Wisconsin Embarrassed Over Senator Ron Johnson’s Election Stealing Plot

In 1787 Ben Franklin was leaving Independence Hall upon the conclusion of work at the Constitutional Convention when someone asked what had resulted from the months of work.

History records Franklin responding with “A republic, if you can keep it.”

That quip from what we all most certainly learned in our middle school years came to mind when hearing that Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson sought an avenue to undermine our electoral process and endanger our republic.

A top aide to Sen. Ron Johnson attempted to arrange a handoff of false, pro-Trump electors from the senator to Mike Pence just minutes before the then-vice president began to count electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The aide, Sean Riley, told Pence’s legislative director Chris Hodgson that Johnson wanted to hand Pence lists of the fake electors from Michigan and Wisconsin for Pence to introduce during the counting of electoral votes that certified Joe Biden’s win. The attempt was revealed in text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 select committee during its fourth public hearing on Tuesday.

As Huffington Post strongly inferred in their reporting there is no way to not hold your nose when reading what was attempted when Donald Trump used every means possible to deny Joe Biden his duly elected office.

Trump’s team asked supporters to falsely claim that they were the electors who represented the states’ voters ― and to sign phony slates purportedly delivering Electoral College votes to Trump. The strategy sought to prevent Pence’s certification of the real Electoral College result on Jan. 6, 2021.

During its third hearing, the House committee investigating Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol that day unveiled the text messages between Riley and Hodgson and an additional message from a top Republican official.

In a Jan. 4 text, Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Mark Jefferson wrote: “Freaking trump idiots want someone to fly original elector papers to the senate President.”

The revelation that Johnson tried to give Pence false ballots creates a clear link between the senator and the campaign to overturn the 2020 election. And it underscores the range of public and private ways that prominent Republicans supported Trump’s bid to defy voters and hold on to power while fueling the outrage that drove the assault on the Capitol.

Trump was rejecting the vote counts and also impugning the integrity of the process that our nation relies on for the peaceful transfer of power. Those actions were not only outlandish, but exceedingly un-democratic, and dangerous.

Johnson was aiding and abetting that absurd behavior by also working to subvert an election and seeking to undermine faith in the electoral process.

Throughout life many of us have political opinions, some of them strongly held. As history proves repeatedly such varying views and perspectives are what democracy requires to grow and strengthen. But what has been added in a larger dose to that mix over the past several years is out-and-out liars and demagogues in elected offices.

The platforms they are able to act from allowing for their distorted and harmful rhetoric to reach more people; some being unable to reason that everything a failed president or a headline-seeking senator says may not be true.

Johnson’s dangerous actions and continuing themes to the Republican base, which has proven to be easily deluded, have aided in creating a climate where a final and decisive outcome to the 2020 election in the minds of the GOP base is not possible. That is tremendously dangerous for our nation going forward.

To attempt at undermining a legally, and unambiguous victory for the winner of the election, is THY most damaging action of Trump’s term in office. It is the darkest skid mark of his presidency.

I understand that so much has occurred in the nation since summer 2015, but even so, try to take a step back and consider the audacity that was pointed out in the Jan. 6 hearing today. A sitting senator went out of his way to step on the rule of law, our political institutions, and the election processes of our nation.

To have the nation learn that a Wisconsin senator was involved in a plot that even James Patterson could not concoct with a straight face is more than we should have to endure. I am tired of being embarrassed repeatedly by the actions and words of Ron Johnson. I strongly suspect many of my fellow state residents concur.

The Jan. 6th House Committee is proving what happens when using the poorly informed citizenry for hyper-partisan purposes. The dagger that was placed at the heart of our republic was real and remains a continuing threat. That is why I remain so concerned about the overt messaging of continued lies and the undermining of our institutions which has become a theme among national Republicans.

The attempted subversion of our electoral system to meet Trump’s own twisted and deranged personal ends is precisely what dictators do when the voters say ENOUGH! This is what autocrats do when they feel they have nowhere to hide in the light of day or are unable to play by the rules and laws of normal society.

We do not, however, expect a Wisconsin senator to be a part of such diabolic plots. We simply must have both Wisconsin senators mindful of Franklin’s words from the 18th century.

Senator Ron Johnson Owes Wisconsin An Apology For Being Party To Vaccine/AIDS Lies

There are a number of weighty issues the nation needs to engage in as a war rages in Eastern Europe, medical professionals forecast a sharp increase in COVID cases this fall and into the winter, and a report that there are almost 2 open jobs waiting to be filled for every person who is employed in the nation.

