Americans don’t know new House Speaker Mike Johnson yet. But soon they will get to know him and his extreme views very well.
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Before he became House speaker, hardly anybody knew who Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was. And why would they? The GOP in general and the House Republican conference in particular are full of MAGA extremists who support coups, want to punish women for having abortions, don’t believe in manmade climate change, and think that gay marriage will bring about the end of times.
It would be impossible to keep track of all of them, which means that, as long as they don’t maintain a major presence on social media or Fox News, they can operate in obscurity.
However, that does not make them or their views any less radical.
And while these opinions and policy positions are in the mainstream of MAGA Republicans, they are horribly out of touch with how most Americans think.
That is why it will be interesting to see how the country reacts when it meets Johnson and finds out more about him and his vision for the United States.
Seeing how he went from nobody to speaker in 24 hours, it stands to reason that there wasn’t a whole lot of vetting going on before Republicans rallied behind him. And even if there had been, since he never said or did anything that they would find extreme, it likely would not have sent up red flags.
Others will feel differently.
You can be assured that, right now, hundreds of people are trying to track down every single word Johnson has ever uttered in public, everything he has ever written, and every piece of legislation he has authored or signed on to.
And based on the early returns, this will result in a treasure trove of information that can be used against the GOP as Democrats try to win back the House.
First of all, he is an election denier, though that should go without saying. It seems impossible that any Republican could have won the gavel without having bought into the Big Lie and done their part to help Donald Trump try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Johnson also has some pretty radical thoughts on issues like abortion and gay rights, where he is far, far to the right of American opinion.
For example, he wrote that homosexuality is “inherently unnatural” and that gay marriage could lead to destruction of “the entire democratic system.”
Asked about his views on the issue on Hannity on Thursday night, Johnson claimed to not remember some of the things he said.
Chances are that he will get plenty of reminders in the coming days, weeks, and months that might help with his selective amnesia.
He certainly should be able to recall that he authored a federal version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation just last year.
Johnson’s views don’t get any less extreme when it comes to abortion.
He has sponsored, co-sponsored, or voted in favor of a variety of bills on the issue, including a national abortion ban, and wants to criminalize providing abortion care.
Going forward, there will be many more revelations about Johnson and his policy positions… and Republicans will have to own and answer for all of them.