Ron Johnson is about as likely to be the "citizen legislator" he likes to call himself as Bob Woodward is to be a citizen journalist and FBI director Robert Mueller is to make a citizen's arrest.
There's no shame in that, of course. Being a U.S. senator is supposed to be a full-time job — not a selfless kind of part-time civic engagement.
But now that Johnson, a Republican, has decided to run for a second six-year term, the moniker is wearing thin.
In general, I respect Johnson's path to Washington and recognize that it's fairly unconventional.
He decided to give up the relative comforts of a successful career in business to make his first and so far only run at public office because, presumably, he wanted to make America a better place. Just because I don't necessarily agree with his politics doesn't mean I question his motivations.
He is different in this regard from, say, the other senator from Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin, who has been an elected official since 1986, and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who's been in politics since his college days.
But citizen legislator?
Citizen legislators are local elected officials who work regular day jobs and sacrifice their nights to meetings on the latest student testing regimens and city finances.
Or lawmakers from states like Wyoming, where the legislature can meet in general session for no more than 40 days each odd-numbered year and for a 20-day budget-writing session in each even-numbered year. They make $150 per session day for the privilege.
Wisconsin legislators are not citizen legislators. They make full-time salaries of $49,943 and are among a group of states including Illinois, Florida and Ohio with full-time legislatures.
Similarly, Johnson's last Senate financial disclosure report, filed in May, shows the only position he held aside from senator was as head of a charitable foundation. And he reported only a 5 percent stake in the company he used to run, PACUR LLC.
If Johnson is clocking mere citizen legislator hours, in other words, I want part of his $174,000 salary back.
At least Johnson's reason for seeking another term was on the level.
After telling Milwaukee radio station WTMJ on Monday that he would "work toward bipartisan solutions" in the four years remaining in his first term, he said it might be best to stick around beyond that in hopes of being able to work with "somebody who's going to seriously look at really long-term solutions."
As Johnson was rated the fifth-most conservative member of the Senate last month by the nonpartisan National Journal, I can only assume that by "somebody" he means somebody Republican.
His spokeswoman did not respond to multiple requests for at least one example of a major piece of legislation Johnson had worked on with a Democrat.
Unfortunately, such partisanship is not a barrier to getting elected in America. It's also more compatible these days with being not a citizen legislator, but a career politician.