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Newly elected Senator Joni Ernst has been selected by Republicans to deliver the rebuttal speech to President Obama's State of the Union Speech. Mitch McConnell has called her the "perfect choice", I suppose because she is only one of six Republican women in the Senate, and Republicans need her to offset the impression of an old white boys club that reserves the Senate swimming pool to themselves so they can swim nude. But are her personal views really the new face of the Republican Party...the perfect choice? It will be interesting to see how much she is allowed to speak freely, but as a two week newbie in Washington, I expect the Republican establishment will vet her speech carefully.
Joni Ernst is probably best known for pig castration jokes during her successful campaign. Maybe she'll lead off with another castration joke to lighten things up...perhaps a "Let's make 'em squeal," with subtle references to Democrats and President Obama's manhood.
I'm sure she would like to talk about the personhood amendment that she sponsored while in the Iowa State Senate, more specifically, "the inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected." She shares that view with many on the religious right in her party. However, McConnell will likely censor any lines that make reference to personhood.
As a State Senator, Ernst said she would support legislation that would not only “nullify” Obamacare in Iowa, but also allow "local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement" Obamacare. Kind of drastic if not outright ignorant. So I doubt McConnell will let her use the words "nullify". It'll be "repeal" with the usual words of answering to the wishes of the America people.
What will Ernst have to say about the Republican House first order of business for 2015: passing a bill to overturn President Obama's "lawless" executive actions on immigration including Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from 2012...also known as the Dreamers? Will she reiterate the worn out Republican talking points: No amnesty for the "illegals"? Secure the border first. Step up deportations. But, of course, no mention of how some 11 million "illegals" can be practically deported. It doesn't matter...it sounds good. Nevertheless, using the Homeland Security budget as a tool to block Obama's immigration measures can backfire on Republicans.
I expect that Ernst will talk about Republican values, and stopping Obama's "reckless policies" and "unconstitutional executive actions", but otherwise nothing substantive other than perhaps privatizing Social Security and Medicare, cutting taxes for the "job creators", cutting bureaucratic regulations especially those associated with the EPA, approving the Keystone Pipeline, Climate Change denial, cutting food stamps, etc. with all kinds of adjectives added to make Republicans feel good.
Will anybody be watching...or listening? Pig castration jokes may go over well in Iowa, but she'll need more than that to appeal to a national audience.