Posts Tagged ‘Michele Bachmann’

She’s No Lady, She’s a Member of Congress

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I couldn’t let any more time pass before the Truth Detector comments on the bruhaha from last week’s joint radio appearance by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R –  Minnesota) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D – Pennsylvania) in Pennsylvania.

As you may recall, Specter was a moderate Republican Senator until after the 2008 election that swept Barack H. Obama and a near filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats in the Senate. Specter’s re-election was coming up in 2010, and, seemingly reading the tea leaves at the time, he decided to change parties with the hopes of grabbing a plumb committee chairmanship while increasing his chances of re-election.

But how quickly the political winds change. Merely a year later, Democratic fortunes have reversed, and Specter, who historically gets re-elected by comfortable margins, is in the re-election fight of his life. Last week’s radio appearance with Bachmann may not have helped his chances.

Bachmann and Specter were vigorously debating the Democrats’ health care proposal. Specter asked Bachmann what she voted in favor of. When Bachmann answered in generalities, without naming a specific bill, Specter was not satisfied. The moderator called on Specter to respond, while Bachmann continued to press her point. Specter, frustrated by being interrupted, told Bachmann to “act like a lady.” “I’m treating you like a lady, so act like one.”

Bachmann later said she felt like she was being treated like a child.

 While Bachmann is no stranger to fallout from making erratic statements, the political fallout this time, fair or unfair, will fall on Specter. Specter has since apologized directly to Bachmann, which may limit the political fallout as far as he’s concerned. Let’s face it. Specter’s comments had shades of sexism. Had he been paired with a Congressman (Mike) Pence, a Congressman (Jeff) Flake, a Congressman (John) Kline or any other male member of Congress, does anyone believe Specter would have asked any of them to “act like a gentleman”?

Now, whenever two or more politicians are gathered in one place and asked to express their opinions, interruptions can be expected. But whether Specter realized it at the time, his insinuation that Bachmann is not a lady has a ring of truth to it. I’ve written on this blog before about people close to me who have been trampled on by Bachmann’s stilettos. Figuratively, of course, but the fact is Bachmann is capable of being downright rude and tacky, especially when it comes to promoting her own political  career. (BTW, if she were a man, I would give the words, “rude”, “tacky” or even “ungentlemanly” equal time here.)

So while the Truth Detector says Specter couldn’t have said what he said to a more deserving person, the Truth Detector also says whatever political fallout Specter suffers because of it also couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. He may pay the ultimate price for switching parties out of political opportunism this November. Because of his comments last week, female voters in Pennsylvania just might make sure of it.

When Will They Ever Learn?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

On July 25, 2009, I wrote a post regarding Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s position on the census, and how her position was misrepresented by Senator Amy Klobuchar and some in the mainstream media. Well, if WCCO TV news anchor Esme Murphy were an East Central Truth Detector reader, maybe she wouldn’t have posted this blog that is so factually inaccurate it, well, it corroborates everything we already know about the mainstream media and its so-called “objective” journalists.

The result of Ms. Murphy’s haste to get some humorous irony out there, is that the reader can’t even get past the headline without out being hit between the eyes with a blatant falsehood. The headline, “Bachmann’s Seat Threatened After Census Remarks” reveals left-leaning media hacks almost wetting their pants with excitement before they can blurt out, “It serves her right.” The premise, of course is that if Minnesota loses a congressional seat because of too few people being counted, it could very well be Bachmann’s 6th district that will be eliminated.

