The charis­matic Michele Bach­mann

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

So there are two. Two pul­chri­tudi­nous ones, that is. Michele Bach­mann and Sarah Palin are very beau­ti­ful, and the fem­i­nists ask us, “So what?” Well, they never say “so what” when an at­trac­tive male, usu­ally a Demo­crat, comes on stage. They call him charis­matic. Mrs. Bach­mann and Mrs. Palin are suf­fi­ciently charis­matic for me, and both have raised fam­i­lies. Mrs. Bach­mann had five chil­dren of her own and 23 fos­ter chil­dren be­fore en­ter­ing pub­lic life. That is the proper se­quence of events: Raise a fam­ily, en­ter pub­lic life.

Now Mrs. Bach­mann has en­tered pub­lic life in a big way. She de­clared her can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent on June 13 at the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial de­bate in New Hamp­shire. Her an­swers were crisp and per­sua­sive. She is strong on so­cial and eco­nomic is­sues and also on in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity mat­ters. Rather bril­liantly, she sug­gested her ex­per­tise by draw­ing on her ex­pe­ri­ence on con­gres­sional com­mit­tees, namely in­tel­li­gence and fi­nan­cial over­sight com­mit­tees. She is a Tea Par­tyer and a so­cial con­ser­va­tive. In the cam­paign, both ar­eas need ad­dress­ing.

But what caught my eye was an an­swer she gave to Stephen Moore in a re­cent Wall Street Jour­nal in­ter­view. Ex­plain­ing how she voted for Paul Ryan’s bud­get, she said she did so “with an as­ter­isk” be­cause the “as­ter­isk is that we’ve got a huge mes­sag­ing prob­lem [on Medi­care]. It needs to be called the 55-and-Un­der Plan. I can’t tell you the num­ber of 78-year- old women who think we’re go­ing to pull the rug out from un­der them.” Mrs. Bach­mann has faced up to the Democrats’ gaudy lie that peo­ple age 56 and older are fac­ing Medi­care cuts with the Ryan plan. They are not — not with the Ryan bud­get. With the Oba­macare plan we are all fac­ing the eclipse of Medi­care. Medi­care will be slashed for ev­ery­one very soon, and that is writ­ten into the pres­i­dent’s pol­icy. Bet­ter it is to note that Mr. Ryan’s re­form gives us plenty of time to fix the sys­tem be­fore the un­der 55-year-olds en­ter the de­pleted pol­icy and are faced with the cuts that even the older se­niors now face.

Know­ing how to pack­age pro­pos­als is very im­por­tant to re­form, and one way or the other, the coun­try faces re­form of its en­ti­tle­ment pro­grams. Let the Democrats whis­tle in the dark. Some Repub­li­cans are of­fer­ing al­ter­na­tives to na­tional bank­ruptcy.

In her in­ter­view with the Wall Street Jour­nal, Mrs. Bach­mann ex­plained that she is versed in the econ­o­mists: Wal­ter Wil­liams, Thomas Sow­ell, Lud­wig von Mises and Mil­ton Fried­man. You can­not get much bet­ter than that, and I saved Fried­man for last. He was the mas­ter in un­der­stand­ing the mod­ern econ­omy.

The lib­er­als have, like a vast shoal of squid, spread an inky cloud over the fi­nan­cial melt­down. Mrs. Bach­mann dis­pels the dark­ness re­gard­ing its ori­gins. Says she, “There were a lot of bad ac­tors in­volved, but it started with the Com­mu­nity Rein­vest­ment Act un­der Jimmy Carter and then the en­hanced amend­ments that Bill Clin­ton made to force, in ef­fect, banks to make loans to peo­ple who lacked cred­it­wor­thi­ness. If you want to come down to a bot­tom line of ‘How did we get in this mess?’ I think it was a re­duc­tion in stan­dards.” Then she goes on to say, “Be­ing on the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, I can as­sure you, all roads lead to Fred­die and Fan­nie,” the mort­gage len­ders, and off she goes talk­ing about con­sti­tu­tional lim­its. She has a Tea Par­tyer’s proper concern for the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The other night, it is said, no one re­ally stood out. I dis­agree. The pul­chri­tudi­nous Michele Bach­mann stole the show. She was charis­matic and elo­quent. She got the most at­ten­tion and she had only been in the race a few min­utes. Give her a few more de­bates and we shall see just how ready she is for a na­tional run.

R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and edi­tor in chief of the Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor and an ad­junct scholar at the Hud­son In­sti­tute. His new book is “Af­ter the Hang­over: The Con­ser­va­tives’ Road to Re­cov­ery” (Thomas Nel­son, 2010).

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