It is a commentary on our times that President Obama’s State of the Union address merited two responses. The official Republican response was given by Congressman Paul Ryan. The Tea Party response was given by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.
As was appropriate for the Tea Party, Congresswoman Bachmann was direct and to the point. The President who had just given the State of the Union Address is leading the country into ruin.
“Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent. In 2008 it was at 6.6 percent. But, just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1 percent.
“Today, unemployment is at 9.4 percent with about 400,000 new claims every week.
“After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the $410 billion spending bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have.
“But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.”
This was not so much a response to the State of the Union address than an indictment of the Obama administration and its policies for the past two years. It was bluntly delivered, without any recourse to nice or “civil” language. And it was factual, something one cannot say about the President’s speech.
Bachmann’s speech was also much more in keeping with the times in which we live than was the President’s State of the Union Address. Most Americans have concluded that government spending and not the lack of “green jobs” or “high speed rail.” There was, after all, an election in 2010 that turned upon that very belief.
Michelle Bachmann’s speech was not all wailing and gnashing of teeth about the deficit and the encroachment of big government. She did have some helpful suggestions, delivered perhaps in a kind of back-handed way.
“The President could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.
“The President could support a Balanced Budget Amendment.
“The President could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
“The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.
“And, the President should repeal ObamaCare and support free market solutions like medical malpractice reform and allow all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.”
Bachmann is the leader of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, a somewhat small but feisty group of people who have aligned themselves with the political movement that swept the country starting in the early days of the Obama administration. Her policy proposals are more in keeping with the “leave us alone!” stance that the Tea Party has advanced with such success during the past two years. They recognize the fact that the year is 2011 and not 1933 or 1965.
There is some talk, no doubt encouraged by Bachmann and her supporters, that the Congresswoman might have higher ambitions than being a member of the House. Amy Klobuchar’s Senate seat is up in 2012. Bachmann might want to wait until the irrepressible Al Franken has to face the voters in 2014, however.
There has even been talk of a run for President. Unless Sarah Palin declines to run next year, that may be unlikely. There is room for only one Mama Grizzly in the list of Republicans who will be running next year. However the buzz, like the response, will certainly raise Michelle Bachman’s profile to the benefit of her long term political aspirations.
Source: Bachmann’s Response to State of the Union, Michelle Bachman, CNN, Janaury 25th, 2011