The GOP hearts China

THE GOP HEARTS CHINA…. In Wisconsin, far-right Senate candidate Ron Johnson (R) is perhaps best known for his bizarre ideas about global warming, and the embarrassing instances in which he’s sought and received federal aid for his business enterprises, despite basing his campaign on opposition to government intervention in private industry.

But Johnson is also raising eyebrows for suggesting communist China is better for businesses than the United States.

U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson was on the Wisconsin Radio Network Monday, chatting about jobs and the economy. But after the host asked him about his free market philosophy, Johnson ended up kind-of praising communist China instead.

Johnson talked about creating an attractive environment for business and job creation. And he talked about how more Wisconsin youths could benefit from getting out there and working on farms.

But then Johnson veered onto the topic of China, and how casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn has already started building businesses in Macau.

“He’s also creating resorts in Macau in China, communist China. And his point is, the level of uncertainty, the climate for business investment is far more certain in communist China then it is in the U.S. here,” Johnson said.

The “uncertainty” is lazy nonsense, without foundation in reality. Those who repeat the talking point should generally be considered tired hacks.

But putting that aside, it’s truly strange to have reached a point at which far-right statewide candidates criticize the United States while praising China. I knew Johnson was out there, but I didn’t expect him to argue publicly that a communist country might be better for business than his own country.

Also note, we’ve been hearing quite a bit of this from the right lately. National Review recently ran an item arguing that China is setting a fine economic model to be emulated. And that came on the heelsof disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich telling the Young Americans for Freedom, “You want to create jobs as rapidly as China? The Chinese pay zero capital-gains tax. If we had zero capital-gains tax in the United States … we’d be dramatically better off.”

As Jon Stewart recently explained, “So that’s the Republican plan — to fight socialism, we must become communists.”

I shudder to think what would happen in the political discourse if prominent Democrats ran around urging Republicans to adopt policies more in line with China’s.

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Steve Benen

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.