Sen. Ron Johnson: Mouth Over-Used, Ears Neglected

You might have noticed that I was out all last week. I had the second cold of the season, which is weird. Unfortunately, the surest way to give me writer's block is to stuff my sinuses and wrap my head in that weird cloud-of-cotton feeling you get with a rhinovirus. As a result, I managed only to watch a bunch of TV -- along with quite a few episodes of MST3k.

But if you thought I was hiding my face in shame as a Wisconsinite, though, that would've been a good guess. After all, we're the state that elected Sen. Ron Johnson, who John Nichols writes will never "be accused of being the sharpest tack in the box." If you want to instantly grasp Johnson's intellectual power, imagine a diehard Rush Limbaugh fan with the wherewithal to buy a senate seat. That's him. That's the guy in a nutshell. Nearly always steered 100% wrong by his local talk radio station and convinced beyond question that he's 100% right. A blockhead and a blowhard, inexplicably given the title of "Very Important Man."

Nichols' weekend column also says that during the first two years of his first term, Johnson "didn’t do much and wasn’t noticed much. While he ranted and raved about debts and deficits, he voted as a predictable partisan. He rarely dissented from the party line and the media — and most Americans — paid him little mind."

Then this happened...

[Huffington Post:]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got testy on Capitol Hill Wednesday in response to a query from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who called into question her department's accounting of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Facing expected scrutiny from Republicans during her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton appeared to take exception to Johnson's pointed inquiry into the State Department's initial report that the attack had been mounted spontaneously as a reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube video.

"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," Clinton responded, raising her voice at Johnson, who continued to interrupt her. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."

In case you haven't seen it, the video is here. Long story short, Johnson was being a hectoring fool. Clinton wasn't repeating the lies he'd heard from Limbaugh, so he kept asking idiotic questions -- then interrupting the answers with more idiotic questions. So Sec. Clinton finally had enough and shut him up and shut him down. After getting a earful from her, Sen. Johnson suddenly had no more questions for Madam Secretary.

Of course, the embarrassment was too much to bear, so he later blamed Clinton for his own ignorance and lack of preparation. "It was theatrics," Johnson told Charlie Sykes -- Milwaukee's local version of Rush Limbaugh. "Again, she didn’t want to answer questions so she makes a big show of it." That doesn't really explain why you shut down your questioning and retreated with your tail between your legs, does it Senator?

Nor does it explain this...

[Talking Points Memo:]

At his secretary of state confirmation hearing Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) called out Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for missing a classified briefing on the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Johnson pressed Kerry to commit to finding out what, exactly, happened on Sept. 11, 2012 at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

"Well, there was a briefing with tapes, which we all saw, those of us who went to it, which made it crystal clear," Kerry said. "We sat for several hours with our intel folks, who described to us precisely what we were seeing. We saw the events unfold. We had a very complete and detailed description."

There's another video at that link. But the condensed version is that Johnson kept badgering Kerry about why we don't know this and why we don't know that, so Kerry answered they we do know this and that -- and so would Johnson if he could manage to pry himself away from Fox News and attend an actual briefing for once in his life. Once again, Johnson's belief in his mastery of the facts led to his own humiliation. The man is a clown.

A few months back, the congressional newspaper Roll Call quote an anonymous "senior GOP aide" as saying that Johnson rubs even his Republican colleagues the wrong way. "He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals," the aide said. "It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store."

I can only imagine how infuriating it must be to be lectured by a dope as wrong on the facts as Johnson has recently proved himself to be. I would avoid him like the plague -- and that would include working with him. Now wonder John Nichols was able to note that Johnson hasn't accomplished much of anything so far.

And thank your lucky stars for that, because this is what Johnson had hoped to accomplish (emphasis mine):

... If Johnson and others like him win, they seem less interested in plunging into specific legislation and more inclined to wage a philosophical messaging war to change the GOP and the nature of governance. Asked what innovative ideas he might push in office, Johnson didn't talk of tax reform or private Social Security accounts, or of anything a conventional senator might do.

Instead, he committed himself to a "re-education of America" and talked about how expectations of government help are spinning wildly out of control, creating “a culture of dependency" that has little appreciation for what it takes for individuals and businesses to thrive. One could easily hear Angle in Nevada and Paul in Kentucky making the same case, with the same intensity, using the same words to win — and planning the same approach if elected.

Mr. Talk-Radio-For-Brains is committed to "reeducating" you. As I said, be thankful he hasn't succeeeded or you'd be as much of a clueless dope as he is.


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