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In response to Senator Johnson calling climate change “bullsh*t,” activists with MoveOn and Next Gen PAC toured the Milwaukee area with a new life-size statue of Johnson made of literal BS, a manure-based fertilizer. The groups hope to engage climate-conscious voters to defeat Johnson’s reelection bid in November. (Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for MoveOn)

Ron Johnson Stinks

Johnson has spent the last 12 years in Washington as a national embarrassment.

Another election campaign, and once again the political marketers are portraying Ron Johnson as your favorite uncle, a simple Wisconsin man looking out for the best interests of the state's people.

He has called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and expressed support for changing its permanent funding to annual budgetary consideration, risking the entire pension program to the ever-changing whims of politicians.

The truth, of course, is that Johnson has spent the last 12 years in Washington as a national embarrassment, and if the Democrats fail to get that message across, he'll spend another six years in the nation's capital sucking up to Donald Trump and acting like Joe McCarthy reincarnated.

Johnson's campaign and the special interests backing him have hammered home a message that completely ignores what the Oshkosh Republican actually stands for, but paints his opponent, Mandela Barnes, as some sort of dangerous Black guy who would unleash rapists and other criminals on the good people of Wisconsin.

Never mind that one U.S. senator has no role in such matters. The polls indicate that the negative scenario is having an effect, especially on independent voters.

Particularly egregious are the ads being sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that many observers liken to the infamous Willie Horton ads that helped George H.W. Bush get elected in 1988.

The $1.2 million online and television attack ad against Barnes exploits the awful scene of a car plowing into a crowd watching the Christmas parade in Waukesha last winter. Six people died and 62 were injured.

The ad falsely attacks Barnes for his stance on eliminating cash bail for certain crimes. The slow-motion images of the suspect in the case, Darrell Brooks, who is Black, are juxtaposed with Barnes, who also happens to be Black. And just in case you aren't sure, the ad is tinted to make Barnes's skin darker than it actually is.

Meanwhile, a Johnson ad contends that Barnes, if elected, will join the so-called "squad" of House members—with images of Reps. Cori Bush, D-Missouri, Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York,—who it describes as socialists hell-bent on defunding the police.

Barnes, who has said he isn't in favor of defunding police, is running for the Senate, not the House. But when you're trying to paint your opponent as a menacing villain, why worry about such subtleties?

When it comes to Ron Johnson's sorry record in Congress, there is no need to be subtle. There's a reason that earlier this year we labeled him the worst U.S. senator in Wisconsin history, and that includes Joe McCarthy, whose demagoguery had had the entire nation questioning how in the world we sent that guy to the Senate.

Do we really want to reward with another six years a millionaire politician who helped himself and fellow millionaires to even more riches by securing loopholes in Trump's tax "reform" back in 2017?

That, however, was far from the worst of it. Johnson became a toady for the disgraced president, spouting garbage about the "stolen" election, willing to decertify the vote in far-away Arizona, acting as an errand boy to deliver fake Electoral College ballots to the vice president, and proposing that Wisconsin change its election procedures so that his fellow Republicans in the Legislature would have the final say on the results.

After the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that sent him and other U.S. senators fleeing, he contended that he would have been more afraid of the rioters who rampaged the Capitol had they been members of Black Lives Matter and antifa.

Early during Trump's administration, he frequently sided with Russia and Putin's claims about Ukraine, insisting Trump did nothing wrong when he proposed that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky give him dirt on Hunter Biden in return for U.S. aid.

He has called climate change "bullshit." At one point he declared that the mouthwash Listerine could kill the COVID virus and spent months questioning the efficacy of vaccinations, ignoring the fact that even if people become infected the vaccine could keep them out of hospitals and possibly keep them alive.

"I'd say that he's so misguided that it makes me wonder whether this is all just an act," CNN's medical expert Jonathan Reiner commented. "And if this is not an act, then he is just the most ignorant man in the United States Senate. And that says a lot."

He has called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and expressed support for changing its permanent funding to annual budgetary consideration, risking the entire pension program to the ever-changing whims of politicians.

Now he's trying to change his image, once again insisting he's a Mr. Nice Guy whose only concern is the welfare of Wisconsin's citizens.

If the Democrats let him get by with it, shame on them.

© 2021 The Capital Times

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