It’s okay to spread lies and disinformation and to just generally be bat-shit crazy and still be a member in good standing of the Wisconsin Assembly’s Republican caucus. Just don’t lie about the Speaker.
That’s the message that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has sent about one of his nuttiest members, Rep. Timothy Ranthum of Camblesport. It seems Ranthum has been one of the most outspoken believers in the conspiracy theory that the election was stolen and that Donald Trump actually won. He recently introduced a resolution to award Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes to Trump. Never mind Biden’s been in office for a year, never mind that multiple reviews have confirmed that Biden won the state by 21,000 votes and never mind that the Legislature has no power to award electoral votes in any event.
Ranthum probably deserves treatment as much as he deserves our scorn. He’s clearly not okay.
But none of that is why Vos finally tried to rein in Ranthum this week. No, Ranthum crossed the line when he charged that Vos was working with lawyers for Hillary Clinton to allow drop boxes for voting in the next election. (That’s clearly ridiculous, of course. The lawyers are working for John F. Kennedy, Jr.) That’s what was too much for Vos and that’s what prompted him to pull Ranthum’s lone staff member. Now he’ll have to make his own copies and get his own coffee. Vos isn’t screwing around any more.
Ironically, Vos was asked about this at the same news conference where he was discussing the $700,000 in taxpayer money he’s incinerating in the clownish “investigation” being run by incompetent former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. Say, what you want about Ranthum, his aide was probably earning well less than one-seventh of that, even including benefits. And that was for a full year of spreading lies while Gableman is blowing seven times as much for only about a half year of “work”.
And while I’m glad that Vos is at least doing a little something to curb one of his craziest members, I doubt it’ll help. In fact, I’d be surprised if Ranthum doesn’t become a cause on the paranoid far-right. He’s likely to raise a ton of money off this and get reelected this fall. Maybe with all the money he’ll raise he can hire JFK Jr. to work in his office.
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