Ron Johnson: Wisconsin's Worst Political Embarrassment Since Joe McCarthy

Funny thing about Wisconsin-- the state elects some of the greatest and some of the most villainous politicians of any state in the country. Take Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr. He was a congressman, a governor and was elected to the U.S. Senate by the state legislature in 1905, where he was leader of the progressive wing of the Republican Party. He ran for president as an anti-monopoly Progressive, with Socialist support, in 1924. He took 16.6% of the vote and died the following year. Robert "Young Bob" La Follette, Jr., an ardent labor-backer, was elected, as a Republican, in 1925, and was an early FDR supporter anyway. In 1934 he started the Progressive Party but when the Progressive Party was dissolved in 1946 he attempted to run for reelection as a Republican but narrowly lost to one of the worst senators in history, Joe McCarthy. ("Young Bob" committed suicide in 1953 and McCarthy drank himself to death 4 years later.)

After the nation was finished celebrating McCarthy's demise, Wisconsin elected William Proxmire to finish his term and then to 5 more terms. He was a solid liberal as was Gaylord Nelson, who served from 1963 until 1981. Other great progressives in recent times serving in the Senate from Wisconsin: Russ Feingold and Tammy Baldwin. And, in 2010, the voters lost their collective minds and replaced Russ Feingold with Ron Johnson, a sociopath and multimillionaire who spent $8.7 million of his own fortune-- and then reelected him in 2016.

Yesterday, Johnson, one of Congress' most ardent and delusional Trumpists and chair of the Homeland Security Committee, held some kind of a crackpot pointless hearing. In fact, he denounced the ranking member, Gary Peters, as a liar, causing to Peter to note that the hearing wasn't supposed to be about Johnson airing his personal grievances and that he was running down some kind of rabbit hole. "This is terrible what you’re doing to this committee." Johnson and Rand Paul used the hearing the repeatedly lie about the election bring stolen.

Johnson is up for reelection-- or retirement-- in 2022 and many people who would love seeing the end of him have been trying to persuade state Senator Chris Larson to run for the seat. Yesterday, after watching the hearings, Larson told me that "Ron Johnson is the shame of Wisconsin. Considering the danger he poses to America's future, more people should know who he is and do what they can to remove him from office. For his entire time in office, he's done little for our state while hoarding a growing pile of conspiracy theories. Most recently, Johnson spent the past year echoing known Russian misinformation about the Biden family and using his position as a US Senator to do it. Johnson has ignored Russian interference in the 2016 election and today, when news is breaking that Russian was likely involved in the largest hack of American intelligence in history, Johnson is using his perch as the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to look past our national security and instead do Russia's bidding to breed distrust in our democracy by highlighting normal (and corrected) errors that happen in any election. Our foreign adversaries could only dream they'd have it so good. Johnson has followed Trump every step of the way. So in two years, when he'll stand for re-election, it's only fitting we make sure he follows him out of public office as well."

Politico reported that Johnson has consistently used chairmanship "to investigate Trump’s political foes-- from Hunter Biden to Hillary Clinton and the slew of Obama administration officials who launched the Russia probe... It’s a risky political gamble for Johnson, who is betting that his embrace of Trump through his prior probes and his upcoming election hearing will energize the president’s base, which remains strong in Wisconsin despite Democratic wins statewide in 2018 and 2020. Still, Johnson’s decision to hold Wednesday’s hearing is drawing bipartisan ire as Trump’s allegations of voter fraud continue to crumble in federal court. It also comes two days after the Electoral College sealed Biden’s victory. Democrats believe Johnson’s strategy, if he intends to run for reelection, is clear: He’s trying to hold onto Trump’s base to power him to a third term. Trump has led his supporters to believe that the 2020 election was rigged against him, and Johnson is feeding that narrative with his recent statements as well as his intention to hold a hearing on the subject."