Back in June, I wrote that during Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson’s tenure as a member of the Oshkosh Opera House Foundation Board of Directors, the Oshkosh Grand Opera House received a $500,000 earmark in the 2009 state budget, a budget that started with a $6.6 billion deficit over the two years of the budget. At the time I wondered what Johnson’s position on earmarks was, considering the fact that Johnson has made it abundantly clear during his Senate campaign that he thinks government spends too much money, but I was never able to get a clear answer on whether or not Johnson supported earmarks like the one the Oshkosh Grand Opera House received.
However, the $500,000 earmark the Oshkosh Grand Opera House received in the most recent state budget was only the tip of the government handout iceberg for Ron Johnson and the Oshkosh Grand Opera House, as Johnson himself sought stimulus funds for renovations to the Grand Opera House when he was president of the Grand’s board in March 2009:
In an e-mail obtained by the Northwestern, Johnson called Oshkosh Area Community Foundation CEO Eileen Connolly-Keesler to ask about the availability of stimulus dollars to help fund the $1.8 million repair project. Connolly-Keesler sent an e-mail to state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, to see what funds might be available for the project.
“I just got a call from Ron Johnson about the Grand and stimulus money,” Connolly-Keesler wrote in a March 25, 2009, e-mail. “I can’t imagine it will pay for non-profit buildings but I am willing to make some calls if you think it would work.”
During his campaign, Ron johnson has made it abundantly clear that he’s no fan of the stimulus bill, and he’s made it clear he wants to cut the amount of money the government spends, so I can’t help but wonder why Ron Johnson lobbied for stimulus funds for the Oshkosh Grand Opera House back in 2009 if the stimulus was really such a bad idea. Then again, I suppose no one should be surprised Ron Johnson supported the stimulus before he was against, given the fact that Johnson was for government handouts to businesses before he was against it.
Once again, Ron Johnson has shown he’s perfectly willing to flip-flop on an issue when it’s politically expedient, demonstrating that no matter how hard he tries to convince voters he’ll be a “citizen legislator,” he’s mastered the art of political doublespeak better than most career politicians.