Russ Feingold Seeks To Retake Senate Seat From Teabagger Crapsack Ron Johnson
It's almost as if we wanted one of these gents to look bad.
We've got another fun Senate race for you this week, kids, and this one's actually a rematch: In Wisconsin, former Sen. Russ Feingold wants to win back the seat that teabagger, would-be Obamacare-murderer, and all around schmuck Ron Johnson won in the Great Bullshit Tide of 2010. This one should be a barn burner, a hootenanny, and even perhaps a humdinger, because Wisconsinites like Russ Feingold: at this early point, he has a comfortable double-digit lead over Johnson, who, despite having been in office for six years, doesn't appear to have made much of an impression on people. In a late February poll,
35 percent of respondents said they hadn’t heard enough to evaluate Johnson — a larger share than said they viewed him either favorably or unfavorably.
[contextly_sidebar id="sEPZnNg5PL1Z7oB5fjwwAmh3tAtIcogk"]Here at Wonkette, we've been following Ron Johnson closely enough to know he's a right stinker, he is. We knew it well before the 2010 election, when then-candidate Johnson defended the oil-spilling jerkwads of BP, accusing the government of singling the poor oil giant out for mistreatment just because it befouled the Gulf of Mexico. Oh yes, and he also happened to own lots and lots of BP stock. Since actually becoming a member of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body, Johnson has impressed us with consistent douchiness. He thought it was wildly irresponsible of Kirsten Gillibrand to suggest that any U.S. Senators were anything less than perfect gentlemen toward ladies, since no one had ever told him not to lose weight because they liked him curvy. Nobody ever sexually harassed Ron Johnson, so Gillibrand was probably making it all up, as gals do.
[contextly_sidebar id="91oIgN3TMQFH5ZvtWTyPsz3JBOujv1Tf"]Johnson was, of course, one of the Republican bozos who signed on to that 2015 letter telling Iran that Barack Obama is only pretending to be president, but he took the stupid a step further, suggesting that in the Iran nuclear deal, Barack Obama might actually be even less trustworthy than the Iranian leadership (a little joke his office quickly backed away from, jeeze, can't you take a little joke?).
[contextly_sidebar id="qoymQD8XzVN9rMs0F8X7Jm8p4rfi6YGA"]On the domestic side of things, Ron Johnson would like to kill Obamacare very much please, as long as he doesn't have to hear any sob stories about people losing their health insurance, because who wants to hear a bunch of whiny poor people? Last summer, when the Supreme Court was considering whether to make the ACA vanish (a moot point, since the Court ultimately upheld the law), Johnson worried the president would try a "diabolically simple" plot to keep the dreaded law alive:
It is easy to imagine the advertising campaign that will promote his simple solutions and viciously attack any opposition. Heart-wrenching examples of Americans who have benefited from ObamaCare — and there are millions who have, through taxpayer subsidies — will flood every TV channel.
Nauseating, all these people who have stayed alive because someone else paid some taxes. Makes him want to puke, it does.
[contextly_sidebar id="EgglBzkiryz0pYWkKLXXdBabvRqSeQbS"]Oh, yes, and then there was the time Johnson complained about how the State Department never told Congress anything about Benghazi, although he was at something of a disadvantage because he hadn't been on the Foreign Relations Committee when State briefed it on exactly the thing he was griping about. He's also explained that the only reason college is so expensive is that college students spend too much time partying, swallowing goldfish, and jitterbugging to that wild negro jazz music. More recently, Johnson informed the nation that while it's a real shame that Honduran children may end up getting murdered or sold into sex slavery when the U.S. deports them, all in all it's a very pretty country with lots of development opportunities. So it all evens out.
Johnson let the rest of the Senate know in 2012 that he simply wasn't all that interested in the "making laws" part of a senator's job. He decided he'd "purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team" so he could "refocus his efforts on political messaging," according to a now-expired Roll Call article (Thanks, Internet Archive!). Why on earth would a Senator want to have a legislative team to get in the way of the serious job of pushing his political message? Then again, considering the contents of his political messaging, maybe it's just as well he hasn't put too much effort into converting those piles of weasel droppings into actual laws.