Unfortunately, the premise behind the headline is not rooted in fact. Congresswoman Bachmann has never said that she refuses to be counted. In the media’s haste to bash Bachmann, they link her concerns about the invasive questions regarding income commute times, race and home ownership with the possibility of Minnesota losing a congressional seat. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here, in part, is my e-mail to Esme Murphy. I’ll post again if I get a response:

Did you or anyone in your newsroom bother to do any research before you posted “Bachmann’s Seat Threatened after Census Remarks”?
There is nothing about Michele Bachmann’s position on the census that threatens the loss of a congressional district in Minnesota. Not one iota. Bachmann is willing to be counted, with her household.   An accurate count of residents is all that is needed for congressional apportionment. 
Her objection is the questions in the census form that ask residents to provide information that should be none of the federal government’s business. The federal government doesn’t need to know our income, our race, how far we drive to work or whether we own the home we live in.
I know that you probably avoid having to use the bankrupt newspaper in Minneapolis as a reference, but  the Star Tribune did one article on this issue back in June that was fairly accurate. Here is the quote attributed to Bachmann in the article:
“I’m saying, for myself and my family, our comfort level is we will comply with the Constitution Article I Section II,” Bachmann told a Fox News interviewer. “We will give the number of people in our home, and that’s where we’re going to draw the line.” Here is the full article, if you care to take the time to learn her real position and the facts: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/senate/49104281.html?page=1&c=y.
A July 23, 2009 Los Angeles Times blog, in spite of its misleading headline stated that Bachmann introduced legislation that requires people to provide to the Census Bureau name, date, contact information and the number of people living at the same address. See: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/07/minnesota-rep-bachmann-creates-a-stir-refusing-to-fill-our-census-form.html.
I don’t watch WCCO news, so I’m not really concerned whether you go the way of the print media in Minneapolis, but if you care, you might want to be a little more diligent in learning the facts before perpetuating a myth under the guise of journalism.

I agree with Bachmann on the Census

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I hesitate to write anything about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota’s sixth congressional district. I’ll admit, I’m conflicted. As a center-right conservative with a libertarian streak, I agree with the Congresswoman on most issues. If I were a member of Congress, I would probably be voting the same as her 90-95 percent of the time. However as a Republican, she frustrates me. Bachmann represents what is supposed to be the safest Republican congressional district in Minnesota. Yet because of her, shall we say eccentric and erratic ways, my party ends up putting precious time, money and other resources into pulling her out of the fire at election time when she should be winning by decisive margins.  Precious time, money and other resources that could be put into other close races.

And personally? Michele Bachmann doesn’t care who she steps on as she climbs the ladder of her political career. Now, this may not be an unusual attribute for many politicians, but I guess I’m a little too close to the situation to look the other way. I have good conservative friends who have been stepped on by Michele Bachmann – people whose own careers in politics suffered because of her ambition to advance her own.

But anyway, this is the East Central Truth Detector, and there are some misconceptions out there regarding what the Congresswoman said or didn’t say about the census which I will attempt to clarify.

Michele Bachman is not refusing to have herself and her household be counted! Yet everyone from the media to Sen. Amy Klobuchar are out there seem to be saying that that Bachmann does not want to be counted. This Los Angeles Times Blog is a good example of the conflicting information that is out there. The headline reads “Count Rep. Michele Bachmannas Unwilling to be Counted in the Census”. Yet the article goes on to state that a bill she is sponsoring a bill that requires people to provide to the Census Bureau name, date, contact information and the number of people living at the same address.

What Bachmann is saying is that there are too many invasive questions that go along with the census that the government has no business asking. And I agree. Here is Bachmann’s statement to Fox News, as quoted in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article: “I’m saying, for myself and my family, our comfort level is we will comply with the Constitution Article I Section II,”  Bachmann told a Fox News interviewer. “We will give the number of people in our home, and that’s where we’re going to draw the line.”

Giving credit where credit is due, at least the Star Tribune reported Bachmann’s position correctly when the news first broke. But now people including Klobuchar are wailing and gnashing their teeth saying that Minnesota could lose a congressional seat if everyone isn’t counted. They are saying that Minnesota is on the bubble of losing a congressional seat, and congressoinal representation is at stake. 

