The feeling on social media, at least among my Facebook friends, was President Obama did some cojones kicking last night. And it’s probably a safe bet the GOP knew he would aim squarely for their collective groins a few times, which explains why Joni Ernst was their go-to-gal for the Republican rebuttal. After all, a huge part of Ernst’s campaign for senate was her experience castrating hogs. Heck, in one of her campaign videos, that’s the first thing she said:
I’m Joni Ernst, and I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
Her chosen title for that campaign ad was “Squeal.” You know, like “Deliverance.” Lindsey Graham welcomed Joni Ernst to the Senate by presenting her with a custom-mounted castrating tool, with a plaque that reads “Make ‘Em Squeal, Joni!” Your tax dollars at work.
During her rebuttal, Senator Ernst spoke about her childhood:
As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.
She talked about being poor, sharing a moving story about her shoes:
You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry. But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet.
I have to be honest; at this point I thought Joni would break into song. Maybe “Coal Miner’s Daughter:”
In the summertime we didn’t have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we’d all get a brand new pair
From a mail order catalog, money made from selling a hog
Daddy always managed to get the money somewhere
Obviously, things have picked up for Joni over the past few years, evidenced by her choice of footwear Tuesday evening. Did the senator wear a modest, black, navy, or brown flat? Or perhaps an open toe, sling-back snazzy pair, suitable for both houses? No, she wore camouflage pumps. Seriously. The only thing missing is the Duck Dynasty logo.
If you’d like to dress your feet so no one can see them, The Find.com offers some interesting choices, including an Aerosole pump that closely resembles Senator Ernst’s rebuttal shoes.
The GOP seems to have renamed the Keystone XL pipeline-Joni Ernst called it “the Keystone jobs bill.” She claimed “The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs…” Well, literally thousands. About 5,000 to 6,000 direct construction jobs that would “not have a significant impact on long-term employment.” And according to economic consultants hired by TransCanada, the Keystone pipeline will raise the price of gas and diesel fuel. From the Christian Science Monitor:
The firms involved have asked the US State Department to approve this project, even as they’ve told Canadian government officials how the pipeline can be used to add at least $4 billion to the US fuel bill,” Philip K. Verleger, president of PKVerleger LLC, a Colorado consulting firm that specializes in research on oil market economics, wrote in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune commentary last March.
US farmers who spent $12.4 billion on fuel in 2009 could see those costs rise to $15 billion or higher if the pipeline goes through, he projects. At least $500 million of the added cost “would come from the Canadian market manipulation,” he wrote.
“Millions of Americans will spend 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel as tribute to our ‘friendly’ neighbors to the north,” the highly respected Dr. Verleger wrote. “The Keystone XL pipeline will move production from Canadian oil sands to a deepwater port from where it can be exported.”
But that is not merely Verleger’s opinion. It’s based on findings of the economic consultants hired by TransCanada – contained in their analyses of the pipeline’s impact on Canadian oil producers and in official testimony before Canada’s National Energy Board.
Finally, Senator Ernst spoke of defending life, “because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.” Given that President Obama spoke about the need for affordable-or even free-daycare, and Ernst’s own story of growing up in poverty, one would think she’d be on board with helping one vulnerable segment of our society: the poor. And one would be wrong. In 2013, Joni Ernst was captured on audio, claiming we have created “a generation of people that rely on the government to provide absolutely everything for them.” She did admit it would be “very painful” getting those people “out of that.” Her recommendations were to stop relying on the government for “everything,” and turn to churches and food pantries:
And in the years since I was a small girl up until now into my adulthood with children of my own, we have lost a reliance on not only our own families, but so much of what our churches and private organizations used to do. They used to have wonderful food pantries. They used to provide clothing for those that really needed it. But we have gotten away from that. Now we’re at a point where the government will just give away anything.
Ron Paul floated this ideology back in 2012, saying people should rely on charities for healthcare, and who can forget Newt Gingrich’s idea for poor kids-make them janitors? Self-reliance, bootstraps, food pantries, charity.
On a lighter note, Senator Ernst may have taken a cue from Michele Bachmann regarding her rebuttal Tuesday evening. She spent the entire time not looking at the camera. If I were trying to sell the dreck that make up the policies of the GOP, I probably wouldn’t look into the camera either.
Watch the video below, courtesy of PBS News Hour: