In the Republican State Of The Union response, Joni Ernst captured the hearts — and funny bones — of America with a ridiculous assertion that her family was so poor that she had to wear bread bags on her shoes to keep them dry.
“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.”
Ernst’s claim sparked hilarity on Twitter.
Forget that Ernst was born on July 1, 1970, and that when she claims she was so poor she had to protect her sole pair of shoes with plastic bread bags Ronald Reagan was President. Ernst’s journey through life between the ages of 0 and 18 included 14 years of Republican and just four years of Democratic Presidents. Eight of those years involve Ronald Reagan “trickling down” on her shoes.
Yes, this was a tacit admission that her own party’s policies help keep people like her sad, impoverished Iowan family down…
BUT THERE’S MORE
Ernst hates federal subsidies. As she was campaigning, candidate Ernst pledged to eliminate federal student loans — the very sort she used to be able to afford college.
While Ernst’s family may have been poor, and she says she and her family lived simply within their means, the family’s “means” were expanded by over $460,000 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2009.
The District Sentinel reports that:
“The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government – with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington — again, mostly corn subsidies — between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003.”
In addition, Ernst’s father’s construction company was awarded $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government while Ernst served as auditor.
Though her family greatly benefited from farm subsidies, Radio Iowa reported in May that Ernst is “philosophically opposed” to farm subsidies — but she pledged to support them post-election (unless, of course, no one could take advantage of federal subsidies at all):
“Reality is that with the subsidies, unless we’re eliminating all of them across the board at the same time for every sector out there, then I’ll go ahead and support those subsidies.”
During her campaign, Ernst pledged to “cut pork” (like that which she and her family received) in an ad that would embarrass most — but won the undying admiration of people who are baffled by the scientific mystery that is Silly Putty.
Ernst’s banjo-fueled TV spot featured a pledge to “Make ’em squeal” in Washington. This, combined with her massive hypocrisy on nearly every level, causes it to seem almost surreal that a woman who was presented with an actual hog castration device as a “welcome to office” gift could possibly be a sitting Senator.
But she’s here, and she will be one of many extremists poised to, as Ernst promised, focus on her version of America. But Ernst has joined Marco Rubio and his water bottle as what will become, as time goes on, a hilarious running joke — and Ernst, if she has not already attained this status, will be a public figure who will be taken seriously only by a select few individuals whose idea of a great America more closely resembles the world inside The Holy Land Experience than the “Land of the Free.”
Welcome to office, Joni. Strap on your bread bags and secure your hogs’ testicles for takeoff — it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Perhaps we should take up a collection to buy her some “loafers.”