The Johnson Problem

If you asked me who the most dangerous member of the United States Senate to America is a week ago I would have said Mitch McConnell. McConnell is powerful, smart, evil, devious, amoral and hypocritical. I’m starting to have second thoughts – it might just be Ron Johnson.

Tuesday was the first day of congressional hearings into the events of January 6th. It will be far from the final day. There will be countless more hearings – everybody will want in on the “act”. I spent very little time listening to them live because I expected a lot of theatrics but not much productivity. They argued about a phone call that they couldn’t even agree took place. But it gets worse. To date my decision has proven to be a wise one.

Enter Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. I have to assume he is literate but he seems to be on a mission to prove people of that opinion incorrect. Judging by his recent actions adjectives I’d use to describe him include gullible, stupid, cowardly and willfully ignorant. Last week Johnson described the events of January 6th at the Capital Building as not being an armed insurrection. Tuesday he spent much of his five minute questioning period reading the right wing mythology he gleaned from an extreme right wing website into the record. (Senator Johnson here is an easy English language tip for you: Questions are sentences that have a question mark at the end of them.) If you follow Johnson the insurrectionists were all left wing operatives dressed up like Trump supporters who were just walking through the halls of the Capital Building as tourists. Am I to believe my lying eyes or Ron Johnson?

The most charitable assumption is that Johnson is making a political calculation. He is up for reelection in 2022 and Wisconsin is a purple state where voter turnout determines the outcome. 2022 is a mid-term election and Republicans have a much better track record of showing up in mid-terms than Democrats. If he stays loyal (even willfully blindly loyal) to Trump he figures the electorate will slightly favor him and in the process he avoids a costly primary.

He also is likely relying on aid from Trump in the forms of money and an appearance(s) by the man himself and/or a surrogate(s) with the same surname. I wouldn’t rely on that. Trump will be tied up in litigation if not incarcerated by the fall of 2022. His kids may also be in legal trouble or running themselves. Trump has always been a scammer and the money he raises largely goes into his coffers. If Trump were to make an appearance(s) he certainly won’t do it for free.

By staying loyal to Trump, Johnson is inviting out of state money into the campaign. It will take the form of both PAC money and small individual donations. Since this is a possible pickup for the Democrats this race was likely to be a nation race; Johnson just assured it will be.

Speaking of money, Johnson just saved his opponent a lot of ad development money. Johnson is writing the negative ads that will run against him in 2022. Citing the above paragraph, I don’t think funding their running will be that difficult.

I haven’t researched the Democratic bench in Wisconsin but being a purple state there has to be at least one “first round draft choice” available.


Going back to turnout for a bit I have a few thoughts to share. I maintain that the big 2020 and Georgia January 2021 special election voter turnouts were in large part due to a Trump backlash. There are more Trump and Trump related scandals being unveiled on a weekly basis and that trend will continue for some time.

Johnson has turned himself into a scandal of cerebral aptitude if nothing else. Americans vote against candidates and policies much more than they vote for them. If Johnson keeps going down “Trump Lane” I wouldn’t bet on a low voter turnout in 2022 in Wisconsin.

Jennifer Rubin advanced a theory in a Washington Post op-ed that committee chairs have to start gaveling down false and repeatedly debunked statements by Senators during their supposed question time. Some may call that cancel culture. I am in favor of sensibility not censorship and I think I share that with the conservative Ms. Rubin. While I will defend your right to disagree with me on opinions I am willing to cancel – if you choose that verbiage -your lies and propaganda.

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