When conservatives’ racist dog whistles prompt certain dogs to go on killing rampages—as happened over the weekend in Buffalo—folks like Sen. Ron Johnson are only too happy to exploit their dim-bulb reputations in order to scurry away from controversies of their own making.
If you stare long enough into the limpid pools of vacuity that are the Wisconsin senator’s eyes, you may get a glimpse of eternity—at the end of which is a braunschweiger sandwich draped in Kraft slices and slathered stem to stern in mayonnaise. (If for some reason you’re not from Wisconsin, you can sub out those references with any gross regional foods of your choosing.)
You’ll be hard-pressed to tell if RoJo the Clown’s lying, though—because he’s basically always lying, and he actually may be too obtuse to understand he’s doing it. Maybe.
On Tuesday, when asked by Wall Street Journal reporter Lindsay Wise about Republicans’ endorsement, both explicit and implicit, of the “great replacement theory”—a vile fever dream that was all over the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto—RoJo feigned innocence, saying, “I’ve never heard of it, okay? I don’t know what you’re talking about. They’re just making this crap up to cover up their open borders and how disastrous that is for this country.”
Making it up, huh? Speaking of making things up: 1) We don’t have open borders. How can anyone say we have open borders when Customs and Border Patrol is confronting and expelling tens of thousands of migrants every month? 2) Considering that we face both a short- and long-term labor shortage, maybe we should be letting a few more of those willing workers through. The only reasons I can think of not to do just that are racism and unscrupulous politicians’ desire to exploit racism to harvest more votes from racists.
Of course, for someone who claims to have never heard of the great replacement theory, Johnson sure seems to have a handle on its key tenets, as displayed by an August appearance with reviled Pittsburgh media personality-turned Newsmax host Wendy Bell.
JOHNSON: “If they foolishly stop enforcing Title 42, add about another 1.2 million [immigrants] just to the half of your statistics, and then double it. We don’t know where they’re going. No city, no state’s being notified. This is completely out of control. Why are they doing it? Are they literally trying to change the electorate, if they believe they let more people …? You know, I don’t know how you can come to any other conclusion.”
Again, I’m not sure what the problem is with letting willing workers who commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born Americans into our country. But RoJo isn’t trying to convince you and me. He’s trying to convince voters in Sheboygan that the borders really are wide open and that every brown person entering the country is an MS-13 gang member who wants to steal the strawberry-picking jobs they would never do.
Of course, Johnson has touted the great replacement theory—in substance, if not by name—more than once.
But the conservative lawmaker has, at the very least, tacitly supported the theory without naming it directly.
In one Fox Business interview last month, the senator baselessly claimed Biden “wants complete open borders,” adding: “And you have to ask yourself why? Is it really they want to remake the demographics of America to ensure their – that they stay in power forever? Is that what’s happening here?”
Johnson’s not the only one dancing this intolerant two-step, of course. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who has invoked the great replacement theory over and over again, claimed on Tuesday that he’s “still not sure exactly what it is.” But Republicans want to run as far away from the GRT-fueled Buffalo shooting as they possibly can—while continuing to use the theory as a wedge that galvanizes scared white voters in border states like Wisconsin. (Hey, it borders Minnesota, which in turn borders Canada.)
We can’t let them run. Journalist Judd Legum has a great, must-read rundown of Republicans who have consistently invoked the theory in recent years—though for some reason they seem reluctant at this particular moment to step forward and claim credit for their work.
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