Yesterday, Sen. Ron Johnson held a hearing as the (outgoing) chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. A video of the full hearing appears above. Johnson may run for a third term, and even if he doesn’t, his role in support of Trump and his affinity for a Trumpist outlook make him a subject of interest. See Probable Wisconsin Political Issues for 2021. I’ve now watched the full hearing (it’s admittedly lengthy), and Johnson remains suspect. He’s drawn under stable, negative national attention over his pro-Trump conspiracy theories. See National Reporting on Sen. Ron Johnson.
Johnson’s view, in summary, is that legitimate questions about the 2016 election are a justification for his own conspiracy-laden views on the 2020 election. He further contends that the baseless suspicions that he and Trump have stoked among their partisan supporters justify his own investigation. Johnson creates meritless doubt, and then relies on his own fraudulent creation to create even more meritless doubt.
Press coverage (aside from Fox, etc.) of the hearing has been critical of Johnson’s list of speakers, his own conspiratorial nature, and his on-camera temperament (as he had a overwrought, defensive exchange with Sen. Garry Peters of Michigan). See Linda Qui, The election is over, but Ron Johnson keeps promoting false claims of fraud (‘The hearing was the latest effort by the Republican chairman of the homeland security committee, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, to amplify the claims and concerns of President Trump. Mr. Johnson previously used his committee to investigate Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, and to elevate fringe theories about the coronavirus pandemic’).
Immediately below is a clip of Johnson’s emotional exchange with Peters:
(A thousand times over: political displays of anger off-camera are slight as against displays of anger on-camera, as television rewards the calm, cool, and collected.)
What to make of Johnson’s on-camera emotion? Perhaps it’s a lack of discipline, a lack of sense, or perhaps it’s performance art (meant to impress someone). See U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson: Ambitious, Compromised, or Crackpot?
Johnson’s defensiveness in a hearing is hardly his greatest deficiency, but it’s an indication of more significant, underlying deficiencies.