Sunday, June 26, 2011

2012 Contender: Michele Bachmann

On social issues, Michele Bachmann is solidly on the Religious Right. On economic issues, it’s not clear what she believes. She excels at political theater and inflammatory rhetoric, using words like “Marxist,” “socialist” and “gangster” liberally against all her opponents -- left and right. But I see little substance, and what I see is decidedly pro-Big Business.

1. Personal Background. Bachmann grew up as a Democrat, but switched parties in college when she didn’t like Gore Vidal “mock[ing] the Founding Fathers” in his 1973 novel Burr. She became political praying at abortion clinics. Between 1988-1993, she worked for the IRS as a tax collection attorney. She served in the Minnesota State Senate before becoming the third woman to represent Minnesota in Congress. She has five children and was a foster mother to 23 teenagers.

2. Social Conservatism. Social conservatism appears to be Bachmann’s primary motivating concern:

Abortion. Bachmann got her start in politics praying outside abortion clinics. As a Minnesota state senator, she introduced a constitutional amendment to ban the use of state funds for abortion. In Congress, she co-sponsored bills (1) to ban Planned Parenthood’s funding, (2) to make it a crime to take minors across state lines to have an abortion, (3) to ban federal funding for abortion, (4) to declare that life begins at conception, and (5) to give fetuses equal rights under the 14th Amendment. She supports a constitutional amendment to ban abortion except in the cases of rape or incest.

Gays. In 2003, Bachmann proposed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. In 2004, she tried to get a same-sex marriage ban on the referendum ballot. In 2005, she tried again with the proposed constitutional amendment. Each effort failed. She supports a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. She has voted against extending employment discrimination laws to gays. Also, related to this issue, her husband owns a Christian counseling clinic which apparently seeks to convert gays to heterosexuality.

Creationism. Bachmann supports teaching intelligent design.
3. Economics. Bachmann’s economic policies lack substance. She doesn’t have a website yet (a red flag considering she’s been running for President for years), which means we have no economic plan to consider. Aside from such a plan, her legislative record is scant, contradictory, and filled with meaningless votes and gestures. It’s rare that she drafted legislation to get her views made into law, she was never a deciding vote on any issue, and there's no evidence she can build coalitions to get legislation moving:
● As a state senator, she proposed amending Minnesota's constitution to add a taxpayer’s bill of rights, based on Colorado’s TABOR. This went nowhere.

● In 2005, she blasted Tom Pawlenty’s proposed 75 cent per pack surcharge on cigarettes, but she ultimately voted for it.

● She opposed the Wall Street bailout bills (TARP and TALP) in the form they passed. Instead, she advocated suspending the accounting rules that require banks to value mortgages at their fair market value -- this would have artificially made banks appear solvent. I found no evidence she introduced legislation to back her proposal.

● She advocated breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and barring its executives from receiving excessive compensation or golden parachutes, but I found no evidence she introduced legislation to back this up.

● Bachmann opposed the auto bailout bill in the form it passed. She instead proposed an alternative bailout with additional conditions that set benchmarks for reducing debt and renegotiating labor deals. Again, I found no legislation.

● Bachmann voted against the first $825 billion stimulus (Jan 2009) and the third $60 billion stimulus (Sept. 2009). But, she voted for the second $192 billion stimulus (July 2009).

● Bachmann voted against expanding the student loan program. It passed.

● Bachmann opposed increasing the minimum wage, which passed.

● In March 2010, Bachmann proposed legislation to bar the government from replacing the dollar. This is already illegal, and her bill went nowhere.
4. Big Business v. Main Street. Bachmann joined the Tea Party movement, but much of her legislative effort has been decidedly pro-Big Business. Note that she didn’t actually oppose the auto or Wall Street bailouts, she just wanted them done differently. Her Wall Street plan was the one advocated by most of the big Wall Street investment firms. She also voted against regulating the subprime market in 2007. Moreover:
● In 2008, Bachmann coauthored a bill with Democrat Tim Mahoney to remove statutory damages against credit card companies for abusive debt collection practices.

● In 2011, she joined other Republicans in advocating the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law on the basis that “Dodd-Frank grossly expanded the federal government beyond its jurisdictional boundaries. It gave Washington bureaucrats the power to interpret and enforce the legislation with little oversight.” But that’s simply wrong. Dodd-Frank was written by Wall Street insiders to give the appearance of creating a financial regulatory scheme without actually changing anything, and the Democrats/Republicans are playing their constituents for chumps on this. A Tea Party person should have recognized this.
5. ObamaCare. Bachmann introduced a bill with Rep. Steve King to repeal ObamaCare. She later criticized Republican leadership for not shutting down the government until Obama agreed to the repeal (and defunding Planned Parenthood) -- after originally supporting the deal to avert the shutdown. That’s grandstanding.

Her own version of healthcare reform is standard Big Business Republican rhetoric: let insurers compete across state lines, increase health savings accounts and tort reform.

6. Social Security/Medicare. Bachmann has called for phasing out Social Security and Medicare, except for people already “in the system.” But then she opposed the part of Paul Ryan’s budget that does that for Medicare, stating that she puts an undefined “asterisk” next to her vote for the budget on that issue.

7. Global Warming. Bachmann considers global warming a hoax and opposes cap and trade because carbon dioxide “is not a harmful gas.” In 2008, she and 24 co-sponsors introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. The bill wasn't considered by the committee or brought to a vote. In 2008, she became an advocate for increasing oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR and offshore. She also supports wind, solar and nuclear.

8. Immigration. Bachmann’s position on immigration is to secure the borders and enforce existing laws. I found nothing more. She supports making English the official language.

9. Guns. Bachmann supports gun rights and in 2007 co-sponsored a bill to bar Washington, D.C. from requiring gun registration or trigger locks. In 2009, she co-sponsored a bill to allow people with concealed carry permits to carry their guns in other states.

10. Census. In June 2010, Bachmann said she would boycott the census. She backtracked on this and eventually introduced the American Community Survey Act, which sought to limit the amount of personal information collected by the Census. The bill went nowhere.

I like Bachmann a lot, but I'm concerned. Her preference for political theater over coalition building makes her ineffective. She’s had numerous squabbles in Minnesota and Congress, which resulted in her being kept out of or kicked out of leadership positions, and she has yet to show she can get things done. In this regard, she's much like Ron Paul, casting meaningless protest votes. But I'm most concerned that she appears disinterested in economic issues and that her default position seems to be “do what Big Business wants.” I'll reassess her economic plan when she finishes her website, but based just on what we know now, I have serious doubts she would make a good President or a good conservative President. Right now, she comes across ideologically as George Bush Jr. plus a penchant for indiscriminate bomb throwing.

52 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

the question for me is, would what Bachmann brings to the table outweigh any liabilities? I don't know. I like the fact she can be an attack dog, and I would love to get a woman on the Republican ticket. But, I think Bachmann, like Palin, is red meat to energize liberals. You know how I feel about social conservatism. It is not that I am against some of those issues, but it can serve as a platform for the Dem's to switch the debate away from the economy. She is far from stupid, and I would certainly support her if she ends up on the ticket, but she would not be my first or second choice, based on what you have presented here.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Let me make several points that largely agree with you.

1. First, the jury is still out on Bachmann. I have no economic plan that I can judge her by. Based on what I have, I would have serious concerns. But she may come out with a really good plan.

Absent that, however, I am concerned with putting another person in the White House who doesn't care about economic issues and who equates Big Business with American capitalism.

2. Secondly, I think she makes an excellent attack dog, but that doesn't necessarily equate to being a good President. It might just mean she's in the right place being in Congress.

I think we need someone with the killer instinct, who is not afraid to get nasty and blast the other side for their failures and their record. But that does not mean, someone who gets indiscriminately inflammatory. Bachmann does have a history of attacking allies and of having to retract attacks she's made because she overstates her case or relies on rumor in making her attacks. That works for a Congressperson, but would be death in a general campaign as it will allow Obama to shift the debate to our side's missteps rather than his own record.

(continued)

AndrewPrice said...

(continued)
3. This is about finding the best candidate, this isn't a matter of accepting/rejecting candidates. Thus, while I explain my concerns here, let me stress that I would absolutely support her if she won the nomination and I would be cautiously optimistic if she won. But looking at what we know, I think we can get much better things in other candidates.

