Joni!

So Joni Ernst got her moment in the sun tonight, delivering the official Republican response to the State of the Union Address (there were four “unofficial” responses, which I’ll deal with tomorrow). It wasn’t at dreadful as I expected, but that’s mainly because it was sufficiently empty to make the eyelids droop. I mean, here was Joni’s big economic policy pitch:

We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.

Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.

That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again. And now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve.

One you’ve probably heard about is the Keystone jobs bill. President Obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years, even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of Americans support it. The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact.

We worked with Democrats to pass this bill through the House. We’re doing the same now in the Senate.

President Obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill, or block good American jobs?

The good news is that when you factor in Ernst’s lengthy paean to her Iowa upbringing–reprised at the end of the speech–and another shout-out to her own military service, the above plodding passage ate up close to half her time. See, this Senate stuff isn’t that hard for a “normal Iowan,” as she called herself!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.