Iowa junior Senator Joni Ernst, who rose to national prominence by working a record number of castration double entendres into an early campaign ad (Respect!), will be delivering the GOP's State of the Union rebuttal. This is fucking amazing news.
Ernst, whose Tea Party whackadoodlery is matched only by her perky and endearing aw shucks self-assurance, was sworn into her first term as Senator last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described her as "the perfect choice." The Washington Post notes that "perfect" is likely code for "suitably diverse," as the GOP has made it a habit to shove a rare token nonwhite or nondude into the spotlight for the SOTU response in recent years.
Ernst becomes the fourth woman or minority lawmaker to deliver the response — following Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) in 2009, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in 2012 and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) in 2013 — in the seven nationally televised SOTU addresses Obama will have delivered as of next Tuesday. **
I describe this as "awesome," but not because I expect Joni Ernst to convey any good or useful ideas.
The State of the Union is generally a moderately uplifting mishmash of good idea talking points and tepid crowd sourced platitudes designed to dog whistle the base, soothe the masses, and enrage the opposition. The State of the Union rebuttal takes similar words and rearranges them into dog whistle talk designed for the other end of the political spectrum. It's so boring that two years ago a mid-sentence sip from a miniature bottle of Poland Spring whipped viewers into a giddy frenzy unseen since "binders full of women." It's the sort of boredom that drives people to madness. It's terrible.
That's why it's essential that the party in charge of the rebuttal get the most insane person possible in front of the camera. Think Bachmann, think Chuck Grassley. Without it, those of us who have to watch the State of the Union, and the 4 hour post show Hot Take Festival that occurs immediately afterward risk plunging into a deep bullshit-related depression.
Keep being you, Joni. The State of the Union needs a good kick in the balls.
** This Post graf is sic, as Rubio's rebuttal occurred in 2013 and the 2014 rebuttal was delivered by Cathy McMorris Rodgers. But whatever. Old media.