Since they traded Feingold for Johnson in 2010's Tea Party Wave of Mutilation, Wisconsin voters seem to have developed a case of buyer's remorse. Feingold has consistently outpolled Johnson, leading by between 11 and 14 points in polls since the fall. The Wisconsin Senate race is a top priority for national Democratic efforts to retake the Senate, and with three terms in the Senate before the 2010 unpleasantness, Feingold has plenty of goodwill and name recognition to draw on, not to mention plenty of enthusiastic progressives throwing money at him.
[contextly_sidebar id="FUGvKHvsgEMMr1tBafxLmJuplczBHYiX"]On the money front, Johnson is hardly lacking. Lots of sweet rightwing money is being thrown his way from the likes of the Club for Growth and Koch Industries (feel free to boo and hiss). Despite grabbing all those filthy Kochdollars as fast as he can, Johnson has accused Russ Feingold of breaking a solemn vow to Wisconsin voters that Feingold would never take money from outside the state. Feingold readily admits he accepts outside funding, which might seem a bit shocking until you recall his name is right on the doomed McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which was largely overturned in Citizens United. He's made campaign finance reform a key issue, but also recognizes that getting elected first is rather necessary.
If you'd like to get nostalgic for campaign ads from a simpler time, here's Feingold's 1992 ad where he introduced that promise to not take out-of-state donations:
And here's his 2015 comeback announcement:
As we pointed out in November, even though he's the incumbent, Johnson likes to pretendhe's a plucky outsider fighting against a "career politician." He even managed to compare himself to George Washington, not only because some of his pals like tricorn hats, but because he's answering his country's call to preserve Liberty. Oh, but that Washington Insider Russ Feingold, says Johnson, is running for the worst possible reason: He likes making laws, that monster:
“Sen. Feingold, on the other hand, just is so addicted — he so covets getting back in there,” Johnson said. “He’s part of the elite, right? Guy who’s so smart he’s going to tell you what kind of health care to buy!
“So who does Wisconsin want representing them? Somebody who’s doing it to serve the public, or somebody who’s there to serve his own ego?”
Asked to comment on the incumbent's accusations, Feingold laughed and said, "I’m not the guy who compared myself to George Washington." Yr Wonkette would never advocate supporting a candidate based solely on their one-liners, but if you did, that would be a good one to go with.
A Johnson-allied group produced this scary ad aimed at suggesting Russ Feingold is some kind of liberal incumbent who needs to be turned out of office before he does any more damage to the country. Are you scared? Please be more scared.
While "He isn't Ron Johnson" is a perfectly good reason to support Russ Feingold's return to the Senate all by itself, that's only a starting point. There's the commitment to campaign finance reform, for starters, as well as the whole "lifelong progressive" thing, too. He was the only member of the Senate to vote against the Patriot Act. He supports comprehensive immigration reform and an end to the death penalty. He was one of two Democrats to vote against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, because he thought the bill wasn't tough enough on Wall Street.
[contextly_sidebar id="VIrxASbYx5B9iu0752yEZssjFd3IHF3b"]And did we mention the McCain-Feingold bill? After Feingold lost to Johnson, John McCain gave what almost sounded like a eulogy on the Senate floor -- rather embarrassing with Feingold sitting right there, warm blood still flowing through his large four-chambered heart -- in which McCain confessed he felt Feingold was always "my superior in [the] cardinal virtue" of putting the public interest ahead of his own, and said he strove "to become half the public servant he is." So wouldn't it be great to send Russ Feingold back to the Senate, where he could make John McCain feel even more like an empty shell of a man? McCain can continue admiring Feingold -- from a distance, we hope, once he loses his own bid for reelection.