Watching the “official” Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address left me with a question that keeps gnawing at my gut: what the heck is wrong with Iowa?
Joni Ernst, the freshman senator from that state read off the response (watching her eyes follow the teleprompter became fairly distracting; she possesses a certain Bachmannesque quality whereby you expect a counter-clockwise movement to develop at any moment), and she nearly drowned in her own sea of platitudes before the first few minutes had passed. She’s a mother, she’s a soldier; she came from poverty, not privilege. She shared her story of plowing the fields, working construction, and owning only one pair of shoes. You would think we’d be safe in assuming that here is a legislator with genuine empathy, and perhaps an understanding of income inequality.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In doing a little research into her record, it became obvious that Iowa replaced Senator Tom Harkin with a right-wing extremist. What’s up, Iowa?
Ernst talked about stagnant wages, but she vehemently opposes any increase in the federal minimum wage. She talks about the virtue of being raised to live simply, but demonstrates a fanatic allegiance to the 1% by opposing any tax increases that could affect them adversely – even if it means enacting a series of proposals to benefit the Middle class: universal free community college, guaranteed paid sick leave time, cutting mortgage costs, and tripling the childcare tax credit. Ernst is so determined to gut the Affordable Care Act that it sounds as though she’s perfectly likely willing to sacrifice the insurance policies acquired over the past two years by over 10 million previously uninsured Americans. What’s up, Iowa?
Ernst is an anti-choice extremist who supports fetal “personhood”. Ernst is an avowed opponent of same-sex marriage. Ernst has consistently called for state nullification of federal laws, even as the courts consistently rule this unconstitutional. Ernst recklessly called for President Obama’s impeachment and referred to him as a dictator. It’s clear she has no real understanding of our nation as a whole, of its checks and balances, and of due process. In her extremism she’s called for the elimination of the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency (a fierce opponent of Clean Water legislation), and the IRS (given their popularity this is a brave stance indeed!). What’s up, Iowa?
One thing Joni Ernst does love is guns; here, there, and everywhere. No questions asked.
Tom Harkin was such a thoughtful Senator… what’s up, Iowa?