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Joni Ernst and Sarah Palin
Joni Ernst, along with the one Republican who makes even less sense than she does
Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst may be the frontrunner in Tuesday's GOP primary for Senate in Iowa, but she certainly did herself no favors for the general election in a debate this week with her rivals. Laura Clawson already discussed in detail how Ernst called the UC Santa Barbara mass shootings as "an unfortunate accident," but that was far from the only blunder she made:
The state senator said she would have voted against the farm bill, named the Clean Water Act as one of the most damaging laws for business and embraced private accounts for young workers paying into Social Security.

During the 90-minute debate, broadcast in prime time on Des Moines television, Ernst said she would vote for a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage if it came up, spoke out against "amnesty" in immigration reform and suggested that the federal government should not set a minimum wage.

Hoo boy! Opposing the farm bill, passed earlier this year after endless delays, may play well with some conservative voters, but in Iowa, where agriculture is still king, actual farmers are glad it passed. Hell, even Steve King voted for it. Meanwhile, raising the minimum wage tends to be very popular—PPP just found Iowans in favor of a hike by a 48-39 margin, though that didn't stop Ernst from recently voting against such an increase in the legislature.

Social Security privatization is a whole 'nother matter. Smart Republicans have avoided the issue for years, as it's proved nothing but toxic to them, so it really says something that Ernst "embraced" the idea, as Politico put it. It shows that not only has she been failing to pay attention, but her consultants and staffers haven't either. With just a few days left before a likely primary win, why give Democrats a line of attack like this?

Well, it may just be that Ernst isn't the most coherent candidate we've ever seen:

On gay marriage, Ernst at first said she believes gay marriage is "a state issue," noting that she co-sponsored a bill in the Iowa Senate to amend the state constitution. Then she volunteered that she would vote a federal amendment if it came up. Both Whitaker and Clovis back a constitutional amendment.
Do I need to point out that if you support a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, you cannot also consider it a "state issue"? No, I do not need to point that out to you, dear readers. But someone might want to point it out to Joni Ernst.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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