Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Before Joni Ernst delivered the GOP's response to the State of the Union address, Charlie Pierce's prediction seemed very plausible:
The conservative starmaker machinery has become far more efficient since the days when they tried to convince us of Quayle's maturity or Palin's intellect.

... her appearance has been preceded by an orgy of amnesiac beat-sweetening unlike anything I've ever seen before.... she has been the subject of mainstream media profiles that are, to say the least, laudatory.... All the reviews will be glowing.
But Ernst's speech was underwhelming, and her reference to a childhood in which she wore bread bags as galoshes inspired a lot of chuckling online. So her rise to stardom is all over, right? The Republican star system isn't working for her, is it?

Um, not so fast. According to Politico, the voice of the Beltway, she's still going to be a superstar:
Sen. Joni Ernst hasn’t been in office a month, but she’s already delivered the GOP response to the State of the Union. And now the Iowa Republican is looking to parlay her newfound celebrity into something more powerful: influence in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Likely candidates are expected to attend a summer political event put on by Ernst that will showcase her sway at the national level. Weeks after Ernst won a hotly contested Senate race, her staff started planning the June 6 gathering that she aims to turn into an annual tradition akin to the steak fry that her Democratic predecessor, Tom Harkin, put on 37 times.

“It should be a can’t-miss event for presidential candidates who want to get to know Iowans better,” said Matt Strawn, a former chairman of the state GOP who helped Ernst during her campaign; he played her opponent, former Rep. Bruce Braley, in debate prep.

The “Roast and Ride” will likely be held in central Iowa and is expected to be a family friendly event featuring motorcycle rides and a pork-heavy menu.
Oh God, the Village scribes are going to eat this up. Greasy food! Harleys! It's all so authentic!

A lot of Iowa political figures organize confabs like this -- but Politico assures us that this one will be special:
... none of those GOP players have the juice right now that the 44-year-old Ernst does.
Well, there you have it! It's decided! She's already a superstar!

More gush:
“I certainly would [attend] if I was one of those candidates,” Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is close with Ernst, said of the event Ernst is planning.

... Her profile -- Iowa’s first female senator, who won in a swing state without bending on her ideology and boasts a military background -- would guarantee prominence in either party.
The press loves so many things about Ernst -- the motorcycles, the pig castration, the military background, the Midwestern realness. It doesn't matter at this point that she'll never castrate a pig again, never go out in the rain again without proper footwear, never again serve in or near a war zone, and probably never get on a Harley again except as a photo op. Unless she screws up Palin-style, she's going to be a star. The GOP needs that to happen. And the press wants it to.


Victor said...

Oy Gevalt!
An ex-military motorcycle ridin' Mama, who'll be handing out roasted pig skin and beers!

The MSM will love her like they loved W - and, she's got breasts AND a vagina!

The males can now wank, and not feel gay!

She'll be the VP candidate in '16 if she doesn't screw-up.

And a Presidential candidate in '20 or '24.

aimai said...

Steve, I know this is how you really feel about these people but come on--how many has beens were touted up and down before they quietly dissapeared down the memory hole. Ernst is a local politician from Iowa--the only other moneymaking event in Iowa (other than farm subsidies) is milking the tourists and the other politicians for cash because of the early polling done in Iowa. She is not blazing any new trails--in fact she is just imitating Steve King. And STeve King has been able to profit off of his Iowa politician-farm but he isn't, himself, any kind of kingmaker. Because all he can parlay in exchange for all this ring kissing is a few old white votes in Iowa. The Koch brothers have trumped Iowa with their 1 billion dollars and if the GOP ever decides to move the caucuses out of Iowa (or the straw poll, whatever it is) the power of "owning" that Iowa land is over.

Ernst is going to throw some greasy parties and the press will go to them but who gives a flying fuck? It won't change the fact that the party kowtows to Iowa only because of its position in the nomination business, which as far as I know is first but not signficant at this point.

aimai said...

