Joni Ernst Goes all Palin, Calls Obama an Apathetic Dictator

cropped version of image by Charlie Neibergall / AP
cropped version of image by Charlie Neibergall / AP

We have repeatedly seen over the past six years how attacks on President Barack Obama, even when coming from the same organization, group, or individual, often contradict each other. As in you can’t be both a Communist and a Nazi, and you can’t be both a Muslim extremist and a gay rights advocate.

MSNBC’s Ben Terris reported yesterday that Joni Ernst’s latest foray in self-contradiction is that President Obama, whom she has previously called a dictator, is “apathetic”:

“We have an apathetic president,” she told a crowd in Newton, Iowa, as part of her 24-hour get out the vote tour around the country.

When the press got to her afterward, she tried to explain, relates Terris, without much success, what she meant:

“He is just standing back and letting things happen, he is reactive rather than proactive,” she said. “With Ebola, he’s been very hands off.”

“What should he have done about Ebola?” Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce asked her. “One person in America has Ebola.”

“OK, you’re the press, you’re giving me your opinion,” Ernst said.

“It’s not an opinion, only one person in America has it,” he said.

“But he is the leader, he is the leader of our nation,” she said. “So what he can do is make sure that all of these agencies are coordinating together, to make sure he is sharing with the American people he cares about them, he cares about their safety.”

“You don’t think he does?” he said.

“I don’t know that he does, he hasn’t demonstrated that,” she said.

“You don’t think he’s demonstrated that he cares about the American people?” he said.

“He hasn’t,” she said. “I’m done. So anybody else?”

First of all, kudos to Charlie Pierce for being one of the very first members of the media this election cycle to ask a frikkin’ question of a Republican candidate, and then not let them skate on by with their answer.

Well done.

As can be seen, Ernst has nothing. But that’s only the beginning of her problems. This is the woman who, back in January of this year, was saying Obama should be impeached for acting without the approval of Congress.

As Yahoo News reported,

At a Montgomery County, Iowa, candidate forum in January, Ernst told a crowd that she believed Obama had “become a dictator” and that he needed to face the consequences for his executive actions, “whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment.”

Whoa there…wait a minute. He is a dictator AND he is apathetic? How can he be both? Does her description of the president’s actions sound like an apathetic man to you?

Continued Ernst: “He is running amok. He is not following our Constitution, and unfortunately we have leaders who are not serving as leaders right now, they’re not defending the Constitution and they’re not defending you and me.”

On Tuesday, Ernst spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel downplayed the significance of the video and provided Yahoo News with the following statement: “If any president oversteps their bounds, there are procedures in place for Congress and the American people to hold him or her accountable. Impeachment is a strong word and should not be thrown around lightly.”

Sounds like an energetic man to me.

MSNBC’s Steve Benen quipped, “Yes, we’ve reached the point at which Obama is a bleeding-heart liberal, who cares too much about people, and a callous brute, indifferent towards people.”

What Benen says of her outrageous back-and-forth with Charlie Pierce, ought to be said on every news outlet in the country every time a Republican opens their mouth:

If Ernst doesn’t know this, why is she commenting on a major national issue she knows so little about? And if Ernst does know this, why is she saying the opposite of what’s true?

How she could not know what the administration has done about Ebola can only be willful ignorance our outrageous dishonesty and ought to be headline news.

Obama, after all, delivered a statement on Ebola last Tuesday, and met publicly with Ebola health workers at the White House on Wednesday.

How does she miss this stuff? Surely she is as capable as me of going to whitehouse.gov and seeing for herself what the administration has done to deal with Ebola.

But as I’ve said before about the Ebola crisis, the Republican refusal to deal with reality runs deep, and that goes for the mainstream media too.

You will have an impossible task ahead of you if you try to find a single instance of Benen’s point being made. Instead, Republicans are allowed to lie with impunity, and if they contradict themselves, they get a pass. They scrupulously avoid making the point Benen does in his analysis:

Oh, I see. Joni Ernst wants Obama to lead more and lead less. She wants him to be more proactive without Congress and more reactive waiting for Congress. She’s looking for him to do exactly what he’s already done, but Ernst pretends not to notice.

Obviously, the source is problematic. Ernst, as Meredith Shiner at Yahoo News pointed out, “has reminded some of Palin’s tone on the 2008 vice presidential trail,” but it’s clearly not just in the “folksy charm” Shiner is alluding to, but in her complete disregard for our shared reality.

Benen calls Ernst “a rare example of a low-information Senate candidate” but unfortunately, there is nothing at all rare about her. In fact we have noted this tendency among Republicans many times, and surely it is well known by now that Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Let’s not pretend Ernst is unique. Rather, she is all too common in a media landscape where Republicans are allowed to lie with impunity, no matter how divorced from reality their comments.

28 Replies to “Joni Ernst Goes all Palin, Calls Obama an Apathetic Dictator”

  1. Bad news to wake up to, apparently Mitch McConnell has taken the lead in Kentucky, if anyone reading this site is from Kentucky – Bye bye to your health care!

  2. I don’t believe the polls saying Ernst is winning this race, it doesn’t seem possibly. The media and papers are so pro Republican, they have Republicans winning nearly all of the races!
    Surely the people of Iowa don’t want to privatize everything, eliminate the Board of Education and the EPA. Isn’t Iowa a Blue State?

