Back in late March, in an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham, Ernst was asked why she had been missing "so many votes."Break out the flags and patriotic music, folks, because the main reason Joni Ernst hasn't had a perfect voting record is that she is a Certified™ Patriot serving her nation in the National Guard. I mean, if you criticize that record, you might as well be criticizing mom and apple pie, right?
"Well first, National Guard Services," Ernst said. "I have had some days on duty that I've had to be with the National Guard. And those are times that I've been on orders…so that is one thing you won't hear them talking about, those that are attacking my voting record."
A review by The Gazette of the Iowa Senate Journal and her schedule obtained through a Freedom of Information and Iowa open records request from the Iowa National Guard, shows that few — 10 percent, or 12 of the 117 missed votes — came on days when she was on active duty.Sure, her explanation failed to account for 90 percent of the missed votes, but hey—great job on that 10 percent, Joni!
Seriously, the thing I don't understand is why she would make such an easily disproven claim in the first place, especially about something as commonplace as missed votes. Not that I'm excusing missed votes, but the reality is that when a lawmaker seeks a promotion, a flurry of missed votes is more common than not. And it's rarely a major liability: Just ask President Barack Obama. But lying about the reason for the missed votes—especially when the lie involves hiding behind military service—seems like something that could be a liability. At a minimum, it's incredibly dumb.