4. On the social conservative stuff, my thinking is that even if you support her views (and I'm not making a judgment on that), I think you can get the same views out of other candidates with more solid records on other issues. I think we should be looking at the all around candidate, not just someone with one skill.

So until I can see her economic plan, I will withhold final judgment.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, this doesn't sound very different from what I was thinking. From what I've seen, I like Bachmann and would support her 100 percent--if for no other reason than to see the reaction from Chris Matthews if she won--but right now I'm in a "wait and see" mode.

It occurred to me that perhaps part of the reason for the lack of information on her economic plans is the way her campaign kinda exploded out of nowhere. Honestly, it wasn't until a week or so ago that I actually took her seriously as a candidate. I get the feeling she intended this run in much the same way as her SOTU response, as a "Tea Party" alternative/advocacy, but now seems to be converting itself into a real run. So there may be some catch-up involved where hard, detailed plans are concerned; thankfully there's still some time to get that down. I'm trying to talk myself into supporting her, but again, "wait and see" sums it up right now.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I'm in the wait and see camp as well. If I had to choose right now, she would not be my candidate.

I am particularly concerned that she doesn't seem to care about economic issues. Especially since she claims to be a Tea Party leader. So it will be critical to see what she comes up with for an economic plan.

And I'm concerned about her lack of effectiveness. It's one thing to have sharp rhetoric and still be effective, it's quite another to just be loud. I see no evidence that she's anything other than loud.

So I am disappointed at this time.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, Andrew. Superb post!

It seems to me that Bachmann also doesan't have good leadership instincts.

Of course, even the best leaders need to be prepared as well as have good instincts (based on a lot of research and a good working knowledge of our Constitution) and she certainly hasn't been prepared or circumspect on many issues as a Congresswoman.

Indeed, as you pointed out, she has often backtracked after initial kneejerk reactions.
Not a good sign. Perhaps another 10-20 years of experience not just as a Rep. but as a Governor she might be ready.

Right now I'm leaning towards Pawlenty, Cain or Perry (if he runs).

Executive experience is crucial for would be Presidents and I don't wanna conservativish/populist version of Obama.
Still, I would vote for her if she gets the nomination, but I really don't think she's prepared enough to be a serious contender.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, You're welcome! And thanks!

I agree with your assessment.

First, I think executive experience (private sector or public sector) is very important for being a good President. That's why so few legislators have made it to the White House and why those who have (like Obama) have failed to show the kind of leadership it takes to handle the job. It's just two very different skill sets to run something than it is to be part of a larger body.

Secondly, I agree there's a lack of leadership ability here. I see that in how she's done little to put together coalitions (or even legislation) to get her views put into law, in the knee-jerk reactions that she then reverses, and in the attacks on allies. Also, being kicked out of a leadership job by the man who appointed her (Minnesota) and being kept out by her colleagues (Congress 2011) speaks volumes. In Congress, you can get away with that and still have a memorable career. But as President, leadership is essential to get your agenda in place. My fear would be that she would spend four years feuding with the Republicans and Congress and wouldn't actually achieve much.

But all that said, you never how she will respond once she gets into the office. I do think her instincts are conservative, which is good. But Perry shares most of her views and comes with the things she's missing. Cain shares her social views, but comes with a more conservative set of economic views. Pawlenty shares her social views and has a great set of economic views -- though he has yet to show he can fight. So why choose her?

At this point, I'm just not sold. As I said above, I would absolutely support her if she won the nomination and I would hope she grows into the role. But I can't say that RIGHT NOW I think she would make a good President.

And finally, yes, I think it would help her a LOT to be a governor for a term or two.

DUQ said...

This is disappointing, but I'm not surprised. She shoots from the hip. Have you heard the idea that people are backing her to stop Palin?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I've heard that. In fact, the BH boards were full of that one recently. They were particularly upset that she had hired Ed Rollins ("a noted Palin hater") to be her campaign manager. Make of that what you will.

On the disappointment, I share it. I've liked her alot, I just haven't looked into her record and I was expecting something a little more solid.

AndrewPrice said...

And let me stress again, if Bachmann is your candidate:

I'm not saying she's unacceptable. This is my assessment of her strengths and weakenesses based on what we know right now. That's it.

This can all change depending on her performance in the debates, the economic plan she eventually releases, etc.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, just to play the other side of the argument for a minute (because I really want to support a Bachmann candidacy, assuming it holds together), I think there are a lot of good things about her. Just to throw out a few:

1. She's willing to take unpopular positions. I'm thinking specifically of the minimum-wage thing; you can look at that as evidence of being a Big Business lackey, but she has to know how poorly that will be received by the public. So give her credit for gutsiness, I guess.

2. She seems to handle the media quite a bit better than...a certain other female politican who shall not be named. She's not as prone to gaffes, as far as I can tell, can give and take in interviews, and doesn't get docked as much for having a shrill voice (which is a stupid reason not to support someone, by the way, but whatever).

3. I stand by my theory that she probably meant this run at first as an advocacy campaign for Tea Partiers; I'm not convinced that she planned a serious bid for the presidency until very, very recently. So that would excuse some of her lack of managerial/coalition-building talents.

I did have a fourth reason but I forgot it, so it probably wasn't important. Anyway, just throwing that out there.

DUQA said...

Andrew, Part of me says there is something to that, but not the conspiracy theory the BH's are pushing. I don't think Bachmann is trying to be the "anybody but Palin" candidate, but I think conservatives who don't like Palin are probably jumping on her bandwagon to get rid of Palin and Romney.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It is amazing the lack of research folks do before choosing their favorite candidate.

It seems appearances trump reality most the time.
For example, Christie. I've seen lots of conservatives, even big conservative bloggers that I respect, support him and wish he would run.

Even the Daily Caller has gotten on his bandwagon.

But he's one of the least conservative Republicans out there!
He does speak well and he's good at appearing tough on the unions but what has he actually accomplished?
Very little.

It's frustrating but I'll keep doin' what I can to (hopefully) get folks to do some basic research at least.

It ain't hard to search for their records.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Your summary pretty much confirms what I already thought, though you went into much greater depth about her economic weaknesses than I had. This election is going to come down to getting the candidate who can best articulate how Republicans intend to get us out of our economic mess (simple nostrums, and mindlessly repeating the principles of the Laffer Curve won't be nearly enough--it took years to convince even Republicans to stop calling it voodoo economics or the trickle-down theory). I find this very worrisome.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Addressing your points.

Point 2. I agree. She is very much better at dealing with the media that a certain somebody who will not be named. She's also better at the media that ANY of the other candidates in the race except for probably Rick Perry. She gets a lot of points for that.

Point 3. It's possible that she's surprised she's getting traction and thus wasn't prepared. But I have two issues with this. First, anyone who thinks they are ready to sit in the White House (and who we are actively considering) should be ready at any moment to tell you what they believe. The issues aren't new, the ideologies aren't new. If you asked me right now to tell you my economic plan, I could give it to you as I suspect could most other people here. And I expect the same out of candidates. I don't see how you can trust someone with the nation's most important job if they aren't ready to spit out their beliefs and plans at a moments notice.

Secondly, I see no evidence that she's actually Tea Party. She claims the mantle and she has claimed some Tea Party positions (though often these are not truthful of her record -- like the bailouts, which she claims to have opposed but never mentions the caveats). I see no evidence of concern with deficits or with overreaching government. Nor do I see the "main street economic view" that Tea Party people espouse, I see instead a Big Business view. This makes me wonder if she's actually a Tea Party person in spirit/mind or if it's a bandwagon thing?

Point 4. No comment. ;-)

Point 1. I disagree for several reasons. First, she never follows up these positions with any action. Anyone can say anything, but if they don't follow it up, it doesn't really matter. And when she's gotten the chance, she's often reneged -- like on the Ryan Medicare budget. Secondly, she doesn't take these positions alone, she is usually just signing on as a co-sponsor to someone else's bill. Compare her to Ron Paul. Paul speaks his mind on everything and doesn't care what people think. Bachmann has a history of saying one thing and then reversing course when it didn't play well with her supporters. In fact, if I were being less charitable, I would say she has a history of front running and throwing her allies under the bandwagon. So I can't agree that she is out there staking out unpopular stands.


