Sunday, January 18, 2015


I said last month that I could imagine the 2016 Republican ticket being Mitt Romney and Joni Ernst, and this bit of unabashed, breathless flackery from The Hill really persuades me that she could be the 2016 running mate:
Ernst: New GOP power player

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....
Charlie 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.

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.


The Eccentric said...

Let's get her past the hurdle of delivering the SOTU response before we get too worried. It's been a minefield for most of the previous responders, so perhaps the GOP establishment is setting her up for a failure ala Jindal, Rubio, etc.

Victor said...

Don't get ahead of yourself, Steve.

She still has to give her rebuttal to the SOtU speech!

She could end up an embarrassment like Jindal, who looked like a creepy little kid in a large man's suit.

Or, like empty-suit Marco, who looked like he had just marched across a desert, and was happy to finally see Gunga Din carrying water in bottles.

Or the other bland and embarrassing and bigoted know-nothings who the GOP tapped to respond.

I'm sure she'll be coached 9 ways to Sunday.
But I think they also coached the others - and we saw how THAT turned out!

So, let's hope she says or does something to disqualify herself from being a VP candidate.

Like maybe eat a bacon sandwich in the middle of her rebuttal, while calling in her hogs - Sooey!
Here sooey, sooey, sooey!!!

Glennis said...

Is she actually a combat veteran? I knew she was in the National Guard, but did she serve in combat?

Glennis said...

[Palin] retains some power to poison debate on serious issues.

No, hardly. Who takes Palin seriously on any issue that is serious?

Yastreblyansky said...

I had the same idea as Victor.

Unknown said...

She makes Palin look qualified.

greg said...

She's not a combat veteran. She was (maybe still is) the commander of the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Iowa National Guard. They were part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004, but they were stationed in Kuwait. Her unit did run supply convoys into Southern Iraq, but as the battalion commander, it's highly unlikely Ernst went along on those supply runs.

I give her credit for serving. I don't think she's ever claimed to be a combat vet -- but to my knowledge she's never tried to correct the impression that she served in combat.