Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) made her way to Iowa earlier this week to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley and to take part in a round-table discussion on veterans issues. The Iraq War veteran, who lost both legs and the and the partial use of one of her arms while serving, went to bat for her fellow House colleague and proclaimed that he truly cares about issues and programs dealing directly with vets. Braley’s Republican opponent, State Senator Joni Ernst, has hammered away at Braley with a series of ads regarding his attendance at committee hearings. Braley was a member of the House VA Committee from 2011 to 2012.
During a discussion with veterans and Braley supporters at a public library in Davenport, Duckworth called Braley the “real deal” regarding his advocacy on behalf of veterans. Per the Quad-City Times, Duckworth praised Braley’s passion and hard work.
Surrounded by about two dozen veterans and other Braley supporters, Duckworth, a Democrat who represents a Chicago-area district, praised the Waterloo congressman as a hard-working, and successful, advocate for people who have served in the military.
“This is the real deal when it comes to veterans issues and making sure it’s not just about pretty speeches, because he’s already delivered time and time again,” Duckworth said of Braley
Duckworth also dismissed Braley’s attendance record as a major issue, stating that results are really what matters in the end.
“You can have as many hearings as you want, but if you don’t actually ever do anything, then what’s the point, right?”
Braley also defended his record at the discussion. He highlighted the work he’s done for veterans while serving in Congress, including a 10 year extension of a program that helps disabled vets He also discussed his ability work across the aisle and garner support from Republicans on key issues surrounding veterans.
“I’ve learned that when it comes to fighting for veterans, you have to work hard and you have to find people to work with on both sides of the aisle.”
Of course, when reached for comment about Duckworth’s endorsement of Braley regarding his support for combat veterans, Ernst’s campaign stuck with their same attack line. Campaign spokesperson Gretchen Hamel told the Quad-City Times that Braley must not be too concerned with veterans “since he has skipped 75 percent of the Veterans Affairs full committee hearings.” Obviously, Ernst’s campaign sees this as a winning strategy and will continue to use this as a way to hammer Braley.
Meanwhile, Democrats are giving Ernst a taste of her own medicine. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee released an ad in Iowa this week pillorying her for her extremist position on abortion. The ad features a nurse criticizing Ernst for wanting to outlaw abortion in all instances, even if a pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Sarah Jones also pointed out that Ernst’s position on abortion would outlaw some forms of birth control.
Ernst can’t have it both ways, and the thing that no one brings up to lawmakers who try to have it both ways is hey, your job is to make laws. This means looking at the consequences and asking yourself why, perhaps, the folks before you thought your idea unwise. Personhood is something that sounds great at a rally, but is a horrible idea legislatively. It creates the a rather obvious problem of giving a zygote more rights than the human woman carrying it, and this is completely illogical (and let’s face it, not easy to sell once people get a whiff of it).
But it also renders some forms of birth control illegal, and there is no way for a lawmaker who really believes that life starts when an egg is fertilized to say it’s okay to make abortion legal in the case of rape and incest. Thus, personhood is really the moment when the Republican Party jumped the shark. There’s no way off of this cliff but down.
This race is going to come down to the wire. Currently, the polls show Ernst with a very small lead. It is imperative for Braley to frame Ernst as an irresponsible lawmaker who is more interested in pushing her (and the Koch’s) extreme ideology than taking care of her state and country. The candidates are looking to replace a popular and long-time Democratic incumbent in Tom Harkin. Braley and his campaign need to make sure that Iowans know that Ernst is nearly the polar opposite of Harkin and mobilize as many moderates and independents to Braley’s side while energizing and motivating the liberal and progressive base.