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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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CITIZEN DAVE

Citizen Dave: Victims of Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson: Uncreative destruction
Sen. Ron Johnson: Uncreative destruction
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U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has a launched a new ill-conceived video project called Victims of Government. His first video is about an Illinois landowner. Sen. Johnson had to go out of the state to find a problem, but if government is running amok, you'd think he could have found an example in his own backyard.

It's supposed to be a YouTube-era revival of the late Sen. Bill Proxmire's Golden Fleece awards started in 1975.

Look, I didn't like Proxmire's cheap shots either, and he was a Democrat. But at least those shots often came with a sense of humor. Sen. Johnson's video attempt is just run of the mill tea party stuff -- government is bad and it offers no solutions. It's the political equivalent of a grunt.

If Sen. Johnson were really concerned about government gone wrong, he would do something productive about it. In this case, maybe he would use the powers of his office to work with the regulatory agencies involved. Listen to their side of the story and try to fix the problem.

But making real progress is not Johnson's style or his goal. He hates government and wants to destroy it. He has little interest in actually helping his constituents or improving anything. He's all about destruction and not very creative destruction at that.

If that weren't enough, the senator is also among the hardcore right-wingers opposing even so much as a vote on the weak gun control legislation soon to come before the Senate. This morning, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Republican Senator Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania announced a compromise on background checks. It's scant progress, but it's something.

Johnson has opposed even this common sense approach, which would remove the gun show loophole. He has promised to oppose cloture, which would simply end debate and allow for a vote. That's right. In Ron Johnson's world, the victims of Newtown don't even so much as deserve a vote, let alone his.

As of this writing, I have not seen a change in the senator's position even after the announcement of the bipartisan agreement earlier today. We can hold out some hope that he might at least back down on being an obstructionist, though it is way too much to expect that he be part of the solution.

It's one thing to be a conservative. There are a lot of conservatives I respect, even as I disagree with them.

But by just being against everything, by not being willing to compromise and be part of the discussion on anything, Johnson has made himself a man to be ignored in Washington. Both his Victims of Government campaign and his hardcore stance on sensible and widely supported gun control legislation demonstrate how Ron Johnson has chosen to represent us: He just won't.

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