Skip to comments.Joan Walsh - State of the GOP is broken: I thought Joni Ernst was bad. Then I watched Ted Cruz
Posted on 01/21/2015 4:55:24 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Watching Sen. Joni Ernst Tuesday night, I found myself thinking: If theres a GOP establishment, it must consist of secret Democrats, because they so reliably sabotage their rising stars by assigning them the reply to President Obamas annual State of the Union address, way before theyre ready. Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio moved from 2016 contenders to punch lines in moments.
Ernst seemed headed the same way, with her robotic sing-song delivery and her head-scratching anecdotes about bread bags on her shoes and working the biscuit lines at Hardees. She was clearly working to show voters that shes a regular person who cares about the working class, even though she told the Koch brothers last June that they really started my trajectory. Its tough to square those notions, but Ernst took to the task with good cheer and the gumption you need to castrate hogs.
I always struggle with whether its sexist to reflexively compare female Republicans like Joni Ernst to Sarah Palin. It may well be, but its clear they also play similar roles in their party. Both women have been sized up as vice-presidential fodder (strangely, the GOP never seems to size up women as potential presidents, which presented a problem in 2008 when voters realized they were electing Palin to be a heartbeat away).
And to be fair, Palin and Ernst have other things in common. The GOPs answer to feminism, its strategy for winning female votes without changing its anti-female policies, seems to be recruiting sassy frontier gals who hunt and ride motorcycles and, yes, castrate hogs, but do it all in lipstick and (camouflage) pumps. And hey, in Iowa, it worked.
But then I watched Sen. Ted Cruzs star turn, and Ernst looked a lot better. And I realized it probably is sexist to find a robotic, sing-song delivery Palinesque: Cruz was just as robotic and staged, only with a deeper voice until his devastating meh moment. Meh let me start over, he says, almost a minute into his Obama attack. And someone on his staff again, a closeted Democrat? posted the whole thing to YouTube.
I could watch Cruzs meh moment on an endless back-to-back loop with Obamas I know, because I won both of them line. The Texas senator, a former debate champion and Supreme Court litigator, is supposed to be one of the partys great orators? He made Ernst look good.
But the problems didnt stop with Ernsts cheerful mediocrity or Cruzs arrogant pratfall. What does it mean that there were five GOP replies to Obama? (Or seven, if you count Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush on Facebook.) Historically, the SOTU response began as a way for the out-of-power party to compete with a president hogging the cameras for an hour to pitch his policies to a nationally televised audience. The modern Republican Party has taken that opportunity and fractured it.
There was the Spanish language version from Rep. Carlos Curbelo the one that included immigration reform when Ernsts didnt. Guys, narrow casting doesnt work anymore even Google will translate for the monolingual.
And that Tea Party guy whose name I cant remember? That just further branded the Tea Folk as irrelevant, given that its stars are supposedly Cruz and Rand Paul. Why not bask in their glory? (Paul actually delivered the reply in 2013.) Or maybe Tea Partyer has become synonymous with crackpot who cant get elected to a statewide office, or who mistakes Obama administration staffers with visitors from India.
Meanwhile, front-runners and elder statesmen Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush borrowed a page from Palin and took to Facebook Romney even reprised her famous bridge to nowhere joke, this time about Obamas SOTU proposals.
Only Rand Paul made a semi-credible response, with a doom and gloom overview that made a welcome nod to racial unrest in Ferguson and elsewhere. For what its worth, he said more about the topic than Obama did.
Rand Paul is not the most interesting man in politics, but hes certainly the most interesting man in the Republican Party. I still find him slightly threatening in a matchup with Hillary Clinton he trashed Hillarys war in Libya Wednesday night when none of the rest would likely mess up her 2016 hair. But really, what a train wreck this party is.
Look, plenty of Democrats botched their SOTU replies. In (relatively) recent years, newly minted former Gov. Tim Kaine comes to mind, but he shrugged it off and now hes a senator. You make a reply that doesnt go well, and nobody talks about it the next day. Thats a big win, compared with seven dwarfish responses that prove the party is going to keep its firing squad arranged in a circle.
And remember, at this point were likely to see at least four of those guys counting Bush and Romney, Paul and Cruz in the 2016 presidential debates. Cruz was expected to be formidable, but you dont get do-overs at live, nationally televised events, no matter how Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus thinks he can rig the rules. Im not saying the Democrats have no problems or internal fissures, but their debates wont feature anything like the GOPs.
Expect the media to say thats boring, and damaging to Clinton. But secretly, or not so secretly, Republicans wish they had Clintons problems.
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."
Ernst did fine, better than Rubio did. It was a little stale though. McConnell clearly fed the teleprompter
This woman is a psychopath.
Joan Walsh is a ditzy loon. Perfect for the Saloon.
She must’ve been something before the internal combustion engine.
Wow, that makeup has to be on with a trowel.
She’s a looker! (Makes me looker the other way!)
Of course a Commie lib wouldn’t like Joni Ernst..they hate everyone who is for freedom and life..if Mao was dug up from the dead the left would nominate him for President
WOW talk about being severely bitter, bitchy and, jealous.
Joan Walsh’s brain is broken...
That is here?
Yuck, no wonder she is jealous of republican women, what a ugly, bitter hag.
Yes that one line was accurate.
Salon makes The Onion look newsworthy.
What is THAT?
Or before Dinosaurs... :-)
The Snark is strong with this one.
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