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 wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get it from Michele Bachmann,” Van Hollen said. “Her record shows sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.