Ernst: New GOP power playerCharlie Pierce refers to Politico as "Tiger Beat on the Potomac"; generally speaking, no publication deserves that designation more than Politico, but this Hill piece is extreme in its uncritical gush even by the standards of Politico at its worst.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is enjoying a meteoric rise.
Just weeks removed from being a first-term state senator, she’s now preparing to give the GOP’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
It’s the first time a newly sworn-in senator will deliver the Republican remarks, but GOP leaders have good reasons for tapping the fast-rising star.
The motorcycle-riding, gun-toting, self-described “farm girl” is also the first female combat veteran to ever serve in the Senate — and the first woman to ever win a race for federal office in Iowa. She’s guaranteed to be a power player heading into the 2016 presidential race as an influential voice in the swing state, and a potential kingmaker in the state’s influential caucuses....
Please notice two things: this piece appears in The Hill, not at Breitbart, and Ernst was chosen to deliver the State of the Union response by party bosses, not by tea party crazies. That means that although you know and I know that Ernst is an Agenda 21-fearing, nullification-invoking, impeachment-endorsing extremist who's agreed in the past that bureaucrats implementing Obamacare should be arrested and jailed, she's being promoted by the GOP establishment. These people may fear the likes of Ted Cruz, but even though she's been his ideological soul mate, they like her. They like her a lot. She ticks off so many demographic boxes -- she's young, she's female (and the sort of woman they think will appeal to the socially conservative married women who do vote GOP but might like Hillary Clinton in 2016), she's a war veteran (at a time when not one of the men contending for the presidency in their party has ever seen combat, and the vast majority have never even served)....
So they think they can disappear her past -- and in her electoral victory in Iowa, which still votes Democrat at the presidential level, that was certainly the case.
She stopped talking the extremist talk as she was running in 2014, and if she keeps that up, they probably can browbeat the mainstream press into refraining from bringing up her past positions. However, if she remains very conservative, she's just the sort of person who winds up in the #2 slot on the GOP ticket as a counterweight to a presidential candidate whose right-wing bona fides the base doesn't trust (and with the exception of Reagan and George W. Bush, the base never thinks the nominee is conservative enough). Think Poppy Bush and Dan Quayle, or John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Of course, the tickets I've mentioned lost two out of three elections. But in Palin's case, at least, we haven't been able to get rid of her ever since, and she retains some power to poison debate on serious issues.
And this time, if it's Ernst on the ticket, it looks as if it won't be the nominee making a bad decision all by himself -- it'll be the party elders poring over poll and focus-group results and foisting her on the public.
She's dangerous. She has some charisma. And if the nominee is Romney, Bush, Christie, or Rubio in particular -- anyone who seems insufficiently conservative and rural for the Republican rank-and-file -- she really could be the #2.