Before Joni Ernst delivered the GOP's response to the State of the Union address, Charlie Pierce's prediction seemed very plausible:
The conservative starmaker machinery has become far more efficient since the days when they tried to convince us of Quayle's maturity or Palin's intellect.
... her appearance has been preceded by an orgy of amnesiac beat-sweetening unlike anything I've ever seen before.... she has been the subject of mainstream media profiles that are, to say the least, laudatory.... All the reviews will be glowing.
But Ernst's speech was underwhelming, and her reference to a childhood in which she wore bread bags as galoshes inspired a lot of chuckling online. So her rise to stardom is all over, right? The Republican star system isn't working for her, is it?
Um, not so fast. According to Politico, the voice of the Beltway, she's still going to be a superstar:
Sen. Joni Ernst hasn’t been in office a month, but she’s already delivered the GOP response to the State of the Union. And now the Iowa Republican is looking to parlay her newfound celebrity into something more powerful: influence in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Likely candidates are expected to attend a summer political event put on by Ernst that will showcase her sway at the national level. Weeks after Ernst won a hotly contested Senate race, her staff started planning the June 6 gathering that she aims to turn into an annual tradition akin to the steak fry that her Democratic predecessor, Tom Harkin, put on 37 times.
“It should be a can’t-miss event for presidential candidates who want to get to know Iowans better,” said Matt Strawn, a former chairman of the state GOP who helped Ernst during her campaign; he played her opponent, former Rep. Bruce Braley, in debate prep.
The “Roast and Ride” will likely be held in central Iowa and is expected to be a family friendly event featuring motorcycle rides and a pork-heavy menu.
Oh God, the Village scribes are going to eat this up. Greasy food! Harleys! It's all so authentic!
A lot of Iowa political figures organize confabs like this -- but Politico assures us that this one will be special:
... none of those GOP players have the juice right now that the 44-year-old Ernst does.
Well, there you have it! It's decided! She's already a superstar!
“I certainly would [attend] if I was one of those candidates,” Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is close with Ernst, said of the event Ernst is planning.
... Her profile -- Iowa’s first female senator, who won in a swing state without bending on her ideology and boasts a military background -- would guarantee prominence in either party.
The press loves so many things about Ernst -- the motorcycles, the pig castration, the military background, the Midwestern realness. It doesn't matter at this point that she'll never castrate a pig again, never go out in the rain again without proper footwear, never again serve in or near a war zone, and probably never get on a Harley again except as a photo op. Unless she screws up Palin-style, she's going to be a star. The GOP needs that to happen. And the press wants it to.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog