December 31, 2011
The Case for the Lady with the Titanium SpineBy Chidike Okeem
When Michele Bachmann announced her candidacy for the presidency of the United States, she skyrocketed to the top of the Republican pack as the conservative specially anointed to be the anti-Romney candidate. Since then, other candidates emerged, rose, fell, and dropped out. However, despite all these tumultuous political changes, Michele Bachmann has steadfastly remained as the true consistent conservative -- one who can intellectually take the fight to Obama and represent the right in both rhetoric and record.
It is important to note that Bachmann has a life story with which Americans can identify. Unlike the pampered patrician Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann did not grow up in a household with excessive wealth. In her book Core of Conviction, Bachmann highlights her working-class upbringing and details how she learned frugality through experiencing financial hardship.
Having a candidate with a background that Americans can identify with is incredibly important, particularly at a time of serious economic malaise. A candidate like Romney who nonchalantly bets $10,000 over a line in a book is, frankly, the worst candidate to run in this political environment. Romney as the Republican nominee would be effortlessly presented as the personification of the "one percent" -- this is a narrative that cannot be successfully pulled off with Michele Bachmann.
Due to the fact that polls show that Obama is unpopular in both his agenda and leadership style, the GOP needs to nominate someone who is his diametric opposite. Frankly, no Republican candidate is more different to Obama than Michele Bachmann.
Is Michele Bachmann anathema to liberals and independents?
The idea that independent voters are most drawn by liberalism is glaringly ridiculous. If independent voters were liberals, they would simply register and vote Democratic. Independent voters are looking to be drawn by persuasion, argumentation, and charisma. Independents are ideologically fluid. Bachmann is not only an exceptional orator, but she is a strong conservative and three-term congresswoman from the state that Senator Al Franken represents. To dismiss her appeal to independents would be nothing short of imprudent. The fact that Bachmann has an ability to appeal to liberals and independents without reducing her conservatism is one of the main reasons she should be the Republican nominee for the presidency.
Amusingly, there are some Republicans who flippantly denounce Michele Bachmann as being too right-wing to be elected president of the United States. Evidently, these cheerleaders for political moderation do not bother to read the opinions of moderates, liberals, and non-conservatives, because doing so presents a picture that is starkly different to the idea that Bachmann has no appeal beyond her base.
After the last Iowa debate, leftist MSNBC panelists, including the president of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, lavishly praised Michele Bachmann's effective argumentation against Newt Gingrich. They pointed out that she won her exchanges with the former Speaker of the House.
Meghan McCain, who previously wrote the Minnesota congresswoman off as a poor-man's Sarah Palin, retracted her derogatory remarks about Bachmann after interviewing her. In an unanticipated and startling change of mind, she now approvingly refers to Bachmann as "the thinking man's Sarah Palin." She also noted that she connected with Michele Bachmann as an individual.
Additionally, after the penultimate Iowa debate before January 3rd, the New York Times favorably reported that Michele Bachmann's argumentation against Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney was "sharp and relentlessly focused."
Similarly, the left-leaning Huffington Post ran a column enthusiastically referring to Michele Bachmann as an "incredibly eloquent debater and sharp thinker" who would be incredibly effective in taking on Barack Obama in a debate.
When overtly liberal outlets are praising Bachmann's intellect and argumentation -- particularly without having any political reasons to do so -- it belies the hogwash about Bachmann having no appeal beyond her base. It is preposterous to keep repeating the demonstrably false narrative about Bachmann only appealing to conservatives, especially when liberals have been consistently noting her political sublimity during this campaign.
Unsurprisingly, even Newt Gingrich, who is hailed as the greatest intellect in the Republican field, has noticeable difficulty handling Bachmann in a debate. While Gingrich effortlessly swats away invalid arguments offered by Mitt Romney, he is reduced to desperately asserting, "That's simply incorrect!" whenever Bachmann presents her impeccable and ferocious arguments against the progressive points on his excessively long political resume. Obama would be reduced to dust in a debate with Bachmann, given the fact that, to quote Tom Wilson at the liberal Huffington Post, she has "an ability to keep her opponents on the defensive with an adversarial manner that none of the other candidates seem quite capable of." It is appalling that liberal outlets can acknowledge this fact, but willfully blind establishment Republicans are still pushing disasters like Romney and Gingrich.
Those who irrationally adhere to the model that anything from liberal outlets must be 100% wrong 100% of the time will inevitably be searching for a way to discount these opinions. However, it is impossible to dismiss these positive comments from left-wingers as merely a result of Bachmann truckling to liberals or embracing their absurdist positions. While the officiously professorial Newt Gingrich and the opportunistically oleaginous Mitt Romney only receive liberal respect when they succumb to the left's political positions, Michele Bachmann can stand her ground as a solid conservative and still receive praise from liberals and independents. The praise Bachmann is receiving is simply an outgrowth of her immense talent and political appeal.
Republicans who dismiss Bachmann as too conservative to win a general election demonstrate two things. Firstly, they demonstrate their belief in the remarkably risible proposition that independent voters are liberals too afraid (or too stupid) to register as Democrats, and, secondly, they demonstrate that they are not certain that conservatism is a more palatable ideology than liberalism. People who articulate this counterfactual talking point against Bachmann are evincing more about themselves than they are about Bachmann's political viability.
If the 2012 election isn't ideological, Obama will win reelection
One of the fundamental issues in 2012 will undoubtedly be ObamaCare and the individual mandate. Voting for either Gingrich or Romney flushes that issue down the toilet as a point against Obama. All Obama needs to argue during the debates when this is raised as an issue is: "You did it, too!" Why conservatives would willingly play with fire like this by giving Obama the easiest counterargument to one of the most important points to raise in a campaign against him is beyond me. Michele Bachmann -- as someone who fought ObamaCare from the beginning -- is the only person who can unflinchingly present the conservative case against Obama's statism. Romney and Gingrich simply cannot without being exposed as hypocrites.
This election should be about conservatism versus liberalism. If Republicans nominate Romney or Gingrich, they will successfully hand Obama a get-out-of-jail-free card, as the important ideological debate would be removed from the focus, and Obama's cultural status as the first black president will be too much for a Republican to overcome.
If the 2012 election is primarily an ideological debate, the conservative Republican will win. If ideology is removed by running two progressives in two different parties with very similar positions on key issues, Obama will invalidate the Republican candidate's attempt to posture as a conservative by pointing out their hypocrisy, and, sadly, Obama will win on charisma and cultural status.
As the Republican candidate, Michele Bachmann will ensure that the debate remains ideological. If Romney or Gingrich win the nomination, the ideological debate will disappear and the narrative that will decide the election will be "first black president versus rich, old white man." If Obama succeeds in wiping ideology off the table while putting race and cultural status on the table, he will win in a landslide.
Michele Bachmann is the conservative answer
Contrary to the narrative that followed Bachmann prior to her arrival in the Republican race, the former federal tax lawyer has demonstrated that she is the cleverest GOP candidate running for president of the United States. It is a ghastly shame that even liberals in the mainstream media are noticing this fact before allegedly conservative Republicans.
Republicans who keep repeating the bizarre talking point suggesting that there is nobody with political principles similar to Reagan running in the Republican field are willfully deluding themselves so they can avoid Bachmann and continue their political relationships with their deeply flawed candidates. It is time conservatives get serious and throw their support behind the lady with the core of conviction and a titanium spine. America needs a strong conservative to clean up the mess that Obama has created. Manifestly, Michele Bachmann is that conservative.
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