Those three topics are but a sampling of what a working member of congress could be preoccupied with any hour of the day, any day of the week.

So it was most alarming to read this past week that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson found the time to saddle alongside Todd Callender, who is a wild-eyed anti-vaccination zealot. That is a charitable characterization on my part.

During the bizarre teleconference campaign event for Johnson, Callender linked COVID vaccines as causing AIDS.

“You’ve got more than 100 doctors here, all of whom will tell you that these shots caused vaccine-induced AIDS. They purposefully gave people AIDS”.

Now, before I go one sentence further I must address in a factual way this absolute lie. Having been employed by Madison’s AIDS Network in 2003, in part to fashion the start of a program for medication adherence, I know how vital facts are to this disease. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is not caused by vaccines. Furthermore, AIDS is the third stage of HIV and when AIDS occurs, the immune system has been severely damaged.  PERIOD.

I also know the need for science to be respected, medical professionals heeded, and how tremendously effective medications are for ones in need, regardless of the disease up for discussion. So it was very concerning to read that once again Johnson was attempting to smear a vaccine that is proving worldwide to be a significant change-maker.

What was shocking and utterly dismaying was how Johnson gave wiggle room and oxygen to Callender’s crazy notion that maybe the coronavirus vaccines are a means of deliberately transmitting AIDS. In the video conference not once does Johnson fight back in any way on the idea that vaccines caused AIDS.

The video shows that Johnson says, “Everything you say may be true, but right now the public views the vaccines as largely safe and effective, that vaccine injuries are rare and mild. That is the narrative. That’s what the vast majority of the public accepts. So until we get a larger percentage of the population with their eyes open, to: Whoa, these vaccine injuries are real. Why? You’ve got to do step by step.”

I felt we knew Johnson’s full lack of appreciation for science when in 2010 he announced that “I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change”. He added, “It’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time.”

During the COVID pandemic, however, we have been treated to Johnson’s absolute rejection of science with wildly ridiculous statements over and over again, such as suggesting that mouthwash would cure the problem.

He was not shy about suggesting that it was acceptable to lose between 1% and 3 % of the American population so to keep the economy in the nation pushing forward. That would be upwards of 3 million of our fellow citizens dying.

 “….getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population”.

Acting with callous disregard for the citizens of the state is one thing, as with the above statement, but being a part of the spreading of absolute lies about the public vaccines in relation to AIDS requires more than moving on to the next campaign event.

It requires a full-throated and sincere apology from Ron Johnson to Wisconsin.

The vaccines have proven to be highly effective in reducing deaths and hospitalizations and it is unacceptable for a United State Senator to in any way be a party to the spreading of lies about such a life-saving measure.

Yes, Johnson is in election mode, but that does not negate his responsibility to put health care facts above whatever demographic within the Republican Party he was playing to with Callender.

It is true that many of Johnson’s past statements lacked empathy, and were just weird. But being party to the spreading of groundless and dangerous lies about the vaccine is a step into a moral hole Johnson needs to apologize for now.

And so it goes.

Conservative Republicans, Like Ron Johnson, Play To Under-Educated Base

There seems to be a race underway in the nation where elected conservative Republicans seek to dive deeper into absurdity in an attempt to be nuttier than the previous one.

In Wisconsin, we were offered more outlandish buffoonery from Senator Ron Johnson who stated in a town hall meeting he had an idea about combatting COVID.

“Standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus. If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?” (For the record this is not actual science and rebuked by medical professionals.)

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie posed his family in front of a decorated tree with all hefting military-type assault weapons for a Christmas greeting, shortly after the Oxford High School gun massacre.

Meanwhile, Tom McMillin, a Republican from Oakland Township, proposed in a social media post that mandatory school attendance be removed in Michigan. He is a member of the Michigan State Board of Education!

I recall during my years as Door County Democratic Chairperson talking with a wide array of people at events such as the annual fair or when campaigning door-to-door for local candidates. At times, I encountered some of the most unbelievable sets of views and ideas that could be imagined. So what is being reported, all too often, in our newspapers and online is not new. Right-wing lunacy has long-been part of our political narrative.

What is so troubling now, however, is that instead of the tin-foil hatted folks being aberrations in the party they now are the base of the GOP. But that is not how I first came to know conservatives.

In my teenage years, I started watching Firing Line with William F. Buckley. He was a conservative with a vocabulary that reached out through the television set and made me sit up and pay attention. In my rural upbringing reasoned approaches to the world seemed utterly sound to me. Then I graduated from high school, left home, and encountered the world.

My first job was working in radio broadcasting in Door County. With a red streak that then ran very deep, the local politics was not for a faint-hearted liberal Democrat. I found, however, that the vast majority on the other side of the aisle were logical and reasoned with varying points and perspectives about the issues of the day.

The conspiracy-laden John Birch Society and the truly unhinged Posse Comitatus crowd were in the county, and not ashamed to spill their views when answering their front door during an election year. Tigerton Dells was then a topic in Wisconsin and those headlines concerning the Posse seemed to embolden that segment of the electorate. I was soon most aware that enlightenment liberalism was not spread evenly across our state.

But that element was a narrow sliver of the whole. Today, however, the under-educated within the GOP revel in their status and expect the rest of us to meet them at that level. Republican officeholders encourage the ridiculous ideas and notions so as to retain power, rather than seeking to better inform and lift up the voters.

There have always been times of great transition and uncertainty in the nation where politicians have used fear to spin a message and gain office. Today class divisions and market revolutions, continuing demand for power and rights among groups from Blacks to transgenders, along with a shifting electorate that is more brown and diverse provide the combustible elements for current conservative pols.

But what is most dismaying is the low level that conservative Republicans will dive into when playing to their base. Such tactics are dangerous to a democracy that does rely on educated citizens to make sound decisions about the path forward for a nation.

John Adams wrote the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Though he penned that public education should be at the heart of that state’s understanding of government, it is easy to see how elected officeholders can, and should, also be teachers and ones who impart facts to the citizenry. He wrote that “wisdom and knowledge . . . diffused generally among the body of the people [are] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.”

I wish conservative Republicans would ponder the role they need to play when speaking to their base of support.

And so it goes.

Ron Johnson Pulls A Lyndon Johnson And Tells The Truth, Both Men Recorded

The front page of the Wisconsin State Journal on Wednesday, September 1st, was not only an account of the latest news to be reported. Above the fold on the front page was also a reminder as to why duplicity is never a good quality to be found in our elected officials.

Reporter Riley Vetterkind wrote that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson recently said: “there’s nothing obviously skewed about the results” of the 2020 presidential election in the Badger State.

The weight of that remark from Johnson made to Lauren Windsor, who posed as a conservative when speaking to the Senator is most important. She recorded the conversation as executive producer of the liberal political web show The Undercurrent, and also runs Project Veritas Exposed, an effort to unveil the work of Project Veritas, a conservative organization that has secretly recorded Democrats and liberals.

Within hours after the close of presidential balloting across our nation in November 2020, a concerted effort started so to create a climate where a final and decisive outcome, within the minds of some voters, was not possible. There has never been such an unseemly display before in our country where the continuous peaceful handing off of presidential power was attempted to be thwarted.

The all-out attempt to delude and utterly confuse a sizable segment of Donald Trump’s conservative base into believing that chicanery and out-right illegal actions had prevented Trump from prevailing remains the darkest hours of his term. Those actions still pose a danger to the country.

To undermine a legally and unambiguous victory to the winner of the 2020 election remains a dangerous dagger to the heart of our democracy. Overtly adding doubt and fomenting chaos when an election is over erodes the faith in elections that must be retained by the citizenry.

Yet that is precisely what Ron Johnson did.

Johnson has elevated theories that have cast doubt on the election’s results.

In December, after Trump’s campaign had lost its Wisconsin election lawsuits in both state and federal courts, Johnson held a hearing where he invited one of the president’s lawyers, Jim Troupis, to testify. Troupis proceeded to assert the same theories that had been rejected in multiple courts.

Troupis testified that “more than 200,000” Wisconsin residents did not vote legally in Wisconsin, a number that included more than 170,000 residents who voted early at their local clerk’s office using a form that had been in place for more than a decade. Troupis himself was among those voters.

The duplicity can be then proved in Johnson’s recorded comments to Windsor.

“There’s nothing obviously skewed about the results,” Johnson told the woman. “There isn’t. Collectively, Republicans got 1.661 million votes, 51,000 votes more than Trump got. Trump lost by 20,000. If Trump got all the Republicans, if all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for the Assembly candidates … he would have won. He didn’t get 51,000 votes that other Republicans got. And that’s why he lost.”

When I read the newspaper article I thought of another Johnson who talked publicly to the nation with one set of words, and then privately, also in a recording, had a much different view on the topic of the day.

President Lyndon Johnson was determined not to lose Vietnam on his watch to the communists. He made it clear to the nation he was going to be committed to victory. But in private Johnson was honest and knew he playing a losing game with the lives of the Marines he was then sending to South East Asia.

