- - Friday, July 11, 2014

Several of the left’s favorite candidates this year have been caught getting creative with campaign biographies. Wendy Davis, running for governor in Texas, tried to stoke sympathy by telling of the hard times she faced as a teenage single mother. (She wasn’t one.) Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tried to pass as a Cherokee Indian. (She isn’t one.)

Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa, a Democrat, has taken this strategy to heart in his run for the state’s open Senate seat. While walking in 4th of July parade, Mr. Braley claimed to be a farmer — a useful addition to the resume of someone running for the U.S. Senate in the state of the tall corn.

A video produced by the Republican research firm, America Rising, portrayed Mr. Braley greeting parade watchers with a broad grin. One of them says proudly, “We’re farmers.” With equal pride, Mr. Braley replies: “So am I.”

Bruce Braley doesn’t milk cows, plow fields or raise corn, not even nubbins. (Note to Mr. Braley: a nubbin is a stunted ear.) The only thing he’s ever actually grown is a lawsuit. He’s a tort lawyer who once served as president of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association. He knows how to milk clients.

Mr. Braley revealed his scorn for farmers last April at a fundraiser by trial lawyers in Texas with remarks about Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and a popular senator who really is a farmer. “If you help me win this race,” Mr. Braley told the assembly of aspiring Blackstones, “you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or, you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Mr. Braley spent the weeks following attempting to extract his foot from his mouth. An apologetic press release touting his childhood farming credentials misspelled a number of common farming terms. A Buzzfeed reporter discovered that a photograph that Mr. Braley posted of “an Iowa farm” was actually a photograph of a farm in England.

Mr. Braley understands that he must win the farmer vote to succeed in November. Like Ms. Warren and Ms. Davis, Mr. Braley doesn’t have any ideas. Ms. Davis‘ sole claim to fame is that she stood up to speak for 11 hours in favor of aborting the unborn. Elizabeth Warren, a law professor, offers as her chief credential that she is the loudest advocate of expanding the red tape of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Politicians short on ideas must inevitably run on personality. When their facts don’t make a good story, they’re tempted to make some up, to embellish a thin biography. Unlike residents in Massachusetts, who were willing to overlook Ms. Warren’s biographical excess, voters in Iowa are likely to scorn a poseur, someone trying just a bit too hard to be “like them” when they actually share nothing in common.

Perhaps one day we’ll meet the perfect Democratic candidate. She’ll be a single mom, perhaps a lesbian, who once worked on a farm on an Indian reservation. Just not this year.

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