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Political Mercury

Why didn’t Joni Ernst just film her shoot-the-Negro ad in Memphis?


You can’t separate the man from the law.

Literally. The two blend for the word: Obama + Care = Obamacare.

How you feel about the sea change in health-insurance reform largely — and in many cases, exclusively — depends on your thoughts on President Barack Obama.

It’s personal. Visceral. Instinctive. Knee jerk.

“Obama” or “Obamacare.”

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They both summon images of the man.

To trumpet or trounce Obamacare is to trumpet or trounce the man.

Really, how many people in November of 2012 said they were sweet on Obamacare, but sour on Obama to the point where they voted for Mitt Romney?

Which brings us to Joni Ernst’s despicable path to the nomination as the GOP’s candidate for a U.S. Senate seat.

She’s a folk hero based on what she can do with a pig and a blade.

But that hog-castration ad is not the one that sent the ugly message to the base of her party, to the disturbingly large swath of conservatives who believe Barack Obama is an illegitimate White House occupant, a foreign interloper, the author of a pre-Watergate conspiracy set in motion before the afterbirth of his entry into the world was wiped away in Hawaii.

Something, these conservatives think, ought to be done about this president, who in their eyes is a black confederate. They ache for it. They dream it. They think certain words. But they mostly don’t say them.

But in that Republican primary, while the people and pundits were pigsy-wigsy over Ernst, she rolled out another television advertisement.

It’s 30 seconds of fantasy for the mouth-foamers. Attired in black leather, Ernst hits her motorcycle kickstand and strides into a gun range.

“Give me a shot,” she says.

At what? Why Obamacare, of course.

What’s the best way to go after a law on health insurance, one that deals with the intersection of pre-existing conditions and insurance company greed, or allows 25-year-olds to stay on their parents’ plans?

Why you pull a gun of course. And shoot six times. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.

“Once she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni’s gonna unload,” the commercial’s narrator tells us.

Joni Ernst has become a folk hero on what she can do with a pig and a blade, but her motorcycle and gun range ad  isn’t a subliminal suggestion.

Joni Ernst has become a folk hero on what she can do with a pig and a blade, but her motorcycle and gun range ad isn’t a subliminal suggestion.

No, No, the tea party wingers will say, the gun and the range, and those shots — Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. — are metaphorical signals about what the Red Oak state senator will do to Obamacare, the law, and the law alone.

Strange, though, the commercial is the only time Ernst and her band of tea partiers separate Obama from Obamacare. Usually, when they invoke the latter, it’s intended to slam the former.

The ad’s kicker isn’t even a subliminal suggestion. It’s naked-in-the-street race-baiting of the highest order as if Ernst jumped both time and space, skipped the one county that separates Montgomery from Missouri, and reached back into the 19th century.

What’s the message of that ad? It suggests that Joni Ernst would sure shoot that White House-living Negro if only she could. Well, not really. But …

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.

There’s really no other reasonable interpretation of that commercial, unless you un-anchor Obama, the man, from Obamacare, the law.

burns doug 12-10-25The only way Ernst’s shoot-Obamacare-six-times ad could have been more racist, more treacherous, is if she would have filmed it in Memphis, Tennessee, on a balcony across the street from the Lorraine Motel. CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.

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