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

Republican senator draws parallel between his campaign, 9/11

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is among this year’s most vulnerable incumbents, so it’s tempting to assume he’d be extra cautious when making his pitch to voters. If this Politico report is any indication, the Wisconsin Republican is going in the opposite direction.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson on Saturday compared the 2016 election to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying he is “panicked” about this “consequential” year.
 
Johnson was speaking this weekend at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention in Green Bay, and he made the comments as he was telling those who attended the function the story of Flight 93 – the airliner that ultimately crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001. The crash occurred after the passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers rather than have the plane continue toward the hijackers’ intended target.
According to the Associated Press’ account, Johnson told Republicans, “We’ve all heard Todd Beamer’s iconic words ‘Let’s roll,’” referring to United Flight 93. “How American is that? We have a job to do, let’s roll up our shirt sleeves. Let’s get it done.”
 
Evidently, the far-right senator sees a parallel between the efforts on 9/11 to stop terrorists and the efforts to help him keep his Senate job for another six years.
 
“The reason I like telling that story now as we head into the election season is we all know what we need to do,” Johnson said. “November 2016 we’ll be taking a vote. We’ll be encouraging our fellow citizens to take a vote. Now, it may not be life and death, like the vote passengers on United Flight 93 took, but boy is it consequential.”
 
As comparisons go, it’s hard to imagine why in the world Johnson would say any of this. Are we to believe the senator believes there’s some parallel between his campaign and United Flight 93? What exactly does the Wisconsin Republican believe will happen if he loses?
 
As for the senator’s Greatest Hits collection, Johnson’s rhetorical track record isn’t doing his campaign any favors. Not only did he get caught up in an odd fight a few years ago over the “Lego Movie,” of all things,  but when Johnson signed onto a letter to Iran in order to sabotage American foreign policy during sensitive negotiations, his explanation wasn’t especially coherent.
 
Johnson also referred during a radio interview last year to “idiot inner-city kids,” though he later said he was being sarcastic.
 
As for his 9/11 comparison, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said in a statement this morning, “Ron Johnson’s comments are beyond the pale. Using the memories of the heroes of Flight 93 in service of your re-election bid is crass, offensive and deeply troubling for any public official, not to mention a sitting U.S. Senator. Ron Johnson should apologize for his comments immediately.”
 
 

Ron Johnson and Wisconsin

Republican senator draws parallel between his campaign, 9/11