Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Republican Joni Ernst beats Bruce Braley in Iowa Senate race

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

NBC local news reports:

Joni Ernst has been elected as the next U.S. Senator from Iowa. The Republican, a state Senator from Red Oak, defeated Democrat U.S. Representative Bruce Braley in one of the nation’s closest watched elections.

Ernst will fill the seat currently occupied by Senator Tom Harkin. Harkin, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985, announced in January 2013 that he would retire at the end of his term in January 2015.

Recent polls had shown Ernst pulling ahead, a poll released by the Des Moines Register this weekend showed her with a seven point lead. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed the race was tied at 47%.

Ernst will be sworn in to the Senate in January.

Here’s a bit of background on her:

In 1989, a teenage college student from Iowa completed an agricultural exchange on a family farm in the Soviet state of Ukraine. Not surprisingly, as Joni Ernst retells it, the experience gave her a profound new appreciation for her home country — one that has colored her career choices to this day.

“It was just such a difference between the United States and the opportunity we had and what that family had in Ukraine,” she told RealClearPolitics, citing the farm’s lack of basic utilities such as a telephone and running water. (Residents had to use an outhouse behind the chicken coop, and the family shared a single bicycle in the absence of a car. Farm work was done through manual labor, supported by horses and wagons.) “That made such an impression on me when I came back to the United States and it was a matter of ‘Oh, I love my country.’”

[…]Ernst’s campaign is putting its focus on the candidate’s varied life experiences, including 21 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and the Iowa Army National Guard and being a mother of three and grandmother of six. Indeed, Romney’s endorsement highlighted her history as a “mother, soldier and proven conservative.”

A company commander in Kuwait and southern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 (and now a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard), Ernst says the grim realities she witnessed in Ukraine long ago sparked her interest in giving back to and supporting her own country.

“I felt that the military was a great way for me to do that, to defend the freedoms and opportunities that we have here in the United States,” she explained. “I’ve loved it.”

Nonetheless, Ernst recounts the hardships of serving in the Iraqi desert, including driving convoys in 142-degree temperatures and sandstorms that would sweep over the region. The situation was “just [a] pretty difficult environment, but you just adapt and you just roll with it,” she recalled. “It was the greatest of experiences and it was the worst of experiences.”

Those experiences are what drew some of Ernst’s supporters to her side. Ruben Garza, an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, said he sees the candidate’s service as apt preparation for the U.S. Senate. “When you’re a military leader, your actions and your words are highly scrutinized and you’re expected to do what you say. I would expect, [if] Senator Ernst says she’s going to achieve something, she’s going to put 110 percent effort into achieving that.”

Her personal story goes far beyond the Iraqi desert, of course. It can be traced back to the cornfields of Stanton, a farming town of about 700 in southwestern Iowa. The town’s premier landmark is a water tower modeled after a traditional Swedish coffeepot, complete with a colorful floral design, handle and spout. Erected during Stanton’s centennial in 1970, the tower is both a nod to the town’s 19th-century Swedish immigrant heritage and a tribute to native daughter Virginia Christine, an actress featured in 1960s television commercials for Folgers Coffee.

Joni Culver, the second daughter of a farming couple, was born the same year the water tower was erected. Ernst and her campaign like to highlight her roots as a farmer’s daughter, and she cited this aspect of her life when arguing for reduced government spending during a debate with other Republican candidates for the Senate: “As a farmer’s daughter, who grew up in southwest Iowa castrating hogs with her dad, I can go to Washington and cut pork,” she said to cheers from the audience.

Among those familiar with Ernst during those early years is her sixth-grade teacher and campaign supporter, Rick Gustafson. He compares the candidate’s upbringing to “Little House on the Prairie,” where Mrs. Culver would sew young Joni’s and her older sister’s clothes. (He still has a pillow Ernst’s mother gave him, embroidered with the names of all 23 students in his class.)  Moreover, Gustafson remembers his former pupil’s strong work ethic and that she learned to drive her father’s tractor, as well as being a model student in class.

“Joni was one of those rare students that had high intellect, very, very good academic ability, and also had a high integrity in terms of doing the right things,” Gustafson told RCP. “She had all those and showed all those qualities at that time, even though she was still in those formative years.”

