"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.