Saturday, October 18, 2014

Respect Not

Republicans are purported to have a better than even shot (pun intended, given NRA support) at retaking the U.S. Senate following November's elections. One of the GOP's candidates who would contribute to that blow to the middle class is Iowan Joni Ernst (video from American Bridge, below).

In January, Ernst embraced Glenn Beck's conspiracy-mongering on a 1992 U.N. resolution about the environment, remarking

The United Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. senator, I would say, ‘No more. No more Agenda 21.’ Community planning — to the effect that it is implementing eminent domain and taking away property rights away from individuals — I don’t agree with that. And especially in a place such as Iowa, where we rely heavily upon our agricultural community, our rural communities. We don’t want to see things like eminent domain come into play,
Ernst's fortunes in the Repub primary were flagging when she started to rebound by bragging that she "grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm."  Once she was the nominee, Ernst was asked her opinion of impeachment of Barack Obama, whom she believes is abusing his office, and replied
I do think that yes, he should face those repercussions, and whether that's removal from office, whether that's impeachment...
As a U.S. senator, though, we have to push that issue, we can't be silent on things like that. And unfortunately we have a number of legislators right now that simply let these things happen. They're not speaking up against these actions. They're not speaking out against the president when he oversteps his bounds, when he makes those appointments, when he's appointing czars, when he is producing executive orders in a threat to a Congress that won't do as he wishes. So he has become a dictator.
He is running amok. He is not following our Constitution, and unfortunately we have leaders who are not serving as leaders right now, they're not defending the Constitution and they're not defending you and me
Though now wrapping herself in the U.S. Constitution, Ernst told a forum in March, 2013
You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators—as senators or congressman—that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.
Ernst backed off these two notions, as she did from a statement she made in March:
Participation in the broken Medicaid program has doubled over the past decade. Iowa has nearly 500,000 Medicaid enrollees. If the program is expanded, it is estimated the Medicaid population will grow by an additional 110,000 to 181,000 recipients who have no personal responsibility for their health and no accountability for the care provided.
Back in August of last year, however, Ernst similarly had claimed 
What we have to do a better job of is educating not only Iowans, but the American people that they can be self-sufficient. They don’t have to rely on the government to be the do-all, end-all for everything they need and desire, and that’s what we have fostered, is really a generation of people that rely on the government to provide absolutely everything for them. It’s going to take a lot of education to get people out of that. It’s going to be very painful and we know that. So do we have the intestinal fortitude to do that?
Salon's Elias Isquith realizes Ernst
is putting her best euphemisms to work in order to spin the gutting or annihilation of most government services as an “educational” moment during which the public’s “very painful” initial shock of losing access to health care, unemployment insurance, disability insurance or even Social Security will eventually give way to the liberating knowledge that “they can be self-sufficient.” The question, Ernst argues, is not whether this slash-and-burn approach is necessary. It’s not even whether “self-sufficiency” will be enough to fill the void left by the suddenly libertarian state.
The question is whether conservatives enact that suffering without buckling to the people’s cries, Ernst says. “[D]o we have the intestinal fortitude to do that?”
If the candidate's attitude strikes you (as it does Isquith) as particularly mean (as well as unrealistic), there is good reason. But it goes beyond mean.
Ernst seems to be studying from the Rush Limbaugh playbook as she looks down on people.  She says "we have to do a better job" at the task of "educating not only Iowans." "It's going to take a lot of education" for people to gain any insight, she argues.
It is past the time when politicians avoided insulting or patronizing individuals- voters- to whom they were trying to appeal. Ernst's listeners no doubt she is talking about The Other- not themselves, their families, their friends, or (in most cases) their neighbors.  Surely, when Mitt Romney tried to explain his "47%" remarks, he hoped that people would believe he was talking about anyone but them.
But of course, Mitt was talking about them, just as Joni Ernst is.  Iowa has one of the oldest populations in the country, with the 4th largest percentage of inhabitants aged 65+ as of 2000.  Ernst has endorsed "reform" of Social Security, which she wants to "preserve," euphemisms for "cut." So when Joni Ernst says she wants people to be "self-sufficient" and not "rely on the government," she is gunning (figuratively, obviously) for the elderly.  
If Democrats cannot defeat a candidate with plans for America's old-age program, contempt for the state's citizens, a conspiratorial mind-set, and ignorance of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, they are likely to lose the Senate, suppression of voting rights is not the Party's only problem.

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