Ernst first expressed that love by joining the Army Reserves and the National Guard, and she hopes to express it further by serving in the U.S. Senate. What makes her ambition especially noteworthy is that, should she win the GOP primary on June 3 and the general election in November, Ernst would become the first woman from Iowa to serve in Congress. Given the state’s long track record of moderate, independent-minded politics, one might be astonished to learn that only Iowa and Mississippi have yet to elect a woman to federal office or governor.

I think she has the background to be the first woman President one day! She is also pro-life.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Republican Tim Scott beats Joyce Dickerson in South Carolina Senate race

Rep. Tim Scott

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)

The Tea Party News Network reported this Tuesday night:

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott has been called the winner in this special election to retain the Senate seat to which he was appointed in January 2013 after then Senator Jim DeMint resigned to head the Heritage Foundation. The election was called early with Scott crushing his opponent, Democrat Joyce Dickerson, 52% to 46%, according to Fox News.

When Scott was appointed, he became the first black senator from the South since Reconstruction. His defeat over Democrat opponent Randall Young helps Republicans in their quest to gain control over the Senate.

During a speech at Howard University, an historically black college, Scott talked about the challenge of being a black Republican. He said, “Part of the challenge of being a black Republican anywhere is that you start off with people walking in with chips on their shoulder trying to figure out what is wrong with you. I hope that people will judge me on my agenda, what I say, and how I vote.” It appears that the people of South Carolina have spoken and are supportive of the votes that Scott has made with his re-election.

The result was 61-37. He won by a bigger margin than Lindsay Graham did in the other Senate race.

Let’s see what he is all about, although I blogged about him before:

I am a strong supporter of our traditional conservative values. I believe that government should be protecting our right to religious freedom, not assaulting it.

I am strongly pro-life, supporting the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Since Roe vs. Wade, more than 50 million Americans have never had the opportunity to touch our soil, and that is a tremendous tragedy.

As a cosponsor of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, I have also been steadfast in supporting efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s intrusion on American’s religious beliefs. Government is already overreaching into our homes and businesses; it can’t be allowed to do the same with our faith.

The people of South Carolina have voted overwhelmingly to protect the traditional definition of marriage, and I stand with their decision.

I regard all life as sacred, and am proud of our values and traditions.  For this reason I am committed to protecting the unborn and continuing to take a stand in defending traditional and religious values.

I think when Christians have a candidate like this, they need to get out to the polls and vote. This guy is the perfect candidate for Christians.

UPDATE: Three black Republicans – one Senator, and two House representatives, were elected. ALL are pro-life.

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Charles Krauthammer: what the GOP should do if they retake the Senate

From National Review, a follow-up to my post yesterday about the midterm election projection.

Excerpt:

The Democratic line is that the Republican House does nothing but block and oppose. In fact, it has passed hundreds of bills, only to have them die upon reaching the desk of Senate majority leader Harry Reid. He has rendered the Senate inert by simply ensuring that any bill that might present a politically difficult vote for his Democratic colleagues never comes to the floor.

Winning control of the Senate would allow Republicans to pass a whole range of measures now being held up by Reid, often at the behest of the White House. Make it a major reform agenda. The centerpiece might be tax reform, both corporate and individual. It is needed, popular, and doable. Then go for the low-hanging fruit enjoying wide bipartisan support, such as the Keystone XL pipeline and natural-gas exports, especially to Eastern Europe. One could then add border security, energy deregulation, and health-care reform that repeals the more onerous Obamacare mandates.

If the president signs any of it, good. If he vetoes, it will be clarifying. Who then will be the Party of No? The vetoed legislation would become the framework for a 2016 GOP platform. Let the debate begin.

The risk-averse will say: Why take chances? Why not just run against the Obama legacy in 2016?

The GOP should and will do that. What has happened to economic growth, social cohesion, and America’s standing abroad will be a significant drag on Democrats. But it could very well not be enough.

[…]Memo to the GOP: Win the Senate, then enact an agenda and dare the president to veto it. Show the country what you stand for. Then take it to the nation in 2016.

So, if the GOP takes the House and Senate, they can proceed to pass every single bill that makes sense to the American people and then have Obama veto each one. Then they can run on those vetoed bills in 2016. Obama is a left-wing radical, so this is exactly who we want to represent the Democrat party in such an operation. Republicans can say “We wanted THIS and the Democrat in charge said no”. That’s one way of working around the liberal media. Now is the time to debate all the bills that they will want to pass should the GOP win the Presidency in 2016.

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If you want to annoy the left, then raise your children to be like Texas senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Here’s a profile in National Review of my one of my favorite senators.