No, it’s not. Bachmann is saying, count me and my household, but don’t ask me all the other questions that go with the census. There is nothing about that position that puts our congressional representation at stake. Furthermore, given the overall representation Minnesota has in Congress right now, I say no big loss.  If the issue is money, any money appropriated from the federal government based on population will not be in jeopardy if people are willing to be counted, but refuse to answer the invasive questions.

So I agree. Count me and my household. I’ll even throw in our ages and genders and number of pets (zero). But I consider it to be none of the federal government’s business (though they can probably find out through other means) what my income is, what my race or ethnicity is, my commute time, or anything else. As far as I’m concerned, dollars allocated from the federal government based on these questions should be sent back to the people who earned those dollars in the first place.

Now they say it’s a violation of federal law to not fully fill out the census form, subject to a fine of up to $5,000. But a little civil disobedience now and then is a good thing, right?

Pawlenty Steps Aside – Let the Speculation Begin

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

(This post was updated 3/3/09, because I knew my original post left out some prominent names. Additionally, according to media reports and blogs today, Carol Molnau, Sue Jeffers and Michele Bachmann are not likely to run for Governor.)

Governor Tim Pawlenty announced at a 2 p.m. news conference today that he will not be seeking a third term as Governor of Minnesota. If speculation about his aspirations for national office hasn’t already begun it will now be in full swing. There will be p(aw)lenty of people joining the chorus of speculators on his chances of landing on a national ticket. Closer to home, however, I prefer to start the speculation and analyzing of potential candidates for Governor. Many are called, so I will try to keep my analysis brief . Few are chosen but we won’t know for sure who it will be until summer/fall 2010.

Let’s start with the Democrats. Those who have filed campaign committees up to this point include (in no particular order):

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner: Experience as a county prosecutor worked for Amy Klobuchar, but she had her father’s name. My sources inside the DFL say Gaertner wearing out her welcome already.

Former U. S. Senator Mark Dayton: Money is no obstacle for Dayton, but his eccentric behavior while a Senator will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza: Like Dayton, money is no object, but his history of opposition research on member of his own party could hurt.

State Represenattive Paul Thissen of Minneapolis: A congenial fellow, but outside of Minneapolis it’s Paul Who?

State Senator and 1994 DFL gubernatorial nominee John Marty. Republicans to Democrats: “If you can’t give us Ole Saviour this time, please give us our second choice, John Marty.”

State Senator Tom Bakk (DFL – Cook): Probably the most original of the DFL bunch, but that’s not saying much. His Iron Range sensibilities make him a little different, which could be a negative when it comes to getting his party’s endorsement.

Democrats who have not filed a campaign committee but being mentioned as potential candidates:

Finally, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is considered a potential candidate, although she has not filed a campaign committee yet. Speaker Kelliher had been considered a potential front runner up until the end of the 2009 Legislative session. Most observers and experts viewed the 2009 session as a loser, strategically and politically, for Democrat Legislative leaders, including Kelliher. She may have a tough uphill climb if she gets in the race.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak have been mentioned as potential candidates, although they are both running for reelection to their current positions this year. Coleman, in particular has been traveling around the state, presumably to elevate his name recognition. Being known in the population center of the state is a plus for either of these potential candidates. However, once the frivilous spending  in their cities (that will cause people in Greater Minnesota scratch their heads)  is revealed, people will wonder why they whined about having to lay off firefighters and policemen when their Local Government Aid was cut.

Now, the Republicans, in no particular order. (Even if it appears that I have an early favorite, I am decidedly neutral at this point. These comments are simply my brief description and analysis.):

Sue Jeffers, 2006 GOP primary opponent to Gov. Pawlenty: Former owner of Stub & Herbs a downtown Minneapolis bar, Ms. Jeffers was an adamant opponent to the statewide smoking ban. Her libertarian views will appeal to some factions in the GOP, but it remains to be seen how much wider her appeal will be. Ms. Jeffers still has a campaign committee from her 2006 challenge to Gov. Pawlenty.

