Thursday Reads: The Amazing Stupidity of Ron Johnson, and Other News

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Good Morning!!

It sure was fun watching Hillary take on the blithering idiots of the GOP yesterday. She made them look silly and childish. As Charles Pierce wrote yesterday,

the appearance of Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning proved on very salient point: at its upper echelons which, at the moment, praise be, consist of only its congressional delegations, the Republican party has become something extraordinarily unserious. If its domestic policies, laid out clearly in the last election, were fairly well rejected, its notions in the area of foreign policy reside in a spot somewhere between threadbare and obsolete. They are lingering in a fairly brutal hangover between having gone all in on the Bush administrations’s grandiose schemes for imperial reconstruction and having yielded the real power in the party to people with all the gravitas of your drunk uncle who watches Fox all day and sends chain e-mails to the family.

There were so many stupid Republicans competing to be the most obnoxious questioners in the hearings, but I’d have to say that Wisconsin Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson made the biggest ass of himself. Hillary managed to keep her cool through more than five hours of questioning, but she lost her patience briefly with Johnson after he repeatedly argued that the State Department could have easily found out what actually happened in Benghazi by calling people who had been in the consulate and simply asking them (!). Dakinikat posted the video yesterday, but here’s Hillary’s so-called “eruption.”

“Senator, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on,” Clinton said, adding that the State Department was waiting for the FBI to finish conducting interviews.

“I realize that’s a good excuse,” Johnson responded.

“Well, no, it’s the fact,” Clinton said. “Even today, there are questions being raised. We have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on, and why they were doing what they were doing, is still, is still unknown.”

Clinton forcefully insisted neither UN Ambassador Susan Rice nor the Obama Administration misled the public. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”

I actually thought that was pretty mild, considering the idiocy of Johnson’s remarks. Joan Walsh had a great summary of Hillary’s day: Hillary faces down the angry men. On the Johnson interchange she writes:

On a morning in which senators vied for the worst moment, Tea Party darling Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stood out. “A very simple phone call to these individuals I think would have ascertained, immediately, that there was no protest prior to this…it was an assault,” he told Clinton condescendingly. The fact that Johnson could envision “a very simple phone call” in the wake of the Benghazi carnage – has he even seen photos of the devastated compound? – shows that he’s a very simple man when it comes to foreign policy. Johnson’s entire point was to ask, again, about Rice “purposely misleading” the Sunday shows five days after the attack.

After his humiliating beatdown by Clinton, Johnson made a bigger ass of himself by claiming to McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed that Hillary Clinton Planned To Get Emotional To Evade Questions

“I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question,” Johnson told BuzzFeed Wednesday afternoon, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.”

He said it was clear, at other points during the hearing, that Clinton was working off a set of talking points, but that his questions “got under her skin” because “they’re just so common sense.”
“I just don’t think she had an answer to that,” he said. “Maybe it embarrassed her. Maybe she hadn’t thought of it that way.”

He went on to criticize Clinton for ostensibly taking “full responsibility” for the State Department’s handling of the attacks, but then continuing to avoid questions with “theatrics.”
“She allowed politics to trump getting to the facts,” he said.

Yeah, like Hillary needed to get “emotional” to avoid answering questions about Susan Rice!  And get this, Johnson told Politico that Hillary probably never even thought to make those phone calls to people who had escaped the Beghazi carnage.

“Whether she actually never thought of calling them or she was kind of feeling a little guilty that she didn’t, I think the secretary of state had the responsibility to,” the Wisconsin senator said.

This guy doesn’t even realize what a fool he made of himself! BTW, Johnson is the same moron who offered to “mansplain” the federal budget to Tammy Baldwin after she was elected to the Senate in 2012. Johnson has been in Congress for all of two years, while Baldwin served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years and before that was a Wisconsin state representative. Oh, and she graduated from Smith College with a double major in math and government. Johnson worked in his father-in-law’s business until his first run for office in 2010.

In other greatest hits, Johnson believes he knows more about climate change than scientists who have spent years studying it. He said women who can’t afford birth control should just go on-line and google “what if I can’t afford birth control?” He claimed that the great recession ended before Obama took office in 2009.

In April 2012, Johnson became an object of ridicule after Roll Call published an article about his “frustration with his legislative staff.”

Freshman GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) is looking to purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the situation.

Johnson’s frustration with his legislative staff has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington for months, those close to Republican Conference politics said.

But the situation in Johnson’s office has escalated in recent weeks. The top brass of the Senate Republican Steering Committee — the Conference’s conservative hub — have connected at least one Johnson legislative aide with another GOP Senate office, and sources indicated they may be helping others find jobs before they are asked to permanently clear their desks.

Johnson denied the charges, but

While top Republican sources expressed exasperation at the internal turmoil in Johnson’s office, they also noted that the Wisconsin freshman has not been diligent in building relationships with other Senators within the Conference and has alienated himself by not reaching out more frequently to colleagues.

