June 22, 2010

Johnson misrepresents Feingold Senate vote

Being the first of many misrespresentations to come, undoubtedly.

Not so long ago, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Dave Westlake served as last-minute understudy for missing GOP rival Ron Johnson at a Madison, Wisconsin Tea Party affair.

Johnson disappeared after his notoriously "disastrous" performance last week, a YouTubed excursion to a deep woods Patriot clubhouse where Johnson dismayed Tea Party sympathizers not only with his inability to address specific Tea concerns, but with his failure to even recognize their most cherished constitutional ideals.

Some were led to wonder: Was he Tea or wasn't he GOP?

Yesterday morning Johnson emerged in the affluent Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield presumably after days of relentless murder-boarding with his new internets research specialist to face Westlake and WisPolitics.com's intrepid presenter Steven Walters.*

U.S. legal system derived from Bible stories

Seizing another opportunity, Westlake went on Full Tea Mode in Brookfield, calling for the abolition of the federal Departments of Education and Energy along with the IRS. He announced that in every Biblical story, one "undeniably" finds a little bit of Constitution, some Declaration of Independence, and a treatise on patent and trademark prosecution, and that the Second Amendment "defines who we are."

He proclaimed the Federal Reserve "a consumer threat," denounced Obama for performing "nothing more than a shakedown" on British Petroleum yachtsman-in-chief Tony Hayward, whose industry's safety record Westlake deemed "impeccable," and demanded that obese, sedentary tobacco smokers accept responsibility for their own poor health and stop insisting everybody else pay to take care of them.

Westlake also spoke emotionally of values and morality and especially moral hazards (to wit, federal unemployment benefits extended for another week or two, and their resultant Devilish temptation of the beneficiary to remain unemployed in perpetuity, in accordance with Tea Party psychology and prophesy).

Mr. Ron Johnson was less than truthful

Candidate Johnson came armed with new quips researched and served up from the deep recesses of the Googles, including one about how Senator Russ Feingold "voted for funding a sanctuary cities [sic]." Which sounds a lot like, "Feingold voted directly in support of something having to do with funding whatever thing it is that makes a sanctuary city a sanctuary city," doesn't it?

Except Johnson's implication is just a bit wide of the mark. Last October, Feingold voted to table (kill) a one-liner nuisance amendment advanced by wingnut Republican Sens. David Vitter and James Inhofe to withhold funding from COPS, a program in place and duly appropriated for since 1994. COPS is devoted to assisting selected local law enforcement engaged in specialized challenges.

For example, combating the social blight and attendant crime of methamphetamine addiction in distressed communities where State or municipal resources are otherwise unavailable.

There wasn't any connection between any particular city's so-called sanctuary ordinance — which discourages municipal employees from participating in immigration investigations except where required by the law — and COPS. Save that connection fabricated inside the roiling medullae oblongatae of Messrs. Vitter and Inhofe.

In fact a number of Republicans joined Sen. Feingold in opposing Vitter and Inhofe's transparent, regressive grandstanding.

Johnson said of immigration, which he claimed "is one of the weakest issues [Feingold's] on," that Feingold "has a zero rating from a group that basically calls for open borders." But wouldn't that be a good thing? Perhaps it will take Johnson a few more days to properly digest all of that newly discovered internets research.

Elena Kagan already "probably disqualified"

In a similar vein, Johnson also asserted that Feingold "voted for partial birth abortion seven times." Obviously nobody votes for "partial birth abortion." But Russ Feingold has certainly voted against placing onerous federal restrictions on women's access to what is and has been for decades — whether Ron Johnson likes it or not — a legal and constitutionally protected right: "the settled law of the land."

Johnson's embedded accusation that supporters of abortion's safe and legal availability are by definition active proponents of infanticide may be the most disingenuous of conservative Republican fallacies.

Among other freshly released Johnson zingers, the candidate determined that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan** was "probably disqualified" for "actually den[ying] access to military recruiters at Harvard" (another falsehood) and that the very thought of Obama having the authority to appoint federal judges was "depressing."

And he repeated his nonsense about knee replacements in Canada, adding a new twist: that it's not unusual to wait one year to receive a coronary bypass in Germany, which sounds equally preposterous.

WisconsinEye supplies the video.

* Sample Walters inquiry: "Do you support President Obama's move to require BP to set up a $20 million [sic] trust fund for oil spill damage that came ahead of any formal finding of criminal or civil negligence?" Both candidates answered "No" based almost entirely on the response Walters had thoughtfully provided in the question.

** Said Dave Westlake of Elena Kagan: "I don't have a whole lot of confidence in nominee Kagan. She's never served in any capacity similar to what she'd be experiencing on the federal court." But neither has Westlake served in any capacity similar to what he'd be experiencing in the federal legislature. As such, not among the most compelling or tactical objections to Elena Kagan's qualifications.

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