First, let it be known that I am on the record many times declaring the tradition of the State of the Union and the State of the Union response as the worst monsters of democracy. I swear I would vote for anyone who promised to go back to sending a letter to Congress.
If the SOTU is a dry, boring, laundry list of impossible goals and partisan cheap shots, the SOTU response is an even bleaker task. It has famously tripped up many a comer—Republicans more than Democrats, not because Democrats are any better but because the press is much less interested in obsessing over a Democratic response’s shortcomings when they can focus on a Republican president’s. The response is the home of Sen. Tim Kane’s wandering eyebrow, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sing-songy delivery, Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ zzzzzzzzzz, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s water sip that shook the world. Pretty much the best a response can offer is being “fine.” Rep. Paul Ryan’s was solid and a bit outside the box with his charts and what-not. Sad to say now, but Gov. Bob McDonnell’s was decent, mostly because he delivered it in front of a live audience. He’s now in jail, but the two are unrelated. I’d demand that set-up if I were going to give such a speech. The live audience not the jail cell.
ABC pundits, who run the gamut left-leaning to RINO-y declared Ernst “fine,” and I think that’s about right, and that’s about all that’s needed. She has moral authority on foreign policy, as a veteran, and Obama skipped much of the fight against Islamist terror in his speech, so I would have liked to have heard more from her on that front, maybe earlier in the speech. Her personal story was interesting, but the stilted nature of the venue just doesn’t do anyone any favors. That being said, I thought she connected with the camera more than some commentators thought.
Ronan Farrow tweeted this insight, which would be declared the Most Sexist Thing Ever Said if he were a conservative TV host and she were a Democrat:
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) January 21, 2015
It’s not the end of the world, but how fast would this have become, “My, that strong, woman veteran who is a United States Senator sure does remind me of a sweet stewardess I once met in Milwaukee,” in the hands of the media had roles been reversed. Anyway, I’m not outraged, but I do like to point out the double standard.
Here is the text of Ernst’s speech. The part on the Islamist threat:
Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them.
We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. We’ve been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief.
For two decades, I’ve proudly worn our nation’s uniform: today, as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. While deployed overseas with some of America’s finest men and women, I’ve seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be.
The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.
We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of.
I’ll let you guys talk while I wait for video to export. Sorry for the delay and false advertising, but I figured better to get this up.