“He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store.”

“The Senate is still about relationships, and he doesn’t seem to get that,” the aide continued.


How stupid is Ron Johnson? He’s so stupid that some of his constituents started a website called “Our Dumb Senator” to keep track of his ongoing stupidity.

Now look what I’ve done. I’ve wasted most of this post the stupid Senator from Wisconsin–can you believe this guy actually beat Russ Feingold?!

In other news, it’s now confirmed that Beyonce didn’t really sing the National Anthem at the Inauguration.

An inaugural official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem during Monday’s Inauguration Day ceremony.

“She did not sing live,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNN, adding that the singer made the decision herself to go with a pre-recording the night before Monday’s ceremony.

“Because she didn’t have time to rehearse with the Marine Band, she decided to use her recording with the Marine Band,” the official added. “It was all Beyonce.”

Ho hum, just like American Bandstand back in the day. I guess if Obama didn’t care no one else should. I’m not a Beyonce fan, frankly, and I didn’t really care for her rendition of the song. I’ve heard much better. So shoot me.

I have some more interesting reads for you that I’m just going to throw out link dump style. First, some articles about Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney from Boston who drove cyber activist Aaron Swartz to suicide. The consensus seems to be that Ortiz’s career is over.

Who What Why: Carmen Ortiz’s Sordid Rap Sheet

Scott Horton at Harpers: Carmen Ortiz Strikes Out

Blue Mass Group: Not how the news was supposed to go for Carmen Ortiz

A few more links:

HuffPo: Mississippi’s GOP Governor Says No American Lacks Health Care

Alternet: How ‘Stop and Frisk’ Is Too Often a Sexual Assault by Cops on Teenagers in Targeted NYC Neighborhoods


Andrew Marantz at The New Yorker on the Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday

Alex Pareene: The brilliantly stupid new plan to raise the debt ceiling without raising it

Jonathan Chait: Boehner: Let’s Destroy Math Instead of the Economy

LA Times: Carbs were key in wolves’ evolution into dogs

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?

44 Comments on “Thursday Reads: The Amazing Stupidity of Ron Johnson, and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Hillary Clinton 69, Rand Paul 10 — Brent Budowsky

    [Rand] Paul suggesting he would have fired Clinton is like the Little League coach suggesting he would have fired Babe Ruth. I expect Hillary Clinton to run for and win the presidency, and I very much hope Paul runs against her. If he does, Hillary Rodham Clinton will pulverize Rand Paul into outer space.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Yikes! It’s four (4) degrees outside my house this morning!

    • Fannie says:

      They shut down 70 miles of freeway in Boise, Idaho………..slick from rain on top of all the snow, it was 25 degrees, but the last few days 12 to 18 degrees.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Politico: Democrats plot to turn Texas blue

    • RalphB says:

      They have a chance in 4 to 8 years of doing it. In the past, it’s been multiple smaller groups stepping on each other and being ineffective and the Dem chair sucked. There’s a new Hispanic Dem party chair who seems to understand politics now.

  4. Ron4Hills says:

    Hills was brilliant as usual. She showed just the right amount of patience and exasperation. grace and grit, she is the best.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    The former “we love Hillary crowd” got what it wanted yesterday. She “gave” them a reason to finally put that slogan to rest and free them to assert that she is nothing but a “liar” who gives cover to Obama and really, if you think about it, she has done this all along. It is stupifying to behold!

    They even go so far as to portray her as a “murderer” for those 4 deaths which is so unpalatable it defies reason. The long simmering vitriol has surfaced from this crowd of “make believe” supporters. Astounding.

    However, she is a force to be reckoned with should she decide to run in 2016 and those Right Wing loons are well aware of it. This woman should be POTUS today but it is what it is.

    Even that GOP senator from AK said conceded as much when it was his turn at bat.

    Go Hillary!

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “The long simmering vitriol has surfaced from this crowd of “make believe” supporters. Astounding”

      Make believe suppporters, or as they’re better known, THE Ratfuckers!!!!

      Ralph and I were discussing the not-so-subtle transformation of the “formerly Hillary supporter/formerly Democrat” blog-ratfuckers just the other day. How quickly the shapeshifters turned on Hillary now that it appears she may be their target in 2016.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Some of these “ratfuckers” have taken to put a small “d” after their names in an false attempt to justify their Dem affiliation. Or something.

        The same crowd who bemoans the loss of Lying Mitt Romney and who agreed with Rush that Sandra Fluke was a “slut”.

        No real Dem in their right mind would ever proclaim anyone in the GOP as worthy of attention but who now insert the “wisdom” of Ann Coulter into their arguments for reasons that go beyond rational.

        But to watch the tide turn against Hillary Clinton something else.

