Perhaps no congressional Republican is quite as vulnerable as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Given the tough rematch he’ll face with former Sen. Russ Feingold (D), one might assume the far-right incumbent would be going out of his way to be as impressive as possible.
If that’s the plan, it’s not going well. Just in recent months, Johnson has been caught up in an odd fight over the “Lego Movie”; his ridiculous anti-Obamacare lawsuit was laughed out of court; and his defense for signing onto a letter intended to sabotage American foreign policy wasn’t especially coherent.
Today, however, seemed to reach a new low. Max Fisher reported, for example, on today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Top administration officials are at Congress today for a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Iran nuclear deal, a subject that has always brought out the crazy in American politicians.No one expected this hearing to be anything other than a circus: The deal is politically contentious, and Republicans are trying to out-hawk one another for the coming presidential primaries. Congress did not disappoint.
Johnson, who Republicans also made chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, took the opportunity to lecture Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, an M.I.T. physicist, on “electro-magnetic pulse weapons.” Moniz, naturally, said he had no idea what Johnson was talking about, prompting the Wisconsin senator to say he’d forward the secretary some information.
That’s really not necessary. Right-wing chatter about EMP weapons is quite foolish and this nonsense has no place in a Senate debate over international nuclear policy. Fisher added, “Johnson’s line of questioning, to a top-of-his-field nuclear physicist, is a little like asking Neil Armstrong if he thinks the moon landing might have been faked.”
Wait, it gets worse.
BuzzFeed reports today that a political action committee supporting Johnson has a new television ad touting the senator’s opposition to the Iran deal – an agreement he rejects despite his apparent confusion about the subject matter – featuring an image of President Obama shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Obama and Rouhani have never met. The image is a fake. Asked why the PAC photoshopped the image, Johnson’s backers had no idea what photoshop is.
When asked for comment, Restoration PAC spokesman Dan Curry told BuzzFeed News, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re saying that’s a photoshop – can you explain what you’re talking about?”
The commercial was reportedly produced by an admaker who worked on the Swift Boat smear campaign against John Kerry in 2004.
Correction: Restoration PAC is a political action committee that supports Johnson’s position, but it’s not Johnson’s super PAC. The above text has been corrected.