Pat.
This is how it all started for Johnson: He married into a very wealthy, entreprenurial family and that family gave him a job.
But, Johnson has NEVER mentioned that all of his business success is due to the fact that he is part of a family that is in the plastics business. And, of course, the media in the state have never bothered to check into this guy's phony bio.
UPDATE: Thanks to Habitat Vic for pointing out that the family dog is not a lhasa apso, but a sharpei. I was joking, but the reality is even funnier!