Michele Bachmann on Principles & Values
Republican Representative (MN-6); 2011 GOP frontrunner
My campaign plan is simple: I am going to say true things. Here's what I think, in four parts:
As Ronald Reagan always liked to say, he didn't leave the Democratic Party--the Democratic Party left him. Now I too knew the feeling.
Indeed, during the late seventies, Marcus and I grew increasingly attracted to Reagan and his conservative philosophy. We loved it when he said that Americans wanted a conservatism of bright colors, not pale pastels--we sure did. That is, we wanted someone who would unabashedly take the fight directly to the economic declinists, the foreign policy defeatists, and the anti-family relativists who seemed at the time to dominate both parties. Republicans of the "me-too" persuasion held no appeal to us. We wanted a GOP that would fight to make real change. So we liked Reagan.
I received over 60% of the vote! So I had just become the officially endorsed Republican candidate; the longtime incumbent had lost the mandate of Republicans in his district. The senator, a sheaf of papers in his hand, then tried to disqualify the balloting. This was grassroots politics at its rootsiest--the people had spoken. Decisively.
In that auditorium, I had become an accidental politician. I hadn't planned on going to the convention, hadn't planned on running for anything, hadn't planned on speaking--and certainly hadn't planned on winning. And yet there I was.
The economic impact on the rest of us was immediate. Overnight, we literally fell below the poverty level. Mom had been a full-time homemaker; now, all of a sudden, she had to go out and find a job. Sadly, she had few marketable skills.
But she was willing to work, and work hard. We qualified for welfare, but Mom wouldn't think of it. She did not consider herself a political conservative; she just didn't see us as poor enough to take government help. She knew she could get a job. And so even if we were barely getting by, she was sure she wasn't going to rely on the government to provide for us.
Our hosts would wake us up at 4 AM, put us on a flatbed truck pulled by an old tractor, then, drive us out to the cotton fields. Armed soldiers provided an escort; before we began working, they scouted the fields for land mines. For us Americans, this was an eye-opening adventure.
Our work involved mostly pulling weeds from the fields. We would work until noon, then ride back to the communal kitchen; then we'd go to sleep. In the afternoons and evenings, we'd study the Bible, maybe learn a few words of Hebrew.
It was hard work--sunburn, blisters, sore joints--but it was a wonderful experience. After that, we traveled to Jerusalem. I felt closer not only to Jesus but also to all the great figures of the Gospel.
As we walked back to campus that day--the day we had first met--the kids in the playground started humming a familiar tune: "dum-dum-de-dum"; the tune that everybody plays at weddings as the bride comes down the aisle. Marcus and I knew the kids were just teasing, yet we were both embarrassed, which, of course, is what the kids intended! But later we were reminded that sometimes, out of the mouths of babes comes great wisdom. Those kids knew that something magical was happening long before Marcus or I. Yet one thing we both knew immediately was that we could be friends. We could chat easily, we had similar interests--notably, children and how to raise them--and we both shared a living faith.
These immortals had no idea that there would ever be a state called Minnesota, or that people with names such as Amble and Bachmann would be coming to the United States to find a better life. Nevertheless, the founders had been willing to put everything--their lives, liberty, and sacred honor--on the line for us, for all of us. Indeed, the nation had prospered, just as they had envisioned. And this was the thanks they got?
Indeed, I realized, a snide dismissiveness toward American history and American institutions had become the essence and thinking of the chattering-class gatekeepers of the culture.
I later learned that some thirty million Americans suffer from migraines, about three-fourths of them women--and that migraine incidence in women spikes after the change of life. At the time, I thought to myself, "Welcome to the club, Michele." And while I am reluctant to cite sexism as a political issue, sexism certainly can exist. Many years later, when migraines briefly became a campaign issue for me, it appeared that political foes were maybe playing the gender card. After all, at one time or another, all of us, both men and women, suffer pain and get sick.
