Des Moines, Iowa. We're here in America's corn hole, I mean corn basket, this afternoon at the annual Freedom Summit, also known as Steve King's Fuck You Immigrants, Muslims, Gays and Anyone Who Isn't a White Redneck Asshole Lollapalooza. This is where potential Republican presidential contenders come to prove their bona fides to the GOP's most droolingly right-wing voters and hopefully get that much coveted Iowa bump.
However it's not the line-up of presidential hopefuls that are the talk of the event, but Iowa's own Joni Ernst, the freshman senator who delivered the first of five fulsome GOP rebuttals to President Obama's State of the Union address. The pig castrater from Red Oak has inadvertently uncorked something of a pissing contest with her woebegone tale of childhood poverty — poverty so deep it required $460,000 in government subsides — including the heartbreaking account of wearing plastic bread wrappers over her one good pair of shoes. Now everyone is regaling the press with Dickensian tales of brutal childhood hardship. Here's a small sampling from those willing to speak to us:
"Bread wrappers? That ain't nuthin'! We was so poor we wore bread for shoes. My poor mama would git herself up at four in the mornin' and start bakin' our shoes. 'Come in here chillun and put your dogs in them buns an' git on to school' she'd say. Then we'd walk five miles to school in our bread shoes. We ate 'em for lunch. Then we'd walk on home barefoot. Took me twenty years 'for I could eat bread without mud on it."
"Well we were so durn poor our little town couldn't even afford a town drunk. We had this one guy who just pretended to be drunk about half the time."
"You want me to tell you what poor is? We were so fucking poor the panhandlers gave us spare change. My pop's best job was holding the 'will work for food' sign for the homeless guy."
"Oh my, we were so poor that our mama would tell us, 'You kids go out there and foller them squirrels before it gits dark and find where they're buryin' them acorns and bring 'em home.' Then we'd bring the acorns home and mama would make us all a nice bowl of hot water and acorn soup."
Of course there are some who still are a bit unclear on the concept.
"Oh dear, yes, as a young lad I faced very great hardship. Father made a disastrous investment and found it expedient to sell our summer house on Cape Cod. We were forced to winter in a rented villa in Hawaii for three torturous years. The following year pater auctioned my polo pony, and Biff and Skipper and the rest of the chaps at prep mocked me mercilessly. 'No Polo DuPont' they called me. It still rankles to this very day."
Fortunately, the Republicans still have time to work this all out and prove to the middle class and working poor that they really, really care about them. The empathy workshop starts at 2:00 pm, entitled "Bread Wrappers for Everyone." Watch out, Democrats.
©2015 Kona Lowell