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Home arrow American Politics arrow Joni Ernst: The Future Face of the Republican Party by Steve Jonas
Joni Ernst: The Future Face of the Republican Party by Steve Jonas PDF Print E-mail

Oct. 30, 2014

Joni Ernst is well on her way to becoming the future face of the Republican Party.  First, she came from behind in the Iowa Republican primary last June to win the nomination for the upcoming Senate seat over a group of wealthy businessmen.  Apparently an important factor in that victory was her famous “as a kid I castrated hogs” ad.  Now she is poised to win the general election next Tuesday.  An important factor in that potential win is this campaign comment: “‘I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere,’ Ernst said at the NRA and Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsport, Iowa.  
“ ‘But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family -- whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.’ ”

Earlier in the campaign Ernst “released a new TV ad vowing to ‘unload’ on Obamacare, in which she takes target practice at a shooting range with a handgun."

Should Ernst indeed win it is likely that she will become Right-Wing Female Exhibit One for the Republican Party.  Michelle Bachmann is leaving the House.  (Likely because early polling showed that she would lose this time around to the candidate who has previously come very close to beating her.)  Sarah Palin is becoming old news and she hasn’t been an office-holder in a long time.  So Col. Ernst (she is a light colonel in the Iowa National Guard) would have a good shot (get it?) at the position.  So what does this tell us a) about the party and b) how the Democrats should attack it.   

Democrats attack, you say?  Ohmygosh, isn’t that almost too much to ask?  Well, a) that’s the only way they are ever again going to win statewide and local elections in any significant number, and b) the Clintonesque policy of going along to get along with which, until very recently President Obama has been in lock-step, has in the last six years been demonstrated to be a loser, over and over again.  Noises along those lines are starting to be made on the Democratic left, such as it is, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren out in front, of course.  But more on that in another column (or two or three or four over the next two years).  For now, back to Ernst.

On policy Ernst holds to the standard right-wing Mantra: government helps everyone and everyone is dependent on it --- that has to change; Obamacare should be repealed; the Department of Education should eliminated (and a few others, I should imagine); Social Security would best be privatized; the family must be strengthened; pork (not pigs) must be eliminated (on that one she apparently does not know that Congressional “earmarks,” were called “pork” when they were anyone else’s, “bringing home the bacon” when they were yours, were eliminated from the Congressional appropriations process several years ago); government spending must be slashed (presumably on everything except subsidies to corporate farmers, especially if they raise hogs in Iowa); and the budget must be balanced while the deficit must be eliminated (apparently she is unaware that it has been steadily dropping over the past several years).  The latter two are or course presented in the usual Republican way without --- because of course taxes cannot be raised --- any specification as to what further spending cuts should be made --- perhaps another $600,000,000 from the Centers for Disease Control, Col. Ernst?

But it’s the special Joni Ernst show that is quite remarkable, and it’s that show that will become one of the main faces of the GOP.  First of all, it will become the party of castration.  Of whom and for what, oh, never mind.  But if Col. Ernst gets to the Senate because of an ad boasting that she castrated pigs on the “family(?)” farm when she was a teen-ager, questions (or at least thoughts) might be raised like: a) what exactly did she mean by the metaphor? b) Who did/does she have in mind, possibly among humans? And c) what might she mean to do with the skill when she gets to Washington.  

Actually, that one would become more of the stuff “The Daily Show” and the late night comics.  Much more serious, and the position that Democrats and Progressives should immediately and loudly turn against her and her party is the one on guns and shooting.  In an ad she used a gun, not any sort of rational or even irrational arguments, to illustrate her opposition to Obamacare.  Then she says that she has the right to shoot at any government employee who comes to her representing a law (or presumably regulation) that she does not like, in her terms that agent or agency having decided “that my rights are no longer important.”  Of course, if it’s “government” here, he, she, it or they would be acting under the prescriptions, proscriptions and requirements of a law --- that’s a LAW, Col. Ernst --- that was passed through the democratic process, at the Federal, state or local level.

Thus, what this representative (presumably one elected to the highest legislative office in the land), a member of the traditional “law and order” party, is saying is that if she doesn’t like a particular law she doesn’t have to obey it.  Beyond that she will use a firearm to prosecute her right to disobey the law.  This is of course exactly the position that is taken by hundreds of right-wing “militias” all around the country.  This is the next step in the dismantlement of our nation of laws.  This is the next step on the pathway towards the coming Second Civil War.  This is Lt. Col (!) Joni Ernst, a member of U.S. armed forces who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, most likely the next Senator from Iowa, and one of the new beaming faces of the Republican Party, taking it upon herself to decide was is lawful and unlawful, what is Constitutional and un-Constitutional, and use firearms to back up her view.  

So far, I have heard of no Republican voice condemning Ernst’s position that she can disobey any law she doesn’t like and use a gun in carrying out that disobedience.  If she does indeed make it to the Senate, I do hope that I will hear many Democratic and Progressive voices condemning her for it.

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