Now that Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is leaving public office to focus full-time on staying out of prison, the TEA Party contingent from the midwest needs someone long on style, and short on substance. They need another “Not Ready For Prime Time” player, and they may have found their champion in Iowa state Senator Joni Ernst.
Joni’s an Iraq-war veteran and military spouse who felt the best way to let Iowans know she’s ready to debate big ideas in the United States Senate (the greatest deliberative body in the world), was to announce “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.” Yee-Haw! (Run ‘fer the hills, Lindsey!)
The explanation for Joni’s unlikely strong showing so far against Democratic incumbent Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA), might just be that small misstep between famous, and infamous. In Ms. Ernst’s case, to rally support among fellow veterans and her corn-raisin’, apple-pie-bakin’, hog-castratin’ neighbors, that time deployed Iraq has to mean something; if she were there based only on lies, it might diminish her service. It doesn’t, of course, but thinking this irrational defies logical analysis.
Clearly, Joni knows the difference between a “baconer” and a “finisher,” but for broad-based appeal she needs to lean on her military record; it could explain why she was willing to trot out the specter of WMD’s in Iraq, even though it’s been ten years since the reasons stated for a full-scale military invasion have been thoroughly-debunked. She knows there were WMDs in Iraq because … well, um, ‘because her husband’s military, too.’ Makes perfect sense, right?
In this post-truth era of American politics, Joni understands intuitively that her job isn’t to inform the national debate or her electorate; a clever Republican politician feeds their constituent’s confirmation bias a steady diet of lies, designed to instill fear. ‘We got lucky THIS time, but without a clear vision of [insert imaginary dangers here], we might not be so lucky NEXT time.’
For the folks down home on the farm, politics is mostly foreign and all they know for sure is this: if they’re seeing that hometown girl being lambasted by those “liberal media types,” — by God, she must be doing something right.
Rachel Maddow has the video: