The Iowa Republican Senate nominee, Joni Ernst, our pistol-packing, hawg-riding, pork-cutting State Senator, is out with an actual policy speech today, according to The Hill. Ms. Ernst opened with a recount of her life story– she’s an Iowa farm girl, in case you missed her fabulous “Squeal” ad, by way of a Lt. Colonelcy in the National Guard– before offering the by-now-widely-accepted platitude Republicans can’t go anywhere by being the party of NO; they have to lay out an actual policy agenda. Ms. Ernst opposes beltway-centric Big Gov and Obamacare. She favors a Balanced Budget Amendment, greater utilization of domestic energy resources, preserving Social Security and more local control of schools.
Joni Ernst is a newcomer on the national political scene, and she’d still be a nobody without the ad I linked above. But I like the set of her sails, and I think she’ll do fairly well. There’s nothing surprising in her policy platform– I’d have preferred to hear her call for privatizing Social Security in order to save it– but it was good to hear her articulate one, especially this early. This means she understands she can’t get there on looks and clever ads alone; and that she’s not afraid of leaning in, even though it gives her opponents a hook to attack her. I hope she’s also serious about understanding the R’s really do have to articulate a platform, if for no other reason to differentiate themselves from their partisan opponents. I wish her good luck against Bruce Braley. There’s been no polling since mid-June, when Quinnipac had Braley up by 4. Rasmussen had Ernst up by 1 in the first week of June, and a local college poll had her up by 4 in the same time frame. It may not be significant– we’re still too far out for polls to mean much– but Ernst led in both polls of likely voters while Braley was up in both polls of registered voters.