Sounds like an interesting candidate

Joni Ernst became famous by gazing into a camera and boasting of castrating hogs on the Iowa farm where she grew up.

“So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” she said. The campaign ad Squeal showed images of pigs, then came her punchline. “Washington is full of big spenders. Let’s make ‘em squeal.”

Even Democrats laughed. Late-night comedians spoofed it. Few, initially, took it seriously. This was back in March. Ernst was an obscure, one-term state senator scrambling in a primary against rival Republicans for the right to run for the US senate against a favoured Democrat.

Now, on the eve of Tuesday’s midterm election, Democrats don’t see the joke. Ernst, 44, appears poised to win Iowa’s senate race – and possibly to deliver a senate majority to the GOP.

36 thoughts on “Sounds like an interesting candidate”

  1. It’s always interest to note that the one thing The Guardian hates more than anything else is a successful right-wing woman.

  2. I like the Guardian subhead: ‘Republican once considered an obscure one-term state senator has the momentum in Iowa despite suffering the ridicule of her rivals’

    Despite?

  3. ‘According to The Des Moines Register poll, 48% of Iowans think she takes extreme positions, versus 33% for Braley, yet she trumps him, 51% versus 37%’

    Yet?

    Maybe Iowans are getting something that the Guardian isn’t?

  4. Sorry to hog, but I balso like this:

    ‘Democrat donors, notably Tom Steyer, filled Braley’s coffers, though he could not match Ernst’s wall-to-wall advertising. Michelle Obama and the Hillary Clinton stumped across the state. ‘

    I love the idea of ‘the Hillary Clinton’ ‘stumping’ across the state. With a big old scowl on its face, no doubt.

  5. You have to give ’em credit, the Yanks do throw up consistently entertaining pols,

    Can you imagine one of our lot growing up as a farm boy/girl? Christ almighty, if you showed Miliband a turnip he’d probably get flustered and try and shake it’s hand.

  6. Also, WTF is with the headline? ‘Former Pig Castrator’?

    I know it’s a sub picking up on an uncommon background for a click-baity headline, but there’s a sneery, looing down your nose tone to the whole piece. The terribly middle class types who scribble for the grauniad sometimes don’t even bother to hide their disdain for those with a trade.

  7. bloke (not) in spain

    @Interested
    I do like “According to The Des Moines Register poll, 48% of Iowans think she takes extreme positions…”
    Now what’s the betting, Iowans were asked “Do you think Joni Ernst takes extreme positions?” Rather than the parcel of positions Joni Ernst takes & Iowans agree with being defined as extreme by the Des Moines Register?
    Sorry, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone self-describe their political preferences or a politician they prefer as extremist. Outspoken, radical…maybe. Even the BNP & the Trots don’t think they’re extremists.

  8. I asked her the other day if castrating pigs didn’t hurt.

    She said ‘only if you catch your thumbs between the bricks’

    It’s my birthday, I can put up whatever I like today!

  9. Happy birthday, bilbaoboy, it is my second granddaughter’s literal birthday, having arrived in the front passenger seat before her father had even brought the car to a halt (mother and baby doing well). Hopefully she’ll grow up to a formidable right-wing politician though I’ll probably be pushing up the daisies by then.

  10. DocBud

    Thanks. What a way to arrive! I’ll drink a glass to to your granddaughter’s health tonight.

    Not sure if a classic Rioja or a rather nice Brunello di Montalcino that I brought back a few years ago.

  11. Pointing out that George Osbourne’s CV doesn’t make him cut out to be Chancellor = Good

    Pointing out that Alan Johnson’s experience as a postman doesn’t make him cut out to be Chancellor = Bad.

    Similarly for references to Prescott’s time as a cabin boy etc.

    And quite right, there’s almost nothing the Guardian hates more than a succesful woman who doesn’t follow their party line.

  12. Dan,
    “Also, WTF is with the headline? ‘Former Pig Castrator’?”

    C’mon. Have you seen the video she made? If you think the most important thing to tell the world about yourself is that you used to castrate pigs, people will reasonably refer to you as a former pig castrator. You shag one sheep….

  13. Unfortunately it sounds like she’s already moving to the centre in order to get elected. She’ll be assimilated in no time.

    No real cutter-and-slasher can get elected in the US, just as here. That’s why we’re all doomed.

  14. Thanks, bilbaoboy, it would certainly be an honour if you cracked the brunello di Montalcino.

    Quite amazing tale. As she lives in a mining town in Queensland, she had to come and stay with us two weeks before birth due to lack of midwifery services out West. Our 5 year old first granddaughter had therefore to be taken out of school, wonder how that would go down in UK. Daughter went in yesterday evening but was sent home, we suspect due to staffing difficulties. Just after midnight started back to hospital. Waters broke before she got in car. On way she couldn’t resist pushing and realised head was out. Told hubby to pull over. By the time he stopped and looked over, our daughter already had the baby on her shoulder, leaving him to rather understatedly declare “crap”. Ambulance to hospital, back at our place 8 hours later. Child birth really has changed since we were bringing our brood into the world.

