Running against Bush

Rubber-stamp Bachmann?

May 11th, 2006 – 6:16 PM by Eric Black

Fellow Seekers,

Apologies again for the infrequent posts this week. (Euphemism alert: “Infrequent”=none this week till today.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee organized a conference call this morning to attack state Sen. Michele Bachmann as a “rubber stamp” for the Bush Administration.

The attack seemed a bit off point. Bachmann is to the right of Bush on a number of issues. While Bush is trying to make his 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts permanent, Bachmann favors doing away with the income tax entirely and replacing it with a consumption tax.

While Bush still promotes No Child Left Behind, a significant increase in federal control over local school districts, Bachmann wants to get the federal government out of the education business. When I asked her a couple of months ago what she would do reduce federal spending, she said she’d get rid of the Education Department and all federal education spending.

Bachmann also said she is open to the idea of the U.S. pulling out of the U.N. and “wouldn’t shed a tear” if the U.N. moved from New York to Amsterdam. I don’t believe that’s Bush’s position.

So it was interesting hear Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, speaking for the DCCC, portraying Bachmann as a Bush clone.

“Voters who are looking for a change of direction in Congress won’t get it from Michele Bachmann,” Van Hollen said. “Her record shows she’s in lockstep with the Bush Administration…She will be a rubber stamp.”

It’s true that Van Hollen described Bachmann as “out of the mainstream,” a theme the DCCC had started developing a few nanoseconds after Bachmann got the GOP endorsement, but he seemed to be specifically asserting that she is no more out of the mainstream than Bush.

You don’t have to be a genius to see how determined the Dems are to nationalize the race and morph every Republican candidate into Bush.

Likewise, when Democrats speak this year, listen for the word “change.” It’s reminiscent of Reagan’s famous “are-you-better-off-now-than-you-were-four-years-ago” gambit. As the work of this blog has required me to read a great many messages from the Amy Klobuchar campaign very carefully, I started to notice how this me-change, you-same rhetoric creeps into most things.

When I interviewed her in March at length about her Iraq position and how it contrasts with Mark Kennedy’s, she used variations “he wants to stay the course; I want to change the course” at least six times.

With roughly 100 percent of Americans (okay, I exagerate, but only slightly) telling pollsters that the country is on the wrong track, the Democratic theme will be to associate every Republican, on issue after issue, with a continuation of what we have now.

And with Bush’s approval rating scraping 30 percent, the DCCC will run against Bachmann by running against Bush, even in the Minnesota Sixth District, in which Bush beat Kerry by 57-43.

38 Responses to "

Running against Bush

Rubber-stamp Bachmann?"

Paul Schersten says:

May 12th, 2006 at 9:23 am

I wish the candidates would talk to us as if we were not children. I mean just for once, as a little experiment, even if it’s not true. That would be great. In fact even if we are children, I’ve found that the best way to address a group of tots, in kindergarten or even pre-school, is to address them respectfully. As peers.
I remember explaining a guitar “open tuning” to a pre-school one day. They may well have had no idea what I was talking about but they tried to! It was heartwarming to see their rapt little uncomprehending faces as I went on and on about the benefits of the technique. At that moment, I was a wise man, an oracle, something of a god – but a god who took them seriously and respected them. They liked that.

I would think any candidate identified as a god who takes people seriously would poll well.

Justin says:

May 12th, 2006 at 10:27 am

I am tired of being treated like a child too. What I’ve found is that if you want something done right, you pretty much have to do it yourself.

Tip O’Neal once said “all politics are local”, and I for one think he knew what he was talking about. As such, I think it is a big mistake to try and paint every Republican as a Bush clone.

Factually speaking, in terms of policy, Sen. Bachmann is very far to the right of Mr. Bush. I agree with Eric that the quote provided from the DCCC misses the mark. Politics and policy aren’t always the same, though. Michelle does seems to have fully adopted the Rovian measures that were so sucessful for Mr. Bush, and so far, they haven’t let her down.

Appealing to the electorate’s fear of the unknown, in this case homosexuals and religious minorities, has worked for a very long time. Appealing to greed by sending voters a check a month or two before the election doesn’t hurt either.

Of course, with no real opposition and a consitantly winning record, it is hard to fault the GOP for doing what has worked for them.

On second thought, maybe I wish that more of us (voters) would act like grown-ups and demand the respect we deserve. Then again, we have to chose one of the two people condiscending to us, don’t we.

I wish I had time to get into the income tax / sales tax policy question just now. Maybe on my lunch break.

Paul Schersten says:

May 12th, 2006 at 11:13 am

I assume these people whgo support Bachmann so enthusiastically don’t see their views as resulting from “fear of the unknown.” It’d be interesting to see and hear how they think about things. I really have almost no idea.

Justin says:

May 12th, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Clearly. I would guess that they’d identify as either republicans by birth or classic single-issue (abortion) voters. I also think Bachmann is willing to take a stand, show political courage, not unlike Wellstone was, and I think that helped a lot with her endorsement.

Justin says:

May 12th, 2006 at 1:20 pm

However. I think that it will cost her the general election to be so far right, even in the 6th. I think either of the more soft-spoken pro-lifers would have done better. But I don’t have a crystal ball or anything.

Justin says:

May 13th, 2006 at 1:54 am

I have three points on the sales or “consumption” tax issue.

First off, as with the flat tax, you cannot raise enough revenue to fund the programs we have now with a consumption tax. It would have to be astronomically high, say 50%, and it would destroy demand for products.

Second, it’s an even worse idea than Forbes’ because it only taxes income that people can’t afford to save.

A 50% consumption tax would be the equivilent of, in some cases, a less than 1% income tax, becuase the very rich can afford to invest and save.

At the same time, average Americans actually increase their debt each year, meaning they spend virtually all (and then some) of their income. So the average american then pays a 50% income tax.

This in spite of the fact that much of their fabulous wealth could not have been realized without public goods like roads and educated people.

Economic support for a state should come from those who enjoy its economic benefits. Michelle Bachmann should read The Wealth of Nations.

Marion Warling says:

June 22nd, 2006 at 10:12 pm

This is toward Michelle Bachmann and her fellow hypocrites.

Mz. Bachmann

I understand that you are a true believer in that the Bible is the true and LITTERAL WORD of GOD.

I understand that you are running for Congress.

I understand that you pick a choose the parts of the Bible you agree with.

I suggest you read Paul’s first Epistle to Timothy.

King James version.

Chapter Two

vs. 11: Let a woman learn in silence with all subjection.

vs. 12: Bit I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.


By this, know also that you are not to vote.

You are not to teach or lead in any school or anywhere there are men in attendance.

If you are a woman and wear colorful clothing or jewelry, you may also want to read vs. 9-10.

Remember for you these are His LITERAL uncompromising words.

If you truly believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. You cannot run for any office in which you would have power over any man.

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