Don't get me wrong, I like her and I WANT to support her. But I'm just telling you what I see. Right now I think she makes a better VP than a President.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I reject all the conspiracy theories out of hand because they are promoted by idiots who are drawing conclusions based on spin derived from rumor, suspicion and half-facts.

I don't think for a moment that Bachmann got into the race to stop Palin. That makes no sense on any level. But it would not surprise me if many people see her as a more palatable alternative to Palin and that they are hoping to use her to sew up the nomination very quickly to keep Palin out.

But at this point, everything is still up in the air, so it would be wrong to make any guesses about who people will support when things get going. I hate to refer to Obama, but look at where he was in 2007 compared to where he ended up. These races depend on many factors and each of the candidates has strengths and weaknesses.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Don't get me started on "voodoo economics" and Republicans attacking the Laugher Curve. I was not a happy camper with many Republicans at that point. And at that point, the country clubbers still held all the keys.

I agree with your assessment about the election. This election will require (above all) a showing of competence -- that people can trust the Republican to do things right and not do anything stupid. Inflammatory rhetoric won't do it and go-along-to-get-along Republicanism won't do it. If there was ever a time for a new Reagan to stand up and say "this is how I plan to fix the country," this is it. I don't know that we've seen that yet in the candidates, but I am optimistic that the group as a whole has some good choice.

And let me stress again (a phrase I'm getting sick of), I'm not ruling Bachmann out. She's got a lot of raw potential and IF she can come up with a great economic plan, I would happily support her. But until that happens, I am concerned for the reasons above.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I couldn't agree more. In truth, I was ready to jump on the Christie bandwagon, but I do like to do my research first. What I found was shocking and it took me all of 5 minutes to start finding the red flags. Before it was over, there were so many red flags it looked like May Day!

And yet, people keep jumping on these bandwagons because they see something on youtube or they hear someone described as "conservative" or "a dream candidate" and they never look into them.

That is exactly how we end up electing somebody who goes on to sell out our views and then we find ourselves wondering where it all went wrong? Well.... look at his record, it's all there!!!!


By the way, let's state the obvious. All candidates have flaws and I'm pointing out some things that are big and some things that are minor. Also, sometimes it's difficult to get a sense of how a person would really be as a President. So this is all just a starting point. But I think we should not ignore the big red flags. And we should NEVER go in blind.

I'm very proud of the fact that Commentarama readers are not doing that. Everyone here has been thoughtful and open minded. So even if we ultimately disagree on nominees, at least we can all say we went in knowingly and we took time to figure out what kind of person we were trying to choose as a leader.

Too many other bloogers/radio hosts/writers can't say that.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I suppose I should add that I also would be able to vote for Bachmann with a clear conscience. But I'd rather do it enthusiastically. There's still plenty of time for her to make some concrete defensible economic plans, and take them to the people. Then, I would be enthusiastic.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree, there is definitely still time. I just hope it's actually concrete and she doesn't use the Newt plan and come up with slogans and "to be determined"s.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, on point 1, I guess that's a reasonable response. Maybe not entirely fair, but I'd have to look into it more myself first.

On 3, those are fair criticisms, but again, I guess that makes it a good thing we have such a long primary season ahead of us in which she can set her plans down better. Better this come up now than six months down the road. Incidentally, if you asked me, I could not give you a detailed economic plan, even if most others here could. Of course, I'm also not running for President, so it's not the same thing.

Also, to be clear, my comments might make it look like I'm shilling for Bachmann. I am not. If I were, I would tell you. I like her a lot--the Religious Right angle matters more to me than it probably does to others here, and the fact that she vocally criticizes Obama so much helps. But mostly, it's that I suspect she's now going to be in this for the long haul, not just as a flash in the pan, and will undoubtedly grow and evolve as a serious candidate. So I do kinda want to throw out possible explanations for her flaws, so we don't get too down on her. Well, I didn't really do that for other candidates because they didn't appeal to me, so I guess I am a little biased, but oh well.

T-Rav said...

By the way, what's a "blooger"? Is that like a blogger that's gotten lodged up your nose or something?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

T-Rav:

Those are some good counter points and the religious right does matter to me a great deal.

I just don't think it's wise to run on the social con issues first and foremost when most folks (including most of the religious right) are mainly concerned about the economy and making a living.

