Michele Bachmann is the best proponent of Tea Party values among Republican candidates. In the Iowa debate, she let everyone know it.
Michele Bachmann on the economy
Michele Bachmann poses before an American flag. Photo: United States House of Representatives
Rep. Michele Bachmann made her position on the economy clear early in the debt ceiling debate. She voted against every debt ceiling rise that the House considered. At the debate in Ames, Iowa, she said why. Raising the debt ceiling was a mistake, and the stock market’s abysmal performance shows that. (The record-setting performance of gold shows it, too, though Bachmann didn’t mention that.)
Then she took time to send this unmistakable message to Barack H. Obama:
You are finished! You will be a one-term president!
She had earlier predicted that she could have the economy recovering within three months. Last night, she made clear that she had no doubts.
Michele Bachmann on her experience
To be sure, Bachmann’s only experience has been as a legislator, first in Minnesota, and now in the House of Representatives. Her fellow Minnesotan, Tim Pawlenty, called her out on that. In reply, she in effect asked him whether his experience was greater, or more trustworthy, than hers:
When you were governor, you implemented cap-and-trade. You praised the unconstitutional Individual Mandate [in the health care reform bill]. You said that the era of small government is over. That sounds [very much] like Barack Obama to me.
At that, Pawlenty called Bachmann a liar. Bachmann simply said,
When others ran, I fought!
Editor’s note: today the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Individual Mandate is indeed unconstitutional.
Michele Bachmann on taxes
Byron York of The Washington Examiner asked Bachmann why she had voted for a tax, or “fee,” on cigarettes. (This was before he asked his infamous “submit to your husband” question.) Bachmann then made the most serious charge of all: that she had not wanted any such tax, but Governor Pawlenty had “cut a deal” forcing her to make a Hobson’s choice between levying a tax on cigarettes, or weakening existing prohibitions against abortions. She chose to raise the tax instead. (Even Pawlenty admitted that the cigarette tax, or fee, or whatever one wished to call it, was “a mistake” that he would not repeat.) Two rounds of charge and counter-charge followed between Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty. Clearly Pawlenty had one meme above all others: “She’s lying!”
York then asked all candidates whether they would “walk away from a deal” that offered $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. To a man (and woman), all eight candidates said that they would, indeed, “walk away.”
Michele Bachmann on the health care reform bill
Chris Wallace asked Bachmann flatly whether the 10th Amendment would allow a State to pass an “Individual Mandate.” Bachmann answered that it would make no difference. She hinted that forcing anyone to buy any product or service (as a condition of citizenship or lawful residency) was a power that the Constitution could never reserve to the States. The reason: no government of a free society had such a power.
Michele Bachmann on foreign policy
Michele Bachmann made abundantly clear that she is not an isolationist. She said flatly that she would keep Camp Delta at Guantanamo Naval Base open, and would not try terrorists in civilian courts. She also said that Iran must not arm itself with nuclear weapons, and she would do everything in her power to prevent that.
Michele Bachmann on social issues
Byron York did indeed ask Michele Bachmann whether, as President of the United States, she would “submit to [her] husband.” The audience erupted with boos. Bachmann waited it out, and answered frankly, but pleasantly, that submission meant mutual respect. (In fact, Paul of Tarsus explains, in his letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians, that followers of Christ should submit to one another in all humility.)
Michele Bachmann, as one woman in a field of men, probably had the hardest job of all. As Dick Morris later observed, a woman often cannot dish out, or answer, a negative remark without sounding shrill or defensive. Michele Bachmann managed that feat.
Featured image: Michele Bachmann’s official portrait, courtesy of the House of Representatives.