For the past two years, the GOP has chosen a woman to deliver the Republican response to the President’s SOTU speech. For the past two years, the GOP has chosen a woman who seems to have gotten her speech training from the Sesame Street Workshop.
In 2014, McMorris Rodgers gave an upbeat, simplistic presentation that had zero substance. This year it was Joni Ernst who spoke to us as if we cannot understand speech delivered at a normal speed.
But, let me start from the beginning. The beginning of Ernst’s speech was pretty good. For once, someone acknowledged that the SOTU response is not a response to SOTU. For that to be true, the opposition party would have to be given a copy of the President’s speech way before his delivery, something that I doubt will ever happen.
But, let’s proceed. Forty seconds into her speech Ernst says, “I’d like to talk about your priorities.” So far really good.
“The New Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been.” Ah, I would think so, since Republicans have been responsible for most of the difficulties, starting with Bush’s legacy and continuing with the political malpractice committed by their scorched-earth opposition and obstruction against President Obama.
Next up, Ernst tells us about her hard childhood, “growing up I only had one good pair of shoes.” My heart went out to her when she said that (must be because I’m a liberal). And then she tells us about the plastic bread bags her mom used to slip on her shoes on rainy days to keep them dry. However, she tells us; she was never embarrassed. She wasn’t embarrassed not because it was a sign of frugality, but because “the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet,” (what a
wholesome Holsum image).
As far as I’m concerned, the speech went downhill from there. Soon after, she mentioned that in response to Americans demanding solutions to their hardship “too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare, blah, blah, blah.” But the height of hypocrisy came with this: “That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again.”
I could go on giving you snippets of her speech, but I’ll use up this space to say this: I don’t understand. I don’t get how people like Joni Ernst, John Boehner, Marco Rubio and a host of other Republican lawmakers, who came from poor, hard-working families can belong to a party that shows such little disregard for the poor. Why would any of these people not support policies that give those with the most need the chance to improve their lives just as they did? Are they afraid that if more people become rich, they will become less so? History has shown otherwise. Oh, but I forgot that these people only believe the history that they invent themselves.
Almost at the end of her speech, Ernst mentioned the Party’s intention to “defend life because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.” Doesn’t she realize that the most vulnerable are those children whose parents can’t feed them or put a roof over their heads or provide them with a good education? Doesn’t she realize that the best way to defend life is to fight for the living who most desperately need our help?
But there’s something else I don’t understand, how can any self-respecting woman belong in today’s Republican Party when John Boehner will not stand up, much less clap when President Obama mentioned equal pay for equal work? Joni Ernst is a second-class citizen according to her Party and probably most of its male members. They think that it’s normal for her to earn less than a male counterpart. They’re confused about rape at best and disgustingly flippant about it at worst. Rush Limbaugh, the GOP’s megaphone thinks that no means yes. They want to control what she can do with her body by taking away her ability to choose and make her own decisions.
The only reason that Joni Ernst found herself giving the SOTU reply last night was because her Party wanted to gloss over all of this (for the second year in a row). Suddenly I’m reminded of lipstick and pigs. The GOP doesn’t care about women, and it doesn’t care about Joni Ernst. It….would…..be…..good…..for….her….to….realize…it.