Reagan didn't run on the social con issues as a main feature but the silent majority knew he was pro-life and had impeccable morals that had been tried n' tested.

If Bachmann follows the Reagan template she'll do a lot better I think.
I also wanna say I do like her and I hope she does make her positions more clear on the economy and that it's a sound policy.

For the record, I like Ryan a lot too but I don't think he's ready for President either, if he were to run.
So it's not personal or nothin' what I said about her inexperience.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, You'll be able to give a detailed economic plan once you complete the Commentarama summer course for Presidential candidates! It's only $99 and it's being held in sunny Newark, New Jersey! :-)

I know you're not shilling for Bachmann, I know you've got an open mind. I also know that your concerns lean more heavily to the social conservative spectrum. And there's nothing wrong with favoring candidates. The only question you need to ask is "is this the best person to get done what I want done?"

I see this whole series as a giant conversation where we all talk about strengths, weaknesses, pros and cons. And I'm just glad you're asking questions and raising concerns/comments. I think the only way we will find the best candidate(s) is to question them and to question each other's questions. ... and to watch over time to see if our suspicions are confirmed one way or another.

On having time, that's exactly right. There is time for each of these candidates to prove themselves or trip themselves up. Some people say we should do our primaries in one day across the country. I don't agree with that and this is the reason -- I think we need time to sort out the good from the bad from the appearance of good/bad from the almost there from the never-will-get there. This process allows that.

On point 1, keep in mind too that this is the problems with legislators. They have never had the responsibility for anything, so it is much harder to tell how serious they are about the things they say. Case in point, look at the "pro-life" Democrats who got by for years claiming to be pro-life, but never had to put it to the test because the votes were always lopsided and they could vote the way they wanted without affecting the outcome. Obamacare was their first test and they showed what they really believed -- and it wasn't what they had been saying. You don't get a lot of moments like that with legislators. That makes it hard to separate what they believe from what they say.

So with my point on Bachmann's record, I am splitting hairs and reading tea leaves. But what I see tells me she's not a serious Tea Party believer. I could well be wrong. But I just don't see that she's maintained the philosophy when it mattered.

AndrewPrice said...

Yes, that is exactly what a blooger is! LOL!

T-Rav said...

Ben, it is personal, and I will never speak to you again for the insult you have given me. So there!

No, I'm just kidding, really. I don't have a single candidate I'm rallying around yet, so none of this is personal to me. Or, to put it better, there's only one candidate for president whose success or failure I take personally, and it sure as heck ain't anybody with an (R) next to their name. With that in mind, I actually do agree with you on the tactical argument. People care about the fiscal side of the equation much more than they do about the social side right now, and if that's what it takes to win, so be it. Personally, I'd feel much better having someone who I also know to be pro-life, anti-gay marriage, and so on, but I'd even be happy if they were and just didn't talk about those issues much. So no argument there.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think those are excellent points. First, thinking someone isn't ready to be President does not mean I don't like them or think they aren't perfect for another job. Ryan is a good example. I think he would probably make a good President (though I'm not sure he's ready), BUT I see him as sooooooo much more important in the House creating budgets.

Likewise, while I love Herman Cain, he has yet to show me he's ready for the political aspect of being the President. I'd hand him a governorship or a corporation in a minute, but I'm not sure I would hand him the White House.

With Bachmann, I just need more assurances that she's more than her record appears.

On the religious aspect, I agree. Right now people are worried about the deficit, about jobs, about the economy. Social issues are secondary. Any candidate who plans to make social issues the basis for their campaign will hurt themselves with the public. Unfortunately, activists often demand that candidates make repeated, public assurances that they are 100% on the side of the activists or they get upset. (This is true of other groups too, like gays.)

The truest thing about politics is that quiet and behind the scenes is always better than loud and in public. You can change the world when nobody's looking. But when you're screaming about changing the world, it will never happen.

Finally, let's draw the distinction between "campaigns" and "in office." Just because you downplay something in a campaign doesn't mean you have to ignore it when you are in office.

Patti said...

i'm hearing theories saying she's working for the vp slot, that her role is to split the tea party vote for mitt. hmmmm...

T-Rav said...

