Wisconsin GOP Hijacked By Extreme Elements (5/18/10

May 23, 2010

Multimillionaire, Tea Partier Ron Johnson Refuses to Condemn Anti-Civil Rights Views


MADISON — In the latest sign that the Republican Party of Wisconsin has turned over the keys to the most extreme elements of their party, multimillionaire, Tea Partier Ron Johnson received the backing of the Republican Party elite at yesterday’s convention despite his refusal to condemn fellow tea partier and Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s fringe views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Paul said last week that discrimination should be a “local” issue and that private businesses should have the “freedom” to refuse to serve people based on the color of their skin. 


“Ron Johnson has talked a lot about ‘freedom’ at his Tea Party rally’s in recent months, yet he’s remained silent on Rand Paul’s idea of ‘freedom’ and the civil rights outrage that has rightfully followed,” said Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  “There’s only two reasons for why Johnson has refused to condemn such an outrageous notion by his fellow Tea Party leader.  Either Johnson agrees with Paul.  Or he disagrees, and is pandering to the most extreme elements of society.  Either way, Johnson’s refusal to say one word in opposition to that sort of language should tell voters all they need to know about Ron Johnson.”


Over the weekend, extremists kicked Secretary Dick Leinenkugel out of the primary because he didn’t follow lock-step with the ultra-right elements of the party and he wasn’t able to pledge $10-$15 million of his own money to self fund his campaign – like Johnson and Terrence Wall have.  


“The message from Republicans is clear: Extremism and a big checkbook is all they have to offer the people of Wisconsin,” said Tate.  “Senator Feingold has worked hard to earn the trust and support of the people of Wisconsin. The choice will be clear for voters. Do they want an independent voice, who is working hard to move our state forward and get the job done for Wisconsin, or do they want a far right extremist intent on buying the election to represent the partisan fringe?” 


On Friday, outgoing Wisconsin College Republicans Chair Lora Rae Anderson, a UW-Eau Claire senior, left the Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party because of the GOP’s embrace of the Tea Party. On Saturday attendees at the Republican Convention reconfirmed their overwhelming support for Tea Party extremists in a Straw Poll conducted by WisPolitics, voting 425-20 in support of the Tea Party.