Michele Bachmann rails against socialism at CPAC
Speaking before a large but half-empty auditorium, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann opened the annual CPAC convention with a call to arms.
The Minnesota Republican implored participants to fight what she says is a planned "75 percent tax on income." The Conservative Political Action Conference, which organizer the American Conservative Union billed as "the largest gathering in CPAC history," dominated the cavernous Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C.
With a delivery that was often choppy and had numerous mispronunciations—a surprising element in a speech that contained mostly stock talking points—Bachmann implored the crowd to aggressively promote conservatism. She hardly mentioned the Tea Party.
The speech earned mostly lukewarm applause, except when she spoke of America being exceptional or when she called for defeat of President Obama. Still, her speech was well received by the gathered conservative activists and earned a standing ovation when she talked about defeating the president.
Much of the speech was devoted to waging war on what she views as socialism on the march.
Socialism is indicated, she says "most strongly" by "Obamacare." Bachmann called health reform "the never ending liberal gift," seeking (apparently) to conflate the two political ideologies. She described "crippling company mandates," "6,000 pages of new regulations" and Obama's way to "usher in socialism. "The first breath I take every day is to repeal Obamacare," she offered.
Bachmann also proudly proclaimed, then repeated, that she and her husband had created "over 50 jobs" although it was not clear how many of those jobs were part of her congressional staff.
For the first time Bachmann went after former president Bill Clinton, saying that the Clinton administration was all the evidence one needed to see what was wrong with the Obama Administration. Then—in an odd moment greeted by silence—she went on to say she only mentioned that because Bill Clinton had recently criticized her for being out of touch.
Bachmann also predicted that the U.S. was heading the way of Greece, a new favorite criticism among the Tea Party faithful. She went on to tie Spain's wind farms to its current high unemployment. Bachmann opined that while an energy policy focused on new technologies might sound appealing in "a Harvard faculty lounge" it was out of touch with U.S. needs.
The dig at higher education served as her segue into another key theme. The U.S., she says, is teeming with oil waiting to be harvested. She called the U.S. the "Saudi Arabia of the West" arguing that "we have all the oil we need," an argument made by almost no one else, even including proponents of unregulated drilling.
In closing, Bachmann offered a prescription for how President Obama might redeem himself to Americans. She called for him to "stop the EPA from regulating cap and trade," "sign a balanced budget amendment," and "repeal Obamacare." Then she called on the assembled to "hold the conservative House, take over the Senate and defeat Obama." That was her best applause line.
Jimmy Zuma splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Tucson. He writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early ‘80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t - unless you have to.”