By Lynn WoolleyNow that Michele Bachmann has won the Iowa Straw Poll, the mainstream media is quick to point out that she is unelectable. CNN’s Candy Crowley, on State of the Union, badgered Congresswoman Bachmann about how she might “move to the middle” and work with Democrats in Congress. On the Sunday panels, there was discussion of how the Republican Establishment might work behind the scenes to discredit her if she continues to do well.
August 14, 2011
This begs the question: Where is it written that candidates must lie in order to compete in the general election? Wouldn’t it be refreshing if both of the candidates who emerge – President Obama and (at this point) Bachmann, Perry or Romney remained true to their core values?
President Obama has already pivoted. This most-liberal of presidents, who asked for a “clean” debt ceiling bill, is now positioning himself as the great compromiser. The president who gave us a $787 billion stimulus, designed not for shovel-ready projects but to fulfill the wildest dreams of the appropriator class, would now have us believe he is a deficit hawk.
Mr. Obama is simply not himself these days. His political base, typified by the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman of the New York Times, would like to see more stimulus. But he just can’t do that right now because it wouldn’t be “bi-partisan” and wouldn’t appeal to the center.
However, Mr. Obama’s agenda has never been about compromise:
- His stimulus actually stimulated government.
- He passed his healthcare bill with no Republican votes.
- He campaigns on higher taxes for the rich and wealth redistribution.
Even his call for more taxes is disguised as a call for “revenue” and a “balanced” approach. He cannot utter the word “taxes.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Bachmann is taking shots from both sides of the aisle about her uncompromising conservatism. Her agenda is unabashedly conservative, and that works in the primary. But the powers-that-be are scared to death that she won’t move to the middle if nominated.
Governor Rick Parry might not either. He’s worked hard to establish conservative credentials to overcome some not-so-conservative items on his record:
- Hate crimes bills are anathema to conservatives. Perry signed one.
- Perry instigated a gargantuan land-grab known as the Trans-Texas Corridor. Give him points for trying to deal with transportation in a big state, but take them back for the sheer size of it.
- He attempted to force more government into people’s lives with his cervical cancer vaccine mandate.
- He supported and signed the nation’s first law allowing in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
- Perry put a sanctuary cities bill on the Special Session agenda, but did little to push it through after two top contributors – Charles Butt of HEB and builder Bob Perry – protested.
Is Perry being honest about who he is? If he’s really the fire-in-the-belly conservative that he’s trying to be, how does he explain the more progressive parts of his record? And if he gets the nomination, how will he position himself and what are we supposed to believe?
If GOP big-shots want a candidate that can change his tune from primary to general election – AND who’s next in line, they’ve got Mitt Romney. Romney presided over the prototype for the “Affordable Healthcare Act.” Now he says he’d work to abolish it. That’s the kind of flexibility the Republican National Committee seems to like.
What about honesty and core values?
Ronald Reagan was not shy about being a conservative. He told us: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Reagan is the answer to the question “can a conservative win?”
Michele Bachmann may not have executive experience. She isn’t next in line. She’s not one of the boys. But she is who she is and it is doubtful that she will try to fool us into thinking she’s not.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based talk show host. Contact him at email@example.com.