Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., joined by attorneys Paul D. Clement, far left, and Rick Esenberg, second from left, announces that he has filed a lawsuit to block the federal government from helping to pay for health care coverage for members of Congress and their staffs, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Even now, Ron Johnson sticks to his far-right vision

The game plan for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) should be relatively straightforward. The far-right senator is seeking re-election in a traditionally blue state, running against a respected and well-known former officeholder, in a year in which Donald Trump is likely to lose his home state of Wisconsin. Campaign Management 101 suggests Johnson, behind in the polls, should downplay his more extreme positions and present himself as a pragmatic centrist.

The Republican incumbent, however, is ignoring the conventional strategy and going with a riskier approach.

In June, for example, Johnson launched campaign ads that made it seem as if he weren’t already in office. More recently, the GOP senator echoed Donald Trump’s bizarre rhetoric questioning the integrity of the voting process: “How many times have we talked about fraudulent voter registration drives? There’s been stories, there’s been evidence accumulating for literally decades of this, and the Clinton emails prove that’s exactly what they do. This is a concerted effort on their part. Whether it’s ACORN or Organize for America, Democrats engage in a concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes.”

First, none of this is true. Second, ACORN? Seriously?

Yesterday, as the Huffington Post noted, Johnson kept going, trying to make the case that the climate crisis, which he often pretends doesn’t exist, isn’t a big deal.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Monday said he doesn’t think people should worry about finding solutions to climate change ― because historically, “civilization thrives” in warmer temperatures.

“Climate has already changed, always will. I’m just not an alarmist. We will adapt,” Johnson told Wisconsin radio station WHBY. “How many people are moving up toward the Antarctica, or the Arctic? Most people move down to Texas or Florida, where it’s a little bit warmer.”
This is the same Wisconsin Republican who has argued that snow in Greenland is evidence of global cooling; “sunspot activity” is responsible for global warming; and those who want to address the crisis are similar to Joseph Stalin and Hugo Chavez.

So much for moving to the middle ahead of the election.

Johnson, however, is not without his conservative admirers. George Will, who seems to use his syndicated column quite a bit to promote vulnerable Republican incumbents, sang the Wisconsin senator’s praises over the weekend.