Excerpt:

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the Left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, the New York Times editorial board would have had to invent them.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea-party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2008 H.W. Brands biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a traitor to his class.

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

[…]In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded that his tea-party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.

One of the Left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a . . . Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.

Cruz hasn’t played by the Senate rules that freshmen should initially be seen and not heard. In fact, he joined the upper chamber with all the subtlety of a SWAT team knocking down a drug suspect’s front door.

For people who care about such things — almost all of them are senators — this is an unforgivable offense. At another hearing, as Cruz says that the highest commitment of senators should be to the Constitution, another senator can be heard muttering that he doesn’t like being lectured. Chairman Pat Leahy (probably the mutterer) eventually cuts him off and informs him he hasn’t been in the Senate very long.

Cruz lacks all defensiveness about his positions, another source of annoyance to his opponents, who are used to donning the mantle of both intellectual and moral superiority.

And here’s a quick review of where Ted Cruz came from:

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight’s FreedomWorks Free the People event.

Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro’s governance and President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn’t take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.

For his part in the revolution — one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country — Cruz was punished while in Cuba.

“I was in prison,” he said. “I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself — one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.

His plight in Cuba colored his American experience

“You can’t understand a loss of rights unless you’ve experienced it,” Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.

His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.

Fascinating.

Now people always complain when I say that I am trying to find a wife with the background, education, experience and temperment to raise effective, influential children. I have a whole list of influential people I want to clone, in fact. I want a William Lane Craig, a Wayne Grudem, a Michael Licona, a Guillermo Gonzales, an Ann Gauger, a Jennifer Roback Morse, a Scott Klusendorf, a Mark Regnerus, and… a Ted Cruz. And I’ve saved the money to be able to get at least a few of those, too. The truth is that I had some of the experiences that Cruz’s father had, and if he can make a Ted Cruz, then so should I be able to. They have to come from somewhere!

Now of course it’s hard to guarantee outcomes when it comes to raising children, but there are some things you can prepare for. You can study things you hate that are hard, and save your money for Ph.D tuition. You can go to grad school yourself and publish research. You can look for a wife who shows the ability to nurture people so that they get better and rise higher. And maybe, you might just raise the next Ted Cruz. I think the old adage “if you aim at nothing, then you will surely hit it” is a good saying for marriage. If you are going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of your life into a marriage, then you should aim at something. You might hit it. You’re not just there to make another person feel good – you’re there to make the marriage serve God. Raising influential, effective children is one way of doing that. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And it isn’t necessarily going to be “fun”.

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Ohio governor John Kasich signs legislation to crack down on sex-trafficking

From Cleveland.com, a story about Ohio’s Republican governor.

Excerpt:

Gov. John Kasich intends to sign wide-ranging legislation on Friday morning designed to crack down on sex trafficking in Ohio.

House Bill 130, which passed the legislature unanimously, increases penalties for those who solicit minors or the developmentally disabled, strengthens protections for victims, and makes it easier to prosecute human traffickers.

The state estimates that each year an estimated 1,078 Ohio children become victims of human trafficking and 3,016 more are at risk for exploitation.

Under the bill, which will take effect immediately, buying sex from a 16- or 17-year-old will now be a fifth-degree felony instead of a misdemeanor. Soliciting a younger child will be a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The measure also terminates parental rights for those who have trafficked their children and prohibits sex ads that depict a minor or are for a massage parlor.

Kasich will sign the bill at 11 a.m. at the Ohio Department of Transportation headquarters in Columbus. Northeast Media Group staff writer Jeremy Pelzer will cover the event live in the comments section below.

I’m really not sure who could look at a child and think anything other than “this little human is made to know God, love God and love other people, so I will act in a way that helps them to do that, and does not not pull them away from that”. We’re not supposed to be hurting children, because children’s needs are more important than adult selfishness.

You know this story reminds me of one to the reasons why I am for marriage. I think that when a child is born into a home where his or her mother and father are presented and united in their obligation to love that child, then things like this do not happen. Sex-trafficking is something that happens to children who do not have a stable, loving environment to grow up in. But what are we doing to restrain ourselves to make sure that we do the things that we need to do to wrap sex in a layer of responsibility? Responsible sex doesn’t mean “safe” sex. It means sex that is contained inside the boundaries of a marriage and that any children who are produced are not seen as commodities, but as gifts that we are responsible for.

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