  3. Double H, if the people of Iowa elect this lady to the US Senate, they get what they deserve.

    What if a natural disaster happens in her state, will she be there for them to get federal aid, or tell them to “tough it out” and be a “real American” instead of a “moocher?”

    This is the lady who wants to privatize Social Security, and abolish the Department of Education.Two things created in the 20th century to answer America’s need to “promote the general welfare”, by taking care of senior citizens,disabled, and families who lost the chief breadwinner of the family.The Department of Education was once the old HEW before President Carter and the Congress separated it.

    I live in Ohio, and I can’t stomach something like her in the Buckeye State.

  4. Nothing new here. Almost every day where a rethug is being interviewed by a news person. The rethug will make some outlandish statement, and the news person will either sit there, or stand there with not a single comment to correct or corner the rethug. Corner they could if only the news really wanted too. Just a couple of really pointed questions, that’s all it would take!

  5. Polls in NC democratic districts have voting machines which are not properly
    calibrated, they are switching votes to repubs.

  6. If she is remembered by history at all, it won’t be as Old Hickory. It’ll be as Pignut Hickory.

  7. Iowa is only blue in the big cities.

    The rural areas far outnumber the big cities and her message, no matter how idiotic it is, seems to work with those in the rural areas.

    If she does win, it’ll be thanks to those in the rural areas who are too idiotic to step away from the hate mongering and lies to see that she’s not a likeable person. Hell, she reminds me of a crazy cat lady.

  8. Oh geez, if Iowa elects her then everybody who considers themselves sane should boycott Iowa. If Iowa elects her it reinforces my belief that Iowans are from the stone ages.

  9. Where is the intelligent dialogue here?
    Dislike a candidate, sure, but insults alone..it is like the MiddleAges where people were put in the stocks and rotten fruit was thrown at them.
    We are in a sad state as Americans when insults have become our major weapon of choice………..how about intellect guys…..discuss the ISSUES .

  10. You’ve got it wrong. What they’re saying is the president has Multiple Personality Disorder. One minute a dictator, the next, a lazy, disconnected fop, uninterested in doing his job. And after the elections, they’ll claim he can’t be trusted, because he’s emotionally/ intellectually shattered from the loss of the Senate. They’ll construct individual profiles of his various personalities, and attribute his actions to “Bluto” the dictator, “Wimpy” the dishonest thief of American values, “Grandpappy,” too wounded by past experience to get anything useful done, or “Olive Oyl,” the continually weak, feckless, Potus-in-distress. [WINK]

  11. Ernst being elected is the equivalent of having Senator Michele Bachmann. The shear ignorance & shrill will grate on the nerves for 6 years!

  12. Hard to imagine enough people voting to install the likes of Ernst and Gardner for SIX years after what we’ve been through since 2010. This is serious stuff.

  13. Lets see. She wants to privatize Social Security, abolish the Dept. of Education, grant personhood to cells, oppose gay marriage, get rid of what little rules regulating corporations, denies climate change, repeal the ACA, against raising the minimum wage, against a women’s right to choose. Yep, this women will take you back to the middle age

  14. .Let’s see?…An “Apathetic Dictator” or Pathetic dominionist GUN NUT Theocrat!?..I’ll take the oxy-moron…

  15. Indiana is the same way. Blue in Indianapolis, Gary & Evansville, idiot red in the rural areas.

    It’s the reason why the election results are constantly skewed, and why there is a consistent exodus of college educated people that have finally had it with their unteachable rural brethren.

    I expect that Iowa if they elect this fecktarded pig ball snatcher, there will be a similar exodus of the smart and well educated.

    One of the huge lessons in life is this: there’s a time to put away the buckets when the ship is sinking and abandon it to its fate. If people are THIS Idiotic that they would vote this sorry assed POS, then they are unteachable.

  16. It’s been happening Astorix. I used to live in Iowa for 15 years before moving to Washington State. I’ve seen it first hand. People want to leave Iowa, and part of it is the fact that they want nothing to do with the idiotic actions of Ernst and Steve King and fellow Republicans in that state.

    The other part? Unless you live in Des Moines, Iowa City, Council Bluffs or the Quad Cities… there’s no chance of advancement in your life.

  17. Me? I kind of like the idea of candidates discussing the issues while in the stocks with people throwing rotten fruit at them. [WINK]

  18. Enough of the scare tactics. I had health insurance before the ACA and will have it after the ACA. Didn’t you mean bye bye to getting your health insurance paid for by the working taxpayers of the US?

  19. According to your god life doesn’t begin to its out of the womb but I have Idea that even your pointy head can understand, If that’s how YOU feel then don’t get one
    After God formed man in Genesis 2:7, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being”. Although the man was fully formed by God in all respects, he was not a living being until after taking his first breath.

    In Job 33:4, it states: “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

    Again, to quote Ezekiel 37:5&6, “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

  20. Poor losers! The worm turns, finally! Americans wake up to less freedom, lots of monitoring fo cell phones and computers! Seems like nazi Germany! Home Land Security has more hollow point bullets tha the military….hmmm…. Who are those intended for? Us?

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