Our Dishonest Lt. Governor

Dan O’Donnell opines.

This seems to be his natural defense when confronted with his various misdeeds. No matter how minor an infraction–failing to graduate from college, for example–Barnes believes he can lie his way out of it.

More troubling, however, is his equally instinctive accusation of racism against anyone who calls him out on his dishonesty. The Isthmus reports:

He calls the GOP narrative about him “race baiting.”

“They don’t challenge me on my policy positions, ever,” he adds. “This is a tried and true strategy: racism. It’s not any different than what Reagan did with that supposed welfare queen. It’s not a dog whistle if everybody can hear it. And these are people who hate taxes. Which is a disgusting irony.”Answering legitimate criticism of his irresponsibility with the vile presumption that such criticism is race-based is both beneath the dignity of his office and yet another example of Barnes’ fundamental dishonesty. Republicans constantly challenge his policy positions: They just spent the past seven months battling him and Governor Evers on the state budget. Did a single Republican launch a single attack on Barnes that could possibly be construed as racist during that tense fight? Of course not. Yet Barnes hurled the smear anyway.

This reveals far more about his character than that of his critics, and this entire episode has shown Barnes’ character to be quite lacking. There is simply no other way to say it: Mandela Barnes is a fundamentally dishonest person.

Indeed. Usually, one could shrug and say “who cares?” After all, the Lt. Governor has virtually no power except what the Governor chooses to give him. But he is only one breath away from being our governor. And Governor Evers is a 67-year-old survivor of esophageal cancer. It is not unrealistic, although it might be a bit ghoulish, to think that Evers might be incapacitated or die before his term runs out.

If the Democrats were smart, they would distance themselves from Barnes before he assumes the mantle of heir to the throne, but they won’t be that smart.