Also I'd like to point out that "what the press wants" is more ink and more photo ops. They really don't care if its Ernst or anyone else. The GOP will never, ever, allow another Palin-like woman to get nominated for VP--Ernst's only chance at getting to run seriously for president, by the way. Michelle Bachmann has demonstrated what happens when a celebrity/female favorite decides to run on her own. Nothing.

The big money is going to demand that either no woman be allowed a look in, or a woman who is not going to fuck up in front of New York and the Intellectuals again. Then the rubes will demand that no Kay Bailey Hutchison/Renee Ellmers or other RINO be allowed to be selected and they will just choose a white guy again to be safe, or Rubio or Cruz to "lock up" what they think of as the hispanic vote.

Ernst has risen as high as she is going to. Even if she remains a Senator for years, which I expect she will given the value of incumbency.

ladyblug said...

She has competition with Governor Scott "Wanker"!

Never Ben Better said...

Watch for bobbleheads contrasting her young, vigorous potential against the old, wornout, past-her-sell-date aura of a certain Democratic woman.

Grung_e_Gene said...

The Importance of Being Ernst

aimai is probably correct, Ernst is as high as she'll ever go. She'll be the Bachmann of the Senate for the next 18 years.

Victor said...

Yeah, I suspect aimai is right, too.

As I've gotten older, and this country worse, I have a very, very low freak-out level.

Steve M. said...

Watch for bobbleheads contrasting her young, vigorous potential against the old, wornout, past-her-sell-date aura of a certain Democratic woman.

Yes. This. Exactly.

aimai said...

Won't do any good to contrast her with clinton--the gop isn't going to run her in the top slot so the contrast will be meaningless. If they run her in the vp slot the contrast will be to Palin. And in any event people who think, dreamily,that they might vote for Clinton aren't deciding to vote "for a woman" in place of a man. They are choosing to imagine voting for a GRANDMA with experience who brings back a sense of optimism and a dim memory of happier economic times. They don't want vigor and youth. They actually want an older woman in this role.

Steve M. said...

And this is indisputably true based on what evidence?

aimai said...

That the GOP isn't going to run her in the top slot? Do you seriously think that is likely? The rest? I'm just spitballing but the recent poll of Republicans show that they are completely uninterested in "seeing a woman in the presidency" even after 2016. They are so opposed to Clinton that they will crawl over broken glass to vote against her so Ernst isn't going to take any votes away from Clinton among the faithful on the right because there are no votes for her.

There may be some white reagan democrats/working class whites who will come back to the fold for Clinton --these are the people who were too racist to vote for Obama but who aren't fully on board with the entire right wing project. They aren't going to get jazzed up by the lady hog butcher because they aren't, for the most part, midwestern loons but people in jersey or elsewhere who fell into the category "ethnic whites."

Aunt Snow said...

who won in a swing state without bending on her ideology

If what you mean by "without bending on her ideology" is completely concealing it in the General, yeah.

Steve M. said...

I don't think Ernst at the top of the ticket in the future seems any crazier than Reagan at the top of the ticket seemed in the years leading up to 1980.

And as for GOP gynophobia: yeah, it's there, but they'd vote for an American Thatcher in a heartbeat. (Not that I think Ernst is smart enough to fill that bill, but Reagan wasn't, either.)

Ten Bears said...

It would validate the theory that those who fill "the top slot" are naught but corporate puppets. It's pretty clear she'd be nothing more.

Sad example to set for young women.

Never Ben Better said...

Not compare her with Clinton? C'mon, guys -- don't you remember how, right after Palin made her blazing entry at the GOP convention, a certain swath of the punditry and populace were trumpeting how much better she was than Obama? Yes, she took herself down in the ensuing weeks, but for her idolators, Biden didn't even exist except as a throwaway joke; it was Palin versus that inadequate black male that was the real story (and what that says about how long they expected McCain to survive in office is better left unexamined).