JOHNSON’S SUNSPOT GAFFE, ON VIDEO…. Ron Johnson (R), taking on Sen. Russ Feingold (D) in Wisconsin this year, has proven to be one of 2010’s nuttiest candidates. It’s why his campaign team has generally shielded him from speaking to the media, which might ask him to talk about his beliefs and policy positions, which in turn would cost him votes.

This week, however, Johnson sat down with editors and reporters from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he proceeded to explain why he rejects all scientific evidence related to global warming, which he described as “lunacy,” and its supporters as “crazy.” Asked about his own perceptions, Johnson said global warming is likely the result of “sunspot activity,” which doesn’t make any sense.

Today, Greg Sargent posts a video of the exchange, which, if anything, makes the bizarre candidate appear slightly worse. We learn, for example, that Johnson believes it’s “a little absurd for anybody to think, Okay, this is the sweet spot in geologic time for climate. And it’s such a good place, that we have spent trillions of dollars, and do great harm to our economy, on a fool’s errand.”

As Greg added, “I wonder if the countless scientists studying this issue ever asked themselves whether their scientific models allowed for the possibility that they were erroneously designating this moment geological time’s climate change ‘sweet spot.’”

In the larger context, Feingold clearly seems vulnerable this year, but I can’t help but wonder what the race would have been like in Wisconsin if Republicans had nominated someone less transparently foolish. That isn’t to say Johnson can’t win — polls suggest he’s very competitive — but this appears to be another example in which a ridiculous GOP nominee might save a Democrat’s skin.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.