U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson

In a dazzling confirmation of his utter lack of political courage and unwillingness to engage in policy discussion outside his comfort zone, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District is ducking all debates this cycle.

Johnson, who surfed into Congress in 2010 on the Tea Party wave like Johnny Utah, represents the district that stretches along Ohio’s eastern border, and is facing a challenge from former state representative, Democrat Jennifer Garrison.

The Garrison for Congress Camp sent out a petition email Friday declaring that he will be “AWOL at candidate forums and debates” this election season, and slamming him for moving into the district for the first time in 2011.

“It’s crucial for our democracy that our representatives in Washington are in touch with our views and positions,” said Team Garrison. “If they’re not from here, and never spend time here, dow do they know where we stand on important issues?”

Team Johnson’s undergarments were made particularly knotted, apparently, by this declaration, as a short time later an email was sent out announcing Johnson’s participation in two “voter forums.” The first is sponsored by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, and the second is a live radio call-in at WJER.

There goes Johnson, gallantly charging to meet the concerns of those who might dare apply the pressure of a pin to his ideological bubble. A variety of politicians, media and analysts have independently and privately expressed concerns to yrs. truly about Johnson’s reluctance to put himself in any situation where his dogmatic rightwing echo-chamber ideology might be challenged.

Bill Johnson, who supported shutting down the U.S. government, costing billions of dollars, while constantly griping about wasting government money. Bill Johnson who likes to play Russian Roulette with the country’s financial stability for cheap political stunts.

Bill Johnson, who has continued to push for deregulation even after hundreds of thousands of West Virginians just across the Ohio River lost clean water for weeks due to contamination from deregulation. Bill Johnson, who goes around telling college students they personally owe over $55,000 each because of the U.S. national debt.

Bill Johnson, who liked the military best when gay people could be discriminated against, likes America best when equal protection under the law for marriage contracts is not afforded, and talks breathlessly about the importance of the U.S. Constitution while ignoring the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment in peddling his religious dogma onto the laws of our commonwealth.

Bill Johnson, who supports a corporation’s right to dictate its religious convictions to its employees over an individual’s right to dictate the decisions over their own healthcare.

Bill Johnson, who has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act dozens of times, threatening to roll back health insurance for millions of Americans who now finally have it due to the legislation. Bill Johnson, who, unsatisfied with all his repeal votes, harassed and put roadblocks in front of charitable organizations looking to help uninsured citizens navigate the law.

Bill Johnson, who voted for Paul Ryan’s disastrous budget plan that lays out a foundation for shredding the social safety net, gutting the middle class and snuffing out social mobility for good. Bill Johnson, who voted for Paul Ryan’s disastrous budget plan that would’ve doubled student loan interest rates just when the nation is facing a student loan crisis. Bill Johnson, who voted for Paul Ryan’s disastrous budget plan that would’ve destroyed Medicare.

Bill Johnson will not debate.

And why? Well, let’s hear it from Bill Johnson Campaign Manager Sarah Poulton:

“Given that Congress is expected to be in session and voting into October Bill is obligated to fulfill his Constitutional voting duties that the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio elected him to do.”

Ah, yes, Congress will be voting, maybe take another futile roll at appealing the Affordable Care Act, y’know, for s’s and g’s.

It is such a bore to take a break from voting to debate the merits of all those votes, is it not?

David DeWitt is a journalist and universal minister based out of Athens, Ohio. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.