Andrew, sounds tempting, but I've been to New Jersey before. PASS.

Just wanted to clear that up. If something really bad comes up about Bachmann, like she supports blanket amnesty or more gun control or hidden taxes, then yeah, that would definitely be a dealbreaker for me and probably everyone else. At this point, I think I disagree with you about her character--I think she's probably Tea Party in sentiment, even if some of her more specific ideas don't exactly line up. And who knows, maybe she thinks these pro-Big Business policies are the best way to advance the Tea Party goals. I'm sure we'll know more in a few months. If she reassures or explains away some of these problems, we can stick to her more firmly; if not, we'll have to drop her. (And I think I'm partly reacting to Pawlenty's campaign partially collapsing, and my desperate wish to have a nominee whose name is not "Mitt Romney.")

And absolutely, what matters in the end is whether she's the most effective person to take on and defeat the Teleprompter-in-Chief, and advance conservatism as President. If not, it's time to look for someone else.

So how does one get a blogger lodged up one's nose, exac...on second thought, forget I asked that. I don't want to know.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, That's an interesting theory, but I'm not sure Mitt's that smart. I guess can watch for signs of it though -- like unexpected difference to Romney?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Are you sure? We'll move the burned out Mercedes before you arrive so you don't have to climb over it! :-)

I share your pain about Pawlenty. He seems to have entered campaign free fall. He's not done yet, but he better do something fast. And if he does fall out, I hope someone at least steals his ideas!

Yeah, Romney... hmmm. Romney/Obama Romney/Obama Rombama.... Rombama.... Ug.

And I agree about your statement about what's ultimately important -- a twofer, (1) getting rid of TOTUS and (2) becoming a good advocate for conservatism. That should be our goal.

On the blooger thing, it has to do with passing out on your laptop and getting keyboard keys up your nose. It's very painful and requires surgery to correct.

T-Rav said...

Actually, I've been hearing the Romney/Bachmann thing before. I don't really think I like that. Although who knows, it might actually be a good way of testing Bachmann. If she's as hard-core Tea Party as she claims to be, then frankly she should be avoiding association with Romney like the plague and distance herself from the idea. But mainly, I don't like that, seeing as how Romney's on it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I heard it once, but dismissed it because I don't see Bachmann doing that and because the people advocating it made it part of a theory that Bachmann is a secret socialist out to blah blah blah.

I'll watch for evidence of it, but I kind of doubt it -- though I definitely got the feeling last time that Huckabee hung around to help McCain.


As an aside, just for the record, when everyone but you is a "secret socialist," there's either something wrong with your definition or your medication isn't working anymore.

StanH said...

To be clear, I would happily vote for Bachmann, or any other Republican nominee, but she has a lot work to be done. Good overview Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan! Well put, and ditto.

I want to see a lot more from her before I would like to see her become the nominee, but in a race between her and Obama... there's no question.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I kind of doubt it too--I'll believe it when I see it--but what's with this dismissing the "secret socialist" theory? I'll have you know I believe firmly in the existence of multiple socialist conspiracies, and I don't even take medication anymore! So there! I'd love to chat more about this, but there are some invisible bugs that have buried themselves in my arm, and I need to go get a knife and cut them out. So I will bid you all a good night.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"On the blooger thing, it has to do with passing out on your laptop and getting keyboard keys up your nose. It's very painful and requires surgery to correct."

Unless you have a boogernomic keyboard, in which case there's no chance of getting blooger tunnel slimedrom.

AndrewPrice said...

Komrade T-Rav,

I'm contractually obligated to dismiss all claims of "secret socialists," "secret communists" and "the cult of the hamburger." :-)

Komrade Price
The Exalted Burger
Order of Secret Socialists

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I'll have to look into these bloogernomic keyboards! That could be very useful in stopping capral tunnel blogger. LOL!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Since Commentarama bloggers and commenterama-ers are near n' dear to my heart I'll be more than happy to supply each and every one with their own, customized bloogernomic keyboard...FREE of charge!

IF! You act NOW!*

*A small shipping, processing and handling fee may apply. Check your loco listings for more details.

Act now while supplies last! You can't afford not
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That's right, friends! You heard right! This will most likely triple the resale value of your bloogernomic keyboard!!

