One of my pet interests is politics. (Okay...if you've read "Boston's Blog" for any length of time, you get that I'm into politics as well as being into many other things.)
And from time to time, I've mentioned that I was born in, raised in, and educated in Iowa.
I reached voting age while living in Iowa. In fact, the very first year I could actually cast an official ballot was 1976, and the very first move I made as a registered voter was to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.
That's right. The Hawkeye State.
The Reasonable State.
It's the first state you visit if you have any iota of interest in becoming America's next commander in chief. After all, every leap year means that Iowa's the first state to get to decide who ought to be the Last Two Standing that November.
The state I was born in- its reputation as The Reasonable State notwithstanding- inexplicably (or with good reason, depending on your point of view) sent a man named Steve King to the US House next month in 2002.
If you've been watching TV these last dozen years, you've seen King interviewed on lots of political-discussion shows and seen him make plenty of sound bytes...and seen him make plenty of remarks that make you wonder: "Was this man really born in Iowa? Who let him out?"
I'm going to go Natalie Maines (remember her from the Dixie Chicks?) and say: "I'm ashamed that Steve King came out of the same state I did: Iowa."
When Iowa's junior US senator, Tom Harkin, announced that he was going to kick back after spending forty years in Washington (first as a US representative), some political pundits thought King would go after Democrat Harkin's seat and give it back to the Republicans...and, in the process, make the exact same move Harkin and Republican Chuck Grassley did: Supersizing a US House seat into one from the US Senate. (Grassley officially became a US senator in 1981; four years later, Harkin got in...and went on to successfully champion the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law by George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990.)
Yep..what a field day King and Texas' newest US senator, Ted Cruz, would have in that division of Congress, complaining about some people's "cantaloupe-size" calves (and plotting plenty of government shutdowns).
As things have turned out, Reince Priebus and his pals in the Republican National Committee didn't need Steve King to run for the US Senate here in 2014.
With US Rep. Bruce Braley looking to keep that Senate seat in the hands of the Donkeys, his biggest challenger is a state senator from Red Oak...a woman known for her "hog castration" commercials.
Iowa's one of the few US states still yet to elect a woman to Congress.
This year, it might elect two...or one...or none.
One thing's for sure: I'd rather see Staci Appel get Tom Latham's US House seat than see Joni "Hog Castration" Ernst beat out Braley to replace one of Congress' leading lights, Harkin.
Jimmy Fallon might like Ernst's campaign commercials...but if he ever decided to pull back the curtain and see behind the hog-castration demonstrations, The Tonight Show's newest host might not be so quick to fall in love with this farmer-turned military veteran-turned Iowa state senator.
First of all, at a time when more and more American workers continue to lose their buying power [due to 33 years (and counting) of GOP-led assaults on the nation's middle-income and low-income families], Ernst doesn't want the country's minimum wage increased.
I'd like to see her try to live on $7.25 an hour...let alone raise a family on that amount.
Second, Ernst wants to criminalize abortions...across the board.
End of discussion.
Iowa's latest Republican nominee for a US Senate gig has called Barack Obama a dictator...yet she probably, like so many of the Senate Republicans she's trying to join, just flat-out admires the job Vladimir Putin's doing heading up Russia's government.
And you know that, if the GOP takes over the United States Senate next January, and Joni Ernst is part of the takeover, she'll stump for Obama's impeachment.
Ernst, last but not least, thinks the very US government she's trying to join gives the country's citizens practically everything, and has attacked large groups of people for depending on the very organization she's trying to join.
I just got through reading, on www.dailykos.com, an article that talked of a 2013 radio interview Ernst was part of. In it, the Woman from Red Oak spoke of "reeducating" Americans about the values of being self-sufficient: "It's going to be very painful and we know that. So do we have the intestinal fortitude to do that?"
Yeah, Joni. Right. It takes great intestinal fortitude to further penalize millions of wage-earning Americans who don't get to log in enough hours of work to try and support their families and other loved ones.
In that same interview, Ernst complained about how Americans don't rely on family too much anymore...let alone on churches and on private organizations: "They used to have wonderful food pantries..."
Those food pantries are still out there, contrary to Ernst's teachings.
It's just that, in this day and age, the pantries are swamped.
What do you expect when items in general continue to get priced out of the range of rank-and-file Americans...Americans who probably haven't received a raise in pay since Mike and Molly premiered?
When people can't financially contribute to churches and private organizations because those same people can't get raises in pay and, in too many cases, have to decide whether to purchase groceries or get the utility bill paid up for the month, and those same people find that their relatives are in the exact same boat, where are those same people supposed to turn...in an economy that, in the 1980s, got flipped from consumer-friendly to investor-friendly?
Let's see Ernst answer that one.
You know, the last time a major political candidate went out to talk this same kind of trash, only to see that rhetoric go out nationally on TV, radio, the Internet, and every other medium you can think of...well, that candidate lost.
That candidate was Willard Mitt Romney...the same man who recently went to Iowa to fight to get Joni Ernst elected to the US Senate.
Yep, we've heard so much about how this year's midterm election is THAT crucial...about how control of this country's Senate is at stake.
And we've heard about how it all could come down to whether those Iowans who decide to vote on 11-4-2014 want to let Braley take the next step up the political ladder...or if they want to bring Ernst in.
Really, Iowa...are you sure you want to take a chance on a woman who truly doesn't want you to make ends meet?
Iowans: You sure you want to vote against your best interests, your self-interests?
Are you sure you want to put your reputation as the nation's Reasonable State on the line by giving Cruz another sidekick?
ARE YOU REALLY SURE?