"The American people are speaking out loud and clear. They have had enough of the spending, the bureaucracy, and the government knows best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress. This caucus will espouse the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold. The American people are doing their part and making their voices heard and this caucus will prove that there are some here in Washington willing to listen.
He Democrats and their media allies mocked Republicans and Tea Partiers. They painted us as toothless hillbillies coming down from the hills, wearing red-white-and-blue bib overalls. But I could see that despite these attacks--and maybe, in fact, because of these attacks--we were winning.
ROMNEY: Pres. Obama takes his political inspiration from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn't working in Europe. It's not going to work here.
BACHMANN: Thomas Jefferson stated it best: the US government should not be a state church. That's really the fundamental separation of church and state. When Jefferson was asked whether the US would have a national church, he said no, because we believe in freedom of conscience, we believe in freedom of religious liberty, and expression, and speech. That's a foundational principle. But that doesn't mean that we aren't people of faith, and that people of faith shouldn't be allowed to exercise religious liberty in the public square. Of course we should be able to [publicly] exercise our faith. Whether that expression occurs in a public school or occurs in a public building, we should be able to have freedom for all people to express our belief in God.
A: We can start to see recovery within three months, not the whole recovery, but we can begin to see it, if we put into place what we know to be true. We should not have increased the debt ceiling. I was leading on the issue of no increasing the debt ceiling. That turned out to be the right answer. And this is part of the movement that we're seeing all across the country. I've been leading that movement. I've been giving it voice. And it's not just Republicans. It's disaffected Democrats. It's independents. It's libertarians all coming together, apolitical people, because [in the Iowa Straw Poll], we get to send a message to Barack Obama. And the message is this: You are finished in 2012, and you will be a one-term president.
A: As chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, I know how positive an influence the Tea Party has been. They've held congress to account. Despite media misrepresentations the Tea Party represents all Americans; disaffected Democrats, independents, libertarians, and the GOP. The Tea Party will lead the fight to restore limited government, repeal Obamacare, lower spending & cut taxes.
SANTORUM: Not at all. I think the Tea Party is a great backstop for America. It is absolutely essential that we have that backbone to the Republican Party going into this election.
Q: [to Bachmann]: Does the influence of the Tea Party push out mainstream Republicans?
BACHMANN: I'm the chairman of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. And what I've seen is unlike how the media has tried to wrongly and grossly portray the Tea Party, the Tea Party is really made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life. People who are libertarians, or Republicans. It's a wide swath of America coming together. I think that's why the left fears it so much. Because they're people who simply want to take the country back. They want the country to work again.
Bachmann's "dark horse" candidacy will make it even more intriguing. She would be the first sitting House member to win the Presidency in over 100 years, the first since James Garfield.
There is a huge enthusiasm gap between Michele Bachmann and the rest of the candidates. People might like Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, or others, but will the voters feel like they must vote for them? Sarah Palin could match Bachmann in the enthusiasm area, but she will not be in the race.
Bachmann's only real competitor in enthusiasm will be from Ron Paul, but his supporters are somewhat segregated from the rest of the GOP. Bachmann has the charisma to attract the enthusiastic crowd, and the turnout from that crowd will help her win in the primaries.
Bachmann's evangelical credibility comes from her early years as a pro-life activist and position against gay marriage. Also, in addition to raising a family, Bachmann and her family have taken care of many foster children.
So Bachmann has not just talked the evangelical talk, she has walked the evangelical walk. Without any other top-tier candidate with evangelical credibility, Bachmann will capture the biggest slice of the evangelical votes.
The Tea Party movement is a populist conservative social movement in the United States that emerged in 2009 through a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the stimulus package; te healthcare bill; and the TARP bailouts. The name "Tea Party" refers to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, the source of the phrase, "No Taxation Without Representation."
Scoring system for 2014: Ranges from 0% (opposed to separation of church & state) to 100% (supports separation of church & state).
About the AU (from their website, www.au.org):Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a religious liberty watchdog group. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. AU is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.
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