Iowans are so desperate for a senator who is not a rich white man that hog-castrating Tea Party gun-nut Joni Ernst might actually win. Ernst is running on a “f*ck you, I got mine” platform, repeatedly denigrating the poor and arguing that poverty wages are “appropriate” for her state.
Iowa is one of only two states that has never elected a woman to the House, Senate, or as Governor, and Ernst may, unfortunately, change that with a woman whose primary qualification is the ability to castrate a pig, as she outlines in a banjo-fueled, backwoods campaign ad, in which she promises to “make ’em squeal.” In another ad, Ernst quite literally shoots Obamacare, because the Senate hopeful desperately wants to be the first stereotype Iowa Senator, as well as the first female one.
Ernst has no problem appealing to men with her ridiculous ads and rhetoric, but NPR points out that she has a woman problem.
Last week, we invited six Iowa women, from across the political spectrum, to watch the third and final Braley-Ernst televised debate with us.
In that debate, there was much talk about the Personhood Amendment to the Iowa Constitution that Ernst sponsored as a state senator. Would declaring a fertilized egg to be a person ban all abortions, some contraceptives and in vitro fertilization?
Braley cited the concerns of OB-GYNs that it would do all those things.
Ernst said she’s pro-life. She could support abortion to save the life of a mother. She said she supports access to contraception and she has no objection to in vitro, which entails disposing of excess fertilized eggs.
In the debate, Ernst also spoke of going to Washington to fix a dysfunctional government.
Braley said that all of her solutions scrap things: the Department of Education, federal student loans, the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal minimum wage.
When each was asked to say something admirable about the other, Braley said this about Ernst, who was deployed in the Iraq War:
“Well, I admire the fact that Sen. Ernst has served our nation and our state and the Iowa National Guard. I think it’s a terrific attribute. My father was a Word War II combat veteran, and I have great respect for Sen. Ernst for serving our country.”
“And I think Congressman Braley is a great father.”
The reaction from our group: “Oh, God.” Most found that line to be condescending.
All six of those invited thought Baley was more qualified. Loretta Sieman, a registered Republican, said that she just could not get behind the hog-baller. “At the end, [Braley] just talked about what he was going to do. She talked about what he didn’t do. And that drives me crazy,” she said. “As a woman, we know that we have never had a woman from Iowa so we’re supposed to be involved for that. As a past councilperson, I want the right person and I don’t care if they wear a skirt or pants.”
“To me, it’s important to have a woman, I think, in the Senate, and from Iowa,” said Young Republican Brittany Guara. “I think a lot of women in Iowa have a lot to bring to the table — but it’s not important to me right now if she’s not the right woman.”
Local businesswoman Karen Novak agreed with the assessment of her fellow Republicans.”I’m looking at who’s the most qualified individual. I don’t care if they wear pants or a skirt, it makes no difference. I would absolutely love to get a woman in office, but only if she’s the right one and she has the right qualifications,” she said.
In fact, seeing Ernst in action all but turned two of those three women into Braley voters.
Despite the revulsion Ernst summons in women, she still appeals to men heavily — something that could win her the race. A Des Moines Register poll from October 3-8 poll revealed a 15-point lead among men, who like her “decisiveness and directness, her military background and leadership,” according to Yahoo News.
Will this be enough to offset the disgust women feel at the thought of voting for the Tea Party darling? God, we hope not. Can you imagine two years with this woman being involved in decision making?
Remember to head to the polls on November 4.