The Spectacle Blog

‘Obvious’ Truths about Michele Bachmann

By on 8.15.11 | 12:59PM

David Frum says that Michele Bachmann is "obviously" unqualified to be President of the United States.

Really? Bachmann has served ably in the United States Congress and the Minnesota State Legislature. She has raised five biological children and 23 foster children. And she is an attorney with a masters degree in tax law.

The only thing that seems "obvious" to me is that Bachmann is a candidate of substance who deserves to be taken seriously. She certainly doesn't deserve to be airily and patronizingly dismissed as some sort of second-rate, subpar presidential candidate.

Nor does Bachmann deserve to be ghettoized as simply a "social conservative candidate." Yet according to talk radio host Laura Ingraham, that's what Bachmann is: just a social conservative vying for the right to take on the supposed "fiscal conservative," Mitt Romney.

Of course, Bachmann is a social and cultural conservative, as are most Republican presidential candidates and GOP primary voters. But she's also a former tax attorney. And her candidacy is based primarily on fiscal and economic matters, not social and cultural concerns.

She is adamantly opposed, for instance, to Obamacare, which she has pledged to immediately and completely repeal. As Governor of Massachusetts, by contrast, Romney pushed through the state legislature a "comprehensive health insurance" bill that bears an eerie resemblance to Obamacare. Romney's law even includes an individual health insurance mandate which Obama correctly cites as precedent for his similarly far-reaching legislation.

Moreover, it is difficult to imagine a candidate more committed to cutting federal spending than Bachmann. Why, she even opposed raising the federal debt ceiling unless and until Congress and the White House agreed to a plan to avert America's looming debt crisis.

"This year alone," she told ABC News' Jack Tapper on This Week, "we've brought in $2.2 trillion in revenue from all the taxes we pay in. And then we spent not only every penny of that, but we spent $1.5 trillion more...

"This isn't some project for 10 years and 15 years down the road," Bachmann continued.

Right now, we're going to reform entitlements. We're going to reform them for anyone who's currently not on them. We're going to change them so that they'll work...

Medicare, Medicaid -- they have to be changed. Why should we continue to run these program the way we did 45 years ago? Systems have changed. We can make these far more efficient than what they are.

Social Security is another program -- 80 years old. Why would we continue to run it in the same way we did 80 years ago? Let's modernize it so it's there for people who depend on it.

And, when asked about her views on homosexuality, Bachmann simply said:

Well, I am running to be the President of the United States. I am not running to be any person's judge. And I give -- I ascribe dignity and honor to all people, no matter who they are. And that's how I view people.

Tapper: So you would appoint an openly gay or lesbian person to your administration?

Bachmann: I would look, first of all [at]: will they uphold the Constitution of the United States? And, number two: are they competent to do what they need to do? And are they the best at who they are? That's my criteria, nothing more.

In short, Bachmann is a leading fiscal and economic conservative and hardly the "extreme" right-wing religious zealot that the Left fervently imagines her to be. Which is why, contra David Frum, it is "obvious" that she can win.

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