27 June 2011

Michele Bachmann: non-partisan Republican?

Opening her presidential campaign formally in Waterloo, Iowa, today -- admittedly not the most auspicious location, but it is her birthplace -- Rep. Michele Bachmann said the following:
"Our problems don’t have an identity of party, they are problems created by both parties." And of her hoped-for base of supporters, she said:

The liberals, and to be clear I’m NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it’s not. It’s made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who’ve never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We’re people who simply want America back on the right track again.

These are popular things to say in this young campaign season, but each such utterance begs questions. If the Republican party, as Bachmann strongly suggests, has been part of the problem, why does she want its presidential nomination, and why does she represent her district in Minnesota as a Republican? And if the Tea Partiers are not "the Right Wing of the Republican Party," but presumably share Bachmann's view that the GOP has been historically part of the problem, why do they take up the yoke of the Republican party? Is it simply on the assumption that by doing so they're taking it over? Why don't these disgruntled Americans try a new vehicle for getting their country on the right track?

Would it be too difficult? That shouldn't deter a candidate whose announcement was full of praise for the nation's historic can-do, adversity-overcoming spirit. But Bachmann's reluctance (at this time) to declare independence from the Republican party may belie her invocations of an ideal America where "We depended on our neighbors and ourselves and not our government for help." As part of the American Bipolarchy, the Republican Party is, for all intents and purposes, part of the government regardless of whether it controls any branch of the government. During a Democratic presidency, the GOP is the official opposition, the institution that demands or commands the support of anyone to the right of the Administration. According to Bipolarchy thought, the Democratic party requires the existence of the Republican party as a check. Bachmann affirms this mentality by recounting her own story of defection from the Democracy. She told the Iowans today that her first political work had been for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign of 1976, but that Carter's alleged expansion of government, curtailing of liberty and weakening of American prestige drove her to the other party. In her mind, one can infer, the Democracy remains the party of "big government," against which the Republican party remains the most conveniently available weapon. But the GOP's size, power and availability are all products of its standing, consolidated through election laws across the country, as a virtual constituent element of the American government. The Republican party is embedded in government at every level, and it expands government as readily when it holds federal power as the Democratic party does. And when Bachmann calls the U.S. "the most powerful force for good on this planet," and "THE indispensable nation," that doesn't sound like a call for the downsizing of government in those sectors where Republicans are most committed to its expansion. And in other sectors the Republicans are often committed to maximizing federal power just so states and other entities won't have the power to interfere with business.

Bachmann's own commitment to state rights is thrown into question by her somehow simultaneous advocacy of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one-man-one-woman and avowal of each state's prerogative to set marriage standards. In cases like that, the Republicans are happy to be the party of Big Government when little government offends Big Business or Big Church. If disgruntled Americans want a government that doesn't represent Big Anything, they're probably looking in the wrong direction when Bachmann tempts them to take over the Republican party. The "right" has had to take over that party too many times by now for any intelligent conservative to take the prospect of yet another takeover seriously ... but insert your own punchline here about the intelligence of most self-styled conservatives in America, Michele Bachmann included.


Anonymous said...

She claims the teabaggers are composed of "disgruntled Americans" from across the spectrum, yet uses every public chance she has to disparage the left. The woman is every bit as stupid and venomous as Sarah Palin.

Right-wing dirtclods may make lots of noise about how their women are "more attractive"(at least by their subjective standards), but it's brains, not beauty that solves problems and I don't see an ounce of intelligence coming from the right in the least.

Anonymous said...

I was watching a bit of her speech from Waterloo. I found the part where she says she wants to live in "John Wayne's America" to be interesting. She mentions that she, like John Wayne, came from Waterloo, Iowa. The interesting part is that the only John Wayne associated with Waterloo was John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer of boys and young men. It left me a bit confused as well, because I'm not sure anyone in their right mind would want to live in that John Wayne's America.

John Wayne, the actor (real name Marion Mitchell Morrison) was born in Winterset, Iowa, but moved to Palmdale, CA when he was about 3 years old. Considering that all three of his wives were of Mexican descent, I'm not sure John Wayne would want to live in Michelle Bachman's America.

Samuel Wilson said...

Yeah, you and fifty million other guys have pounced on that gaffe. Ideology aside, if we imposed zero tolerance for factual error as a qualification for office, we'd be without a government. But to corroborate your point about John Wayne, while he was a reactionary by the standards of his time, he once debated Ronald Reagan on the subject of the Panama Canal treaty, Reagan not wanting the US to give it up. From what I've read, Wayne won that debate, and Bachmann would probably have been on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should institute higher standards and qualifications for public office then. If nothing else, it would "thin the herd" of the morons who have no place running the government. In my view, anyone who runs their mouth off without making sure that what they say is true and factual should not be in any position of power or authority, be it public or private sector.

hobbyfan said...

It's just another example of the media celebrating stupidity. They think Ms. Bachmann possess some amount of charisma. In truth, she and Sarah Palin are living proof you don't have to be blonde to be labeled an airhead.