Of course, you won't wanna resell it because these will be most rare!!! Practically an antique before it leaves my workshop!!!

Your relatives and friend will gasp! in Awe! at your very special, one-of-a-kind, cutomized, bloogernomic keyboard!!!

Don't wait! Don't be left out! You won't get another offer like this in your lifetime!!!

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Ed said...

Andrew, I'll be more blunt. I don't want half a conservative, especially if that half if economic. I want someone who can give us full on conservatism in all aspects.

I've heard the Romney/Bachmann thing, but I have no reason to believe it. Bachmann doesn't strike me that way. Romney does, but Bachmann doesn't.

AndrewPrice said...

"Practically antique before it leaves my workshop!" LOL!

Ben, you've been watching too many infomercials!

That said, shouldn't we also get a free Ginsu knife or something like that? ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I guess it all depends on your definition of what a half conservative is, but I agree that we want a candidate who is up to speed on both parts -- economic and social. I would also add foreign policy, but that's not as important.

I could see Romney cutting a deal like that, but I have a hard time seeing Bachmann do it. But we'll see.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Ed, I would also say that the economic part is the easy part -- each type of conservative should in the same ballpark on that. It's the rest that gets tricky.

Ed said...

Andrew, I'm not as worried about foreign policy, but I guess I should be. I can definitely see Romeny cutting a deal like that because it makes sense. As I said, I don't see Bachmann agreeing.

Ed said...

Andrew, You would think the economic part would be easy, but I'm sure it's not because you still have the RINOs who believe that you can tax your way to prosperity.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Ben, you've been watching too many infomercials!"

Actually, I was thinking of Johnny Carson's routines with a modern twist. :^)

"That said, shouldn't we also get a free Ginsu knife or something like that? ;-)"

I'm glad you brought that up, Andrew. For a very small, nominal fee (to cover shipping, shapening and handling n' stuff) I will throw in somethin'' better!

Yes, that's right! The Bensu Navy knife!

Trapped in a poorly stowed mooring line? Not if you have...the Bensu knife!

Need to make a bunch of wooden stakes, pronto? Easy peasy if you have...the Bensu knife!

The Bensu knife is so sharp and so durable it will cut a ginsu knife clean in two, and still slice 'maters paper thin!

Forgot your balanced throwing knives at your annual family reunion knife throwing contest?
No worries if you have...the Bensu knife!*

*Not responsible for inept knife throwers or weird, drunken uncles.

Need to gut that baby seal you just clubbed but the poor quality ginsu won't do the trick?
Eskimos swear by...the Bensu knife!


Ladies, tired of those pesky hangnails?
Then the Bensu knife is for you!
Not only will it make short work of those annoying hangnails, but the never-gets-dull, space-age, copywrited edge will slice n' dice (or pare n' tear bread if you use the other side), chocolate, veggies, meat and even jello!

Yes, you can finally throw away all your kitchen knives because you only need one knife...the Bensu!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I know that foreign policy isn't sexy and doesn't get most Americans paying attention, but it can be unbelievably important. Consider that under Obama's indifferent leadership, China has taken over vast stretches of Africa and apparently is about to buy part of Europe to "save" the Euro. At the same time, South America is drifting to the nasty left one country at a time. They're playing brinksmanship games in Asia over the Spratley Islands, which could well bring us into the fray. These are all things that could blow up severely on us in terms of lives and money. We can't just neglect the world.

Yeah, RINOs are funny that way. I honestly don't understand for a moment how they can believe that garbage. It's completely anti-common sense and everything else... but that's never stopped people before.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Now that's the spirit! Very, very funny! :-)

Man, I haven't thought about Carson in years. I used to watch him a good deal when I was young, but stopped when I got older. I never did take to Leno or Letterman (or the rest). He was a class act.

T-Rav said...

I wanna Bensu knife! These bugs aren't gonna cut themselves out of my arms!...

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, LOL! Probably true! ;-)

Whenever someone mentions that, I always think of the film Outland where the guy sees spiders all over his spacesuit and ends up cutting open his suit. Stay off drugs kids.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

LOL! Okay T-Rav! Just remember that after you cut the bugs out you can still slice tomatoes paper thin! :^)

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