  15. Interested,

    > Despite?

    Well, quite. I wish David Cameron would learn this lesson: being attacked by The Guardian is a vote-winner.

    Dan,

    > Can you imagine one of our lot growing up as a farm boy/girl?

    It is a terrible shame that the British reaction to John Major’s background wasn’t “Brilliant! Anyone from any origin can run the country!” but rather “What a strange anomaly. See that it doesn’t happen again.”

    Although I actually suspect that a pol with Major’s type of background would do very well with the electorate, if the idiots running the parties would let them anywhere near an election.

  16. Although I actually suspect that a pol with Major’s type of background would do very well with the electorate, if the idiots running the parties would let them anywhere near an election.

    People say they want their politicians to be ordinary people, but in practice the politicians who most obviously outstrip their colleagues in popularity have wealthy backgrounds and public-school educations which have taught them to fake blokishness – Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.

    Now what’s the betting, Iowans were asked “Do you think Joni Ernst takes extreme positions?” Rather than the parcel of positions Joni Ernst takes & Iowans agree with being defined as extreme by the Des Moines Register?

    I bet Iowans were asked whether each of a list of phrases “best describes Joni Ernst or Bruce Braley”, that one of the phrases on the list was “Takes the most extreme positions on issues”, and that 48% of respondents chose Ernst compared with 33% for Braley. And unless I’ve mistyped something you’d be ill-advised to bet against me.

  17. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Bruce Braley was the guy who thought that pointing out that Chuck Grassley, (Iowa Republican Senator) was not a trial lawyer was somehow meant to be an insult. If he loses, as it appears he will, it could not happen to a more deserving scumbag.

  18. ” Christ almighty, if you showed Miliband a turnip he’d probably get flustered and try and shake it’s hand.”

    Of course he wouldn’t–he’d hail it as his long lost third brother.

  19. Jesus, that piece is like the blueprint for Guardian cluelessness.

    She obtained a bachelor of science degree from Iowa State university and a master of public administration degree from Columbus college. … As a member of the army reserve and Iowa national guard she commended a company in Kuwait in 2003, running logistics convoys into southern Iraq. As a lieutenant colonel she now commands a national guard battalion.

    Yes, it certainly is a complete mystery why any voter might think she was capable of running stuff. What a joke candidate.

    Yet The Guardian have strangely written almost nothing about her opponent, except that he’s “favoured”, whatever that means. As far as I can make out, it means “favoured by the Democratic Party”.

    Well, he’s a lawyer. So that’s a good start.

    Braley has been a long time opponent of tort reform.

    A lawyer who votes to enrich lawyers. Amazing.

    In March 2014, video footage was released from a January 2014 fundraising event of trial lawyers in Texas in which Braley commented that Republican Senator Chuck Grassley could become the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats lose control of the Senate majority. In the video Braley criticized Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school”.

    An elitist lawyer who believes non-lawyers aren’t fit to govern and who looks down on farmers. Standing for election in Iowa.

    In response to the negative coverage generated by his comments, Braley issued a press release which touted his farming background. The press release included two misspellings of common farming terms.

    A condescending elitist lawyer who tries to pretend to be salt-of-the-Earth working class and fucks it up. In the Democratic Party?

    Braley has received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association.

    And he’s standing against a soldier. In Iowa.

    Braley defended keeping the House gym open for members [during the government shutdown] and lamented the cutbacks to the gym’s services, including cancellation of towel service.

    A condescending elitist lawyer who supports sending armed men to forcibly eject members of the public from national parks and war memorials on the spurious and puerile grounds that anything the government “owns” is currently unfunded but will publicly defend not extending that same logic to his use of a taxpayer-funded sauna and having flunkeys wash his laundry. Standing for election in Iowa.

    In the wake of the Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014, it was reported that Braley missed 15 of the 20 United States House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearings in 2011 and 2012, including one hearing on a day in which he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign, but which did not overlap with the hearing schedule. … PolitiFact called claims that Braley skipped hearings for fundraisers on September 20, 2012 “Mostly False”, but said that Braley did miss close to 79 percent of committee hearings.

    Funny, most of us would say that 79% equates to “Mostly True”. Maybe PolitiFact are using a “favoured” definition of “mostly”.

    Anyway, a condescending elitist who, once you’ve elected him, can’t even be arsed doing his fucking job. Standing against someone who ran logistics convoys into Iraq. Suddenly the pig castration thing comes into context: Ernst is standing against a man who avoids work, so she put out an ad emphasising that she’s been working her arse off since she was a kid. And the Democrats thought it was a joke and have been caught completely off-guard by its resonance with voters. Because they’re morons.

    Dispute Over Chickens

    I don’t even care what the paragraph under that heading says. It can only be a disappointment. Suffice to say, Braley is an elitist lawyer who once had a dispute over chickens. Standing against a farmgirl. In Iowa.

