The Republican Party has asked Senator Joni Ernst has been assigned the task of  responding to President Obama’s, January 20, 2014, State of the Union address. In doing so, Senator Ernst will become the first, first year Senator to give the Republican Party’s response on Tuesday night. Her assignment is an indication that the party considers her to be a rising star of the party. But what does her giving the speech say about the Republican Party?

Senator Mitch McConnell, the new Majority Leader in the U.S.Senate, had immediately stated upon his victory in November, that first he would look to areas that both political parties can agree on.

What does the Newly elected senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst stand for? What is she like? Is there a message to be gleaned from the Republicans by having chosen her as their spokesperson, Tuesday night. She is smart, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a masters degree in Public Administration. She is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard, married to a combat veteran ranger, and she has one child.

She was elected to the Iowa state legislature in 2012. In the Iowa State Senate she co-sponsored resolutions that sought to nullify federal regulations that affected coal fired electrical plants in Iowa. Ernst has stated that there have been 200 years of Federal Regulations going against States Rights.

She has stated in her campaign for the US. Senate that , she intends to eliminate the IRS, the Department of Education and the EPA. She views the 10th Amendment to be controlling in most matters other than the enumerated portions of the Constitution. She opposes the Federal Minimum wage claiming that the only the states have the power to set wages. She alleges that the Clean Water Act damages business. She has stated that she supports the privatization of parts of both Social Security and Medicare. Regarding Social Security she would like to see young people have a privatized plan. She believes that marriage is a state issue and that she is against same sex marriage. Senator Ernst strongly supports a Personhood Bill which would virtually end all abortions since she believes that life begins at conception.

The castration candidate wants to cut pork, what she considers to be wasteful spending. Her pork might very well be another person’s bone.

So where can we start to end the dysfunction that Senator McConnell decried in the heady days following his re-election, knowing that he would become the new Majority Leader of the United States Senate? Where is the common ground? When you name a new Senator to speak for the Republican Party you are sending a message not only in response to the State of the Union, but you are stating where your party stands on the issues of the day. Her appointment to be the speaker seems to be saying that her conservatism is supported by the party. There is no olive branch being sent out by having her as the speaker. You have basically sent down the gauntlet and the challenge.

The ideological breach continues and gridlock is what we have to look forward to for the next two years. Let us wait to see if there is anything in the Republican Party’s response that indicates any willingness to be flexible.




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