      • RalphB says:

        I noticed that “d” the other day, thought it stood for d-bag. 🙂

      • dakinikat says:

        Small d for dumb asses. They’re a lonely bunch of haterz these days though. You still look at the Alexa traffic ratings and they’re out there in orbit around Pluto with the rest of the conspiracy theory crowd. Hate really does turn people in to ugly things.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    In response to what am I reading today, I am rather confused at the reports about the latest “Nanny” baby killing coming out of Cambridge.

    A one year old baby died from injuries sustained at the hands of the nanny but it also seems that she also had injuries that appeared to be months old by way of broken bones in her little body. Why was this not noted by the parents themselves?

    Babies and children would be suffering in pain from those injuries so how was it the parents did not notice this? A neighbor that morning heard the baby crying and knocked on the door of the apartment but it went unanswered. However, it appears that the mother of the child was still inside and did not leave until almost an hour later. Blood has been discovered in the crib and on the walls since the arrest of the nanny.

    How did this woman, here illegally and who has had a few brushes with the law, manage to go unnoticed by ICE? How did the agency who hired her not do a background check on her which would have shown her propensity for violence toward others?

    I am not saying she is innocent of these charges but it does bring up the fact that the parents themselves may have been negligent if the old injuries went untreated because it would be an almost certainty that this baby cried out in pain with broken bones. Was she not seeing a pediatrician at all?

    This story has a lot of unanswered questions so far.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It is confusing, especially since the child and parents were reportedly out of the country for some time recently–in Pakistan and some other country?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not a big fan of parents who turn their children over to “nannies” whom they probably pay under the table and very poorly. In the previous nanny murder case, I thought the parents were dreadful.

  7. RalphB says:

    Obama to nominate Mary Jo White as SEC chair

    President Obama on Thursday will nominate former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White as chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and renominate Richard Cordray for a full term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a White House official.

    Both nominations are central to Obama’s hopes of more tightly regulating Wall Street during his second term, as many of the new rules created by the Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulation take effect.

    Ms White has a reputation as a very tough prosecutor and an expert at prosecuting white collar crime.

  8. janicen says:

    Just saw this on FB. Pretty funny. I hope it comes through…

  9. Fannie says:

    Wow, that guy Johnson is just brilliant…………..

    Talk about a lack of political decorum, they sounded like a bunch of interrogators in a murder case, rather than talking to the secretary of the state.

  10. RalphB says:

    Weigel: New Mexico Legislation Would Criminalize Abortions in Cases of Rape

    The most popular, lazy theory for Republican renewal is some version of this: “We’ve got to stop nominating Republicans who make rape gaffes! Don’t talk about rape!” But the Todd Akins of the world don’t “talk about rape” because they’re venal. They talk about it because they deeply believe that life begins at the moment of conception. Most Republicans do.

    Which brings us to Rep. Cathrynn Brown’s House Bill 206 in New Mexico.

    Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.

    If this became law, and you were raped and made pregnant, aborting that pregnancy would amount to evidence-tampering, a first-degree felony.

    Rep. Brown is a Republican, and thanks to the Obama wave last year, Democrats retain control of the New Mexico legislature. This bill is likely doomed.

  11. janicen says:

    Dana Milbank:

    Only gadfly Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still had the stomach to fight with Clinton. “Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi . . . I would have relieved you of your post,” he charged.

    “Ohhh!” exclaimed one of Clinton’s aides, appalled.

    But Paul, a man of exotic opinions, is never going to be president, and Clinton deflected his provocation with a mild reply: “I believe in taking responsibility, and I have done so.”

    That may have been Clinton’s most cutting response to a critic: Letting him know he’s not worth wasting her breath.

  12. janicen says:

    Even Richard Cohen is starting to believe it might be sexism that drives the animosity toward Hillary Clinton:

    Still it is hard to fathom the animosity towards her — this insistence that she failed to micromanage the consulate in Benghazi or that, in the confusion of early reports, the State Department failed to coordinate statements coming from Egypt, Libya and Washington. Maybe it has to do with her being a woman.

  13. Fannie says:

    The Guardian is reporting “Westerners are told to leave Libya immediately”……………this just in.

  14. Fannie says:

    There is our friend, Ron Johnson grilling Kerry on Hillary’s statements yesterday………the uninformed fucker says we can’t work with this president, you have to help us work with him……….the uninformed fucker doesn’t know that at this very minute there are protest going on in Benghazie……………and UK is relaying their message, westerners need to leave Libya immedicately……………

    What a complete fucking nut.

  15. Hey y’all, I was planning to write about this news bit outta Colorado, but it seems like it is getting action at lots of other blogs…

    First, this is the article that started it all:

    In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people | The Colorado Independent

    Yup, you read that right….

    A Fetus Is Not a Person if it Costs us Money, Says Catholic Church | Alternet

    Catholic hospital chain beats malpractice suit by saying fetuses aren’t people | The Raw Story

  16. Fannie says:

    Me too JJ………..I’d like to know women stay in the church, and fight on the side of the Vatican.