On “Meet the Press” 10 days ago Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson maintained that his and fellow Republicans’ efforts to scrutinize if not challenge electoral college results from the Nov. 3 presidential election stem from the “grossly biased media’s” refusal to accept President Trump’s election four years ago.
Republicans and conservatives distrust the mainstream media, Johnson told host Chuck Todd.
Wise words, those, as just 10 years ago this small-town, “grossly biased” editorial writer was the first in the state to endorse Johnson.
I was publisher, co-owner and opinion scribe for this newspaper back then and, in hindsight, I was not to be trusted.
I had met the then 56-year-old businessman in July 2010 at Lifest, an annual Christian music festival 20 miles east of Ripon in Oshkosh.
Impressed by his common-sense critique of Democrat profligacy resulting in out-of-control entitlement programs, deficit spending and an “unsustainable $13.2 trillion debt,” I called Johnson’s campaign office and invited the candidate to visit Ripon so I could snap a photo to accompany my endorsement editorial — his first in Wisconsin.
On July 29, 2010, I published my take on the U.S. Senate race, urging Ripon readers in an editorial headlined, “Vote for common sense; Elect Johnson” to back the Oshkosh upstart. Below the headline ran a rare photo of a tie-less Johnson, smiling (also atypical) in front of Ripon’s Little White Schoolhouse, where disgruntled Whigs, Democrats and Free Soilers opposed to the spread of slavery into American territories had gathered in 1854 to found the Republican Party.
In keeping with the Republican value of limited government, Johnson promised in 2016 that if reelected, he would serve no more than one more six-year term.
I hope that wasn’t fake news.
My July 2010 pride has devolved to January 2021 embarrassment as I’ve watched Wisconsin’s senior senator wallow in a pit of rumorous muck, seemingly always angry and aggrieved as he challenged the contention by election officials, the courts and former Attorney General William Barr that voter fraud did not occur; blamed journalists for causing mass shootings by reporting on them; alleged a deep state “secret society” plotting against Trump; opposed nominating a Democrat for Supreme Court Justice in the fourth year of a presidential term —“let the American people have a voice,” he proclaimed — while not giving a damn how Americans felt four years later.
He touted unproven alternative COVID-19 treatments that health professionals have spurned; and spread Russian disinformation in a Ukraine investigation that offered no evidence that Hunter Biden’s involvement with a Ukrainian energy company affected U.S. policy or involved his father.
“This is an unsustainable state of affairs right now,” Johnson said on “Meet the Press,” using his favorite word to describe America’s alleged distrust of institutions, media and democracy, while neglecting to mention his role in dealing out doubt cards at every opportunity.
Oh, and that “unsustainable” national debt of $13.2 trillion that caused the Oshkosh businessman to become a politician 10 years ago?
During his tenure it has ballooned to $27.8 trillion, despite a GOP Senate majority. In 2017, Johnson voted for a tax bill that added at least $1.5 trillion in red ink to the nation’s bottom line. Yet four weeks ago, he halted a plan to send Americans $1,200 stimulus checks and then voted against a bill providing $600 relief checks because it was “a grotesque level of spending.”
Don’t trust me. My “grossly biased” brain caused me to endorse Johnson.
Trust your intuition. Wisconsin’s senator from Oshkosh is unsustainable.
— Tim Lyke