On Feb. 26, 1965, when Johnson orders his secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, to launch Operation Rolling Thunder, which will drop more bombs on the North Vietnamese than on all of Europe in World War II, he is melancholy. “Now we’re off to bombing these people,” he says. “We’re over that hurdle. I don’t think anything is going to be as bad as losing, and I don’t see any way of winning.”

A week later, when he decides to send Marine battalions to Vietnam, Johnson gloomily tells Senate Armed Services chairman Richard Russell, “The great trouble I’m under [is that] a man can fight if he can see daylight down the road somewhere. But there ain’t no daylight in Vietnam. There’s not a bit.”

I realize we ask a lot of any elected official. We want them to respond with helpful advice concerning constituent problems, support our views on the complex issues of the day, and arrive on time for the summer parades in our communities. We know that these men and women are human, and make mistakes.

But there is no way to rationalize away or pretend otherwise when it comes to the unconscionable way Johnson has played so loose and fast with one of the essential threads of the fabric which binds our democracy together. Being forthright and honest is a virtue that we try to impart to our children. It is certainly one that we must demand when it comes to a United States Senator.

History shows what happens when duplicity replaces honesty and candor.

And so it goes.

What If Ron Johnson Does Not Run For Senate?

If a politician were seeking another term in office would they say the types of things that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has over the past year? While national politics can be overly frothy does not Wisconsin values hope for a more credible foundation from our top elected officials?

During the past months, I have reached a conclusion, based on his behavior, that Johnson is not seeking another Senate term. Whether he is tired, bored, or seeking another path in life no one looking to garner support among the electorate talks so bizarrely.

Perhaps the most over-the-top moment occurred when Johnson voiced support for using hydroxychloroquine against the COVID-19 virus, which forced YouTube to suspend his account. We, of course, have been treated to a number of such truly befuddling statements.

“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me”

If you have a vaccine, quite honestly, what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?”

One could continue the listing of truly odd and troubling quotes from Johnson. My point is not to prove his lack of awareness about issues of the day but rather how adrift he is from acting as a serious contender for another 6-year term in office. Especially given that Johnson would be the only incumbent Republican running in a state won by President Joe Biden.

So what happens when Johnson makes an announcement about spending more time with his wife and taking long vacations rather than seeking re-election?

The Democratic Party will have no problem locating talent for the 2022 race. State Senators Chris Larson, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes are but two names in the arena, and the base will be very energized to replace Johnson with one of their own.

Without an elder statesman of the Republican Party at this juncture, however, given Scott Walker was defeated and Paul Ryan retired, means Wisconsin’s GOP would be in a bind should Johnson see the election writing on the wall and depart, too. At that point, the Senate primary fight will be a very expensive venture.

Surely it will be mean-spirited, too.

Consider what will be required of a candidate to attract the Trump base in August, and still need the independent and middle-of-the-road voters in the general election. We have heard the type of remarks Johnson made to that base and one needs to ask how many other Republicans would be willing to act in like fashion? Is a Senate seat truly worth it if one has to sell out principles and common sense just to get the nomination?

The question will soon be–I strongly suspect–who among state Republicans wish to head in that direction and then think they can weave the stitch to capture the broader electorate in the fall race come 2022?

It will not be pretty, but it will be grand political theater.

And so it goes.

Hey Ron Johnson, Bipartisanship Is A Grand Way To Govern

When it comes to Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson there is really only one certainty we can say about the man. Without knowing what topic he will land on, we can be assured that what he says will challenge facts.

That is what took place this week when he undermined the act of bipartisanship on national television.

During a Fox News interview Ron Johnson once again came out against bipartisan infrastructure efforts that would positively impact communities across Wisconsin. However, Johnson didn’t stop at criticizing the bipartisan infrastructure efforts; he came out swinging against the very idea of working in a bipartisan manner saying, “I always warn people [to] beware of bipartisanship.”

One can calculate a couple scenarios as to why Johnson repeatedly wades into rhetorical swamps. He is either playing to a base of the Republican Party for an election in 2022, or he is finished with elected office and simply intends to say anything that comes to mind.

What can not be disputed, however, is the fact-less terrain on which he wishes to position himself. While we surely desire to have our top elected officials from the state be wedded to history and logic that is not what we are witnessing. As one who always likes to have the nation see the best exhibited by our state, such moments as this one troubles me.

The streets in my Madison neighborhood are named for the signers of the Constitution.  When friends visit we go for a walk and given my interests a few quick stories are offered about the men who made history in 1787. Much of the document they created was based on compromise. For instance, William (Paterson Street) wanted a unicameral legislature, but the great compromise of creating a two-body congressional model allowed for the ultimate success of their larger document.