    In June 2014, Braley released a 30-second ad spot attacking Republican opponent Joni Ernst. The ad stated that despite the fact that Ernst was running as a fiscal conservative, when she “had the chance to do something in Iowa, we didn’t hear a peep.” The ad stated that Ernst never sponsored a bill to cut pork or reduce spending during her time in the Iowa state Senate.

    Seriously? He put out an ad attacking his opponent for not doing enough to combat his party’s spending? And he thought this might help him? And he somehow has a career in politics?

    Footage of a baby chicken chirping was shown during the ad, interpreted by some as comparing her to a chick.

    But of course. As observed above, mysogyny is alive and well as long as the jumped-up little woman doesn’t get that she’s supposed to vote Left.

    Oh, but what’s this?

    University of Iowa political science professor Timothy Hagle stated that there was a double standard of sexism between Republicans and Democrats, saying “Imagine if a GOP candidate had used a ‘chick’ in an ad against a female opponent.”

    Could this be the same Professor Timothy Hagle that The Guardian quoted so approvingly in their article? Why, yes, so it is. So here we have a professor of political science who has criticisms to make of both sides — as if, you know, he’s doing his job or something — but The Guardian only quote his extremely minor criticism of the Republican — that no-one’s entirely sure yet quite how Republican she’ll be in office — but somehow missed his observation that the Democrats are sexist. I thought The Guardian cared about sexism?

    I quite like the look of Ernst, but look, is there a hypothetical candidate the Reps could have run against this fuckwit who wouldn’t have stood a chance?

  20. @Paul B.oring

    Show your working that anyone ‘fakes blokishness’. You could be faking cuntishness, for all I know?

  21. I bet Iowans were asked whether each of a list of phrases “best describes Joni Ernst or Bruce Braley”, that one of the phrases on the list was “Takes the most extreme positions on issues”

    Is the illiteracy yours or the pollster’s? If comparing two candidates, then “takes the more extreme positions is correct.

    And the more extreme of the two does not equate to “being defined as extreme”.

  22. I bet Iowans were asked whether each of a list of phrases “best describes Joni Ernst or Bruce Braley”, that one of the phrases on the list was “Takes the most extreme positions on issues”

    Is the illiteracy yours or the pollster’s? If comparing two candidates, then “takes the more extreme positions” is correct.

    And the more extreme of the two does not equate to “being defined as extreme”.

  23. I typed most of my huge comment and then had bloody IE crash and destroy it and had to start again. Tim types three sentences and a technology error submits them twice. There’s no justice.

  24. PaulB

    “I bet Iowans were asked whether each of a list of phrases “best describes Joni Ernst or Bruce Braley”, that one of the phrases on the list was “Takes the most extreme positions on issues”, and that 48% of respondents chose Ernst compared with 33% for Braley. And unless I’ve mistyped something you’d be ill-advised to bet against me.”

    If you have a source for this, why not simply quote it? As it is, it makes you appear condescending and actually contributes nothing to the discussion. You just seem to want to appear to be the person with “special, privileged” knowledge, not given to normal people. Squander2’s post reminds me uncannily of Alistair Cooke’s assessments of the total electoral failure of Adlai Stevenson II in 2 presidential campaigns…trying and failing to be the blokey Democrat against Eisenhower, a real man of the people.

  25. Didn’t John Major win the most votes of any Prime Minister in history? (Though I suspect Baldwin’s National government won more).

  26. @ Rob
    That was due to increased size of the electorate.
    Anthony Eden got 49.4% in 1955 and would have got an overall majority of votes if four or six (I cannot remember which) Ulster Unionists had not been returned unopposed so 200,000 or so Conservative and Unionist votes were uncounted. SuperMac got 49.6% in 1959 but without walkovers so not quite as good as Eden in reality although it appears better.

  27. Thank you PaulB. I have not checked the link but I hope it means that you are a human being rather than the total asshole you seem to like to present yourself as

  28. In other election news, non-pig castrater, Elise Stefanik, has been elected to the House of Reps and becomes the youngest woman elected to congress.

  29. Rob,

    > Didn’t John Major win the most votes of any Prime Minister in history?

    I think so; certainly one of the top results. Which is brilliant, ’cause you can bring it up every time a lefty talks about wanting proportional representation. “Yes, I agree, it’s shameful that Major got such a narrow majority in the House.”

  30. bloke (not) in spain

    Well I’d have to bow to PaulB’s superior research or lose my bet 🙂
    But that research also throws up; the two questions Ernst scored even higher on were:
    “Better reflects Iowa values” 51%
    “Is a regular down to earth person” 49%
    In “liberal” America, ordinary folks now regard themselves as extremists.
    What can you say?

  31. Well, they keep getting told by New Yorkers and Los Angeleans that they’re extremists. I get the impression a lot of Americans have got fed up with trying to argue the point with wankers and are just saying “Yeah, fuck it, I’m an extremist, then. And?”

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