“Obama has just been a disaster,” asserted my friends, warming to the topic. I pointed out that their predictions of a socialized automotive sector hadn’t come true, and that health insurance reform was delivering some genuine improvements (although skyrocketing premiums).
“Unemployment, wars, the debt','” They ticked off the visible sins. All started by Republicans, I countered. Besides, who has a better solution? Bachmann?
“Absolutely.” I was astonished. You can’t be agree with her views? “Can you tell me which of her views you disagree with?” they asked. Not a clue; I’ll have to get back to you.
Fortunately, the Financial Times Weekend profiled Candidate Michele today. But the article didn’t illuminate her stands by much: it was long on personality and character, short on issues.
Her official web site is scarcely more helpful:
My top priorities as a constitutional conservative:
- Restore our economy and create millions of new jobs.
- Repeal Obamacare and its unconstitutional mandates.
- Achieve deep cuts in spending to reduce America's debt.
- Strengthen the family and defend marriage.
- Rebuild respect for America as the shining city upon a hill.
I dug on into the site.
She clearly declares No Debt Ceiling Increase, correctly identifying “the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare alone – two programs which already consume 95 percent of federal revenues – have recently been estimated at more than $45 trillion”. So how would she solve it? Congress cannot and should not vote to increase the borrowing limit for the government unless serious steps are taken to reduce spending, and most important, the full repeal of Obamacare, which will add at least $1 trillion to the budget.
A 2% impact on the problem, gained through cutting a program she loathes, then, well, raise the Debt Ceiling.
I slog on through the Issues with her: Defense, Energy, Health, Jobs. In each case, similarly clear principles; circular and vague non-solutions.
So what do I disagree with? With no actual point of policy to discuss; I’m not sure what issues to go back to friends with.
Also last weekend, Ira Glass presented a segment on This American Life (439), profiling the state legislative race in a small Wisconsin town. And it was here that I found my answers.
Spring had been difficult: The sign waving, fist pumping anger over politics, economics, haves and have-nots had arrived. People were shouting one another down, undermining campaigns and reputations.
Only these were people from a small town, people who had known one another their whole lives and had always, previously, respected one another’s viewpoints and compromised to find some shared middle ground.
Not any more. In taking a position, Governor Walker had forced people to make a choices, pulling them apart. By denying that a center existed, State Republicans and Democrats deprived people of finding common solutions. He replaced it with winning. Or with losing.
Ms. Bachmann’s stands on principle are similarly divisive, her rhetoric similarly polarizes society around her.
And, worse, she takes pride in that.
So,when I seen my friends, I won’t tell them what issues I disagree with. I will say that I disagree with the effect that she wants to have on the rest of us, whether from inner principal to or to take outward advantage. I’ll disagree with forcing people to take sides rather than to seek understanding and compromise.