In so doing they did not think that such bending was a weakness but fully understood the greater good to be gained with mutual concessions. That is how the whole of our history has been conducted. Though Johnson was not elected in 1996 he surely heard of the welfare reform measure where Republicans achieved work requirements and Democrats placed education dollars and child care funding into the final bill.

No one got all they wanted. But that is is precisely what compromise is. It is the art of governing.

Whether we voted for Johnson, or not, it becomes central to his mission, once sworn into office, to work at representing the will of the people. I do not hear or read that the ‘folks back home’ are clamoring for more of the harsh rhetoric or the digging of an ever-deeper chasm between the parties. Rather it is most clear from letters to the editor and conversations on Wisconsin Public Radio that state residents want the rhetorical sniping to end and progress to be made on issues of the day.

Though the news reports several weeks ago all pointed to the fact both parties reached an agreement at making Juneteenth a federal holiday, and some even commented on how pleased people were over that mutual agreement, it also underscores what is wrong with congress.

Such legislative moments should not be so rare they merit headline attention. Compromise and governing should be the norm, not the exception. That mindset should be the way our elected officials act when conducting themselves on the national stage.

And so it goes.

Mrs. Ron Johnson’s Main Embarrassment Is Her Clown Of A Husband

It takes a special kind of stupid to get kicked off YouTube for a week. But conservative wingnut Ron Johnson achieved that notoriety today.

YouTube suspended the most embarrassing politician from Wisconsin, since Joe McCarthy, from posting videos on the platform for one week over his remarks touting unproven treatments for COVID-19. That he is severely stupid is not a revelation, but placing the health and well-being of people in danger due to that stupidity must be stopped.

The reason for the smackdown was that Johnson did not even come close to abiding with policies not to promote misinformation about COVID-19. What Mrs. Ron Johnson’s main embarrassment did was promote experimental treatments for COVID-19 like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. To be clear, such ‘treatments’ are a joke, and worse yet, dangerous.

The Johnson video that was taken down showed the uneducated rube launching into the Biden administration over its response to the pandemic and then touting the two unproven, and potentially dangerous drugs.

Cutting to the core on this matter is if the American voters won’t deal with the corrupt and willfully misleading politicians like Johnson, then social media platforms have to do it. This is a most classic example. Protecting the health of the citizenry from the Trump cult, which Johnson proves to be a leading sycophant within, requires much stronger actions by the likes of YouTube.

I applaud the decision.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Ron Johnson is needing to hide her shame in public, once again, due to her idiot clown of a husband. One does have to wonder and ask if her parents warned, prior to the wedding day, about what she was doing?

Senator Ron Johnson Wants Honest Answers, And So Do We!

While we all should applaud the desire to have honest answers to questions asked it does make for snickers when that sentiment is expressed by Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.

In a desire to learn of the origins of the COVID outbreak, a scientific undertaking that has been ongoing so to allow for medical experts to better learn about the pandemic, Johnson is hoping for honest answers. The degree to which China was aware, or not, of the virus outbreak prior to their original announcement of cases is important to those tracking where this outbreak first started.

While we all agree with Johnson about the need for honest answers it does sound rather hollow given his lack of candor along with his continuous obfuscation about a raft of issues. When it comes to COVID Johnson has undermined science and medical advice so as to further conspiracy-driven ideas. He has promoted vaccine skeptics and those who are critical of masking and social distancing.

So when it comes to the Senator’s stated desire now for honest answers pardon the rest of us for snickering.

The reason for our response to Johnson is his lack of self-awareness about not wishing to find out or reveal what the citizenry, and his constituents, have a right to know.

First up, an issue that strikes to the heart of our national government, and our American ideals. Plainly put, the nation must have honest and complete answers about the deadly insurrection and riot on January 6th. We need a bipartisan commission and a commitment from Johnson that honest and complete answers will be provided.

While Johnson is in the mood for honesty, he might provide some information about his stock sales made after an intelligence meeting in the Senate. It was too cozy that senators sold significant amounts of stock before the coronavirus decimated the financial markets. The rest of the nation just rode out the calamity in the markets without inside knowledge.

It is troubling that there needs to be such a point made about the desire for honesty and the complicated relationship an elected official from our state has with this virtuous trait. For too long Johnson has deceived and manipulated the truth, and purposely misled and distorted facts for his odd and strange designs. So no one can believe that his desire for truth now is based on, well, truth.