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Joni Ernst: Castrating Pigs and Selling Savagery in Iowa

U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo

U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo

Joni Ernst would like us to believe that she’s qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate because she has a lot of experience mutilating animals. Ernst is one of five Republican candidates vying to run for the seat Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin will vacate when he retires at the end of his current term. And she’s leading the Republican primary field, according to the results of a Suffolk University Political Research Center poll released on April 9. The winner of the June 3 Iowa Republican primary election will challenge Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat, for Harkin’s Senate seat.

In a campaign advertisement that has delighted the drooling class, Ernst says, “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.”

The ad includes images of young pigs in stalls and ends with Ernst declaring, “Washington’s full of big spenders. Let’s make ’em squeal.”

Not surprisingly, “make ’em squeal” — which sounds like something out of Deliverance — is Ernst’s campaign slogan. It appears on the home page of her campaign website and on the merchandise she’s hawking — including cans of “pork rub.” Insultingly, the logo on that merchandise includes an illustration that depicts a smiling pig.

That Ernst is smiling in her campaign ad — that she’s boastful about the pain and suffering she’s caused — is disgusting. Equally nauseating is the fact that to the drooling class those optics are downright tantalizing. Predictably, Ernst has been endorsed by the right wing’s favorite female sadist, Sarah Palin, who’s been quoted as saying, “Any question about the type of Senator Joni will be? Check out her first ad — she makes it pretty clear.”

Indeed, Ernst is a dream candidate for the drooling class. She’s a god-fearing wife and mother from the heartland who serves in the Iowa National Guard and in the Iowa Legislature and has an “A” rating from the NRA. Conveniently (if not dutifully), Ernest stands for everything right-wing kingmakers would expect. All she has to do is memorize her Tea Party flash cards and boast smugly about the vast experience she has dishing out brutality.

Constantly, we read and hear that mouth-breathers like Ernst are simply feeding a little red meat to their conservative base. But what they’re also doing is getting and spreading widespread approval for morally unacceptable behavior. The word “values” appears 11 times in the bio Ernst has on her campaign website — a platform that, as one might expect, unabashedly oozes self-righteousness while asking for money. 

Some of those with whom Ernst’s attitude resonates might just send her a little bit of cash to help deliver her to Washington, where she can inflict her “values” on the rest of us and serve the greed-heads who’re running the holocaust. Ernst’s sickening campaign ad represents more than a little red meat for the drooling class. It’s more than a self-aggrandizing sales pitch that makes a metaphor of an ongoing atrocity. It’s a celebration of savagery. And that savagery is for sale. 

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