The State of the Union address by President Obama Tuesday night was a well crafted and smoothly delivered summary of where the US is economically, (and in other areas) and he attached a “Dear Santa” wish list addressed to “Santa Boehner”. The body language and irritated looks of Speaker Santa, who sat just to the left and behind the President, spoke volumes during Obama’s delivery and I suspect that Boehner will not be shimmying down the White House chimney soon. There they were, two men of color—one café au lait and the other, orange. Two men of color—you’d think they’d have a special understanding of each other’s differences and challenges and extend an intuitive respect to one another, but the Congressional chambers are too poisoned for such elevated hopes.
With about 2 weeks of Congressional experience under her belt, freshman Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa was chosen to give the Republican response. One reason she was chosen had to do with gender. The Republican positions and platform are so anti-woman that they need a woman as a spokesperson to make it appear their party is enlightened. Congress is a special place and how people got there is fascinating. Joni Ernst’s story is a perfect example. In her pre-election campaign ads she touted her expertise in castrating pigs on her family’s farm. She parlayed this skill into becoming the newly elected senator from Iowa. Yes, Congress is a collection of folk with a wide variety of abilities and panoply of expertise. They cannot however, be accused of inventiveness or originality. Just 20 minutes after the President proudly noted that almost 11 million Americans, more than even in history, had newly purchased health insurance, Senator Joni Ernst spoke of the failure of Obamacare. Despite that she is a newly minted Senator, young and eager, the words she spoke were written by Old Yeller, John Boehner. And why shouldn’t they continue to regurgitate the same noxious pap? After all, it did win them both houses of Congress. Why tinker with success?
But now that the Right has ascended to both majorities, the public will be able to examine their performance more carefully. Just their sprawling social agenda on restricting (to overturning) abortion, reversing voter rights, gerrymandering voting districts, playing the race card, eliminating the EPA and IRS, going back to the gold standard, cutting support for education and arts funding and much more are merely the “movie trailers” to the next two years. When Americans realize how their extreme conservative positions will change their own lives, I suspect they will be Googling Hillary. Of course they could give a second look at the Senator who castrates pigs so effortlessly.