The President revealed his vision of 2015, and, as is typical, the Republicans stepped up to the plate to reveal theirs. Even given four strikes, though, they couldn’t hit a home run, especially with hog-castrating Michelle Bachmann-substitute Joni Ernst sitting in on the home plate.
Ernst didn’t have much to say in the speech about ideas — which surprises exactly no one — but she did want everyone to know that she can crank up the tiny violins and layer the maudlin so thick it makes me nauseous. She gave us an autobiography, making sure that we all knew she “worked the biscuit line at Hardee’s,” while spitting the “rah-rah Murkah good!” BS that we all know and love.
Ernst kicked off by noting that “it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country,” and that “we appreciate the President sharing his.”
Condescending? What, never.
Ernst continued, telling us right off the bat she isn’t going to bother responding to the President’s speech — probably because she knows that the republics have nothing to respond with — and instead, they were going to “talk about your priorities.” And “your” priorities, it appears, are sob stories and mawkish melodrama:
The new Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. For many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction, weren’t things we had to read about. We felt them every day.
We felt them in Red Oak — the little town in southwestern Iowa where I grew up, and am still proud to call home today.
As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.
We were raised to live simply, not to waste. It was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning.
You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry.
But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet.
Our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have.
“They may not have had much,” but slaved like dogs for it. I don’t understand why people are proud of this. It’s like being proud of helping that Nigerian Prince who emailed you. It’s one thing to be proud of your work, but it’s another thing all together to be proud of the system that forces you to waste your life, day in and day out, getting pittance in exchange.
This story is a fantastic story, because it punctures the idiotic idea that if you work hard enough, you too can become a millionaire. Her parents, and other parents like hers, weren’t lazy. They worked hard. So why weren’t they billionaires? If they weren’t lazy deadbeats, where’s their multi-millions? They work their entire lives to afford bread bags slipped over feet; does this even remotely strike you as justice, in any sense at all?
This, according to Ernst, is what makes our country “great:” that you could mistake children on a school bus in Iowa for children living in Kolkatta.
I won’t even touch on the whole “I saved money for college working on the biscuit line at Hardee’s,” because that’s so far removed form the current reality it’s ridiculous.
Speaking on behalf of the GOP, Ernst laid out their “priorities,” which include “demanding solutions” instead of “a mindset that gave us political talking points:”
Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.
So where are the “serious solutions” in this speech? Sorry, you’re barking up the wrong tree. This isn’t about solutions, it’s about priorites.
And those priorities include “the Keystone jobs bill,” which is a laughable attempt at language control. She’s referring to the Keystone XL Pipeline, which Obama threatened to veto because Congress wasn’t going thorough the proper channels to pass their environment-destroying crack pipe. She called it an “infrastructure project,” which it decided is not, since no roads get fixed, no water pipes get laid, no power grid gets overhauled.
And not even two paragraphs before she was condemning political talking points. What she has to say here is nothing but a string of talking points, brought to you by the letter “A” for “ALEC.”
She talked about simplifying “America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code,” and added that “Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending.”
So more historical textbook populist talking points, in the sense I’m sure I could find them in a historical textbook.
Finally, after days of empty platitudes, she gets to the meat of the speech, noting the issues that Congress plans to address:
We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families.
We’ll work to correct executive overreach.
We’ll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget — with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the President has proposed.
We’ll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we’ve seen recently.
We’ll work to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
And we’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.
Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again.
I’m saddened that she didn’t mention anything about Benghazi. It’s like being let down by a close friend; you expected them to come through and then, well, nope.
Let me decode these points for you:
We’re going to try 50+ more times to repeal Obamacare
We’re going to deport them “illegal” brown people
We’re going to pass more corporate tax breaks and loopholes while punting the bill off onto the working poor and middle class tools who voted for us
We’re going to pretend we understand how the Internet works while pushing CISPA and other RIAA-backed legislation
We’re going to saber rattle louder at our only honest “ally” in the Middle East
We’re going to push through more anti-choice legislation, because we have nothing better to do with your tax dollars than ignore the other things Americans voted against (namely: personhood laws)
Congress is working for the big businesses, and we’re going to make Washington wring every penny out of you if you’re poor
She closes with more platitudes about her “parents and grandparents” and how they had “little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands.” But it’s obvious she still hasn’t realized that if they worked as hard as she says they did, it handily disproves the idea that hard work equal success.
She continues, saying that “And because they did, an ordinary Iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work.”
In saying this, she ignores the “truly extraordinary opportunities” she mentions as a point of difference between her and other people who don’t have those “truly extraordinary opportunities.”
Like the vast majority of Americans.