Brian Sullivan, Republican National Committee National Committeeman: You may remember that Sullivan was Pawlwnty’s main challenger for the GOP endorsement in 2002. The memorable state convention that year went until the wee hours in the morning as it took 13 ballots for Pawlenty to garner the 60 percent vote required for party endorsement. Sullivan was gracious in defeat, and many observers commented at the time that his demeanor will help him as a future candidate. Sullivan has been known as a staunch conservative, but more recently, some have tried to pigeonhole him as a party establishment insider. Sullivan, a successful businessman, could self-fund his campaign, but financial independence is a double-edged sword for GOP candidates.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Marshall. Seifert is resigning his position as Minority Leader, and considering a run for Governor. Siefert has successfully held together the House Republicans in sustaining the Governor’s vetoes (well, except for that annoying little gas tax,  license tab fee and metro sales tax increase passed in 2008). Seifert is known for his quips and using illustrative word pictures to get his point across. May be the most fun candidate to watch and listen to.

Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, Rochester: One of a diminishing number of Republican legislators from the Rochester area. Senjem is an affable fellow, but isn’t known for his leadership skills.

State Representative Tom Emmer: The conservative lion of the Minnesota House. Emmer is known for fiery speeches on the House Floor. He has the type-A dominant personality to be the CEO of the state. His challenge will be to put together a coalition of supporters beyond the GOP base to get there.

State Representative and former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer: Has statewide name recognition and experience running statewide campaigns. Does she want to return to statewide service, or has she found her niche as a legislator?

Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, like Kiffmeyer, has statewide name recognition and campaign experience. Anderson is a product of the “Eagan Mafia” that produced prominent GOP politicians like Pawlenty via the Eagan City Council.

State Labor Commissioner and Former Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum: Sviggum was a great promoter of fellow GOP House candidates when he was his caucus leader. However he has never junped into the arena of statewide campaigns himself. Will 2010 be different?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann: Bachmann certainly fires up the conservative base. However, her propensity to spout controversial things at inopportune times has caused the GOP to divert precious campaign dollars from targeted races to bail her out in a district that should be safe for Republicans.

State Representative Laura Brod: The feisty representative from New Prague has established herself as an expert on far-ranging issues from taxes to Health and Human Services. She handles herself well in House Floor debates. Lack of statewide name recognition could be a problem. However, she is a fresh face and could have the best chance of anyone to earn the support of all factions of her party.

Let’s not forget U. S. Senator Norm Coleman: Yes, Norm’s main job right now is to keep Al Franken to from getting seated in the U. S. Senate. Coleman has always considered himself an executive more so than a legislator. While Minnesotans may have Norm fatigue at the moment, the number of candidates potentially getting into the race could cause campaign fatigue in the coming 12-15 months. As the plethora of candidates line up, and as people find flaws with each one of them, Coleman’s stature as a U. S .Senator may leave hin the last one standing. After all, isn’t that how Sen. McCain got to be his party’s nominee for POTUS in 2008? Norm’s revival coud be a mere 12-15 months away. You read it here first.

Another name mentioned in the media is former Congressman Jim Ramstad. Ramstad’s stature and broad appeal would make him a favorite to defeat any Democrat on the ballot. Given his moderate views and voting record, his challenge would be to find his way to the general election ballot via the GOP nomination.

Others have been mentioned such as State Senators David Hann and Geoff Michel,and even former State Senator and former chief of staff to Pawlenty David Gaither.

One State Senator that at least one fellow legislator is encouraging to run is Sen. Julie Rosen. A potentially attractive candidate, but like most GOP state senators it will be difficult to cite accomplishments and  demonstrable leadership skills as reasons to elect her Governor.

That’s it for now. I’m sure I forgot some names. Others will appear unexpectedly. Many are called. Few are chosen. The speculation and analysis will continue. Stay tuned.