Michele Bachmann, at her announcement speech today, offering an extended paean to the Tea Party:
I am here in Waterloo, Iowa to announce today: We can win in 2012, and we will. Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It’s the peace through strength Republicans, and I’m one of them. It’s fiscal conservatives, and I’m one of them, and it’s social conservatives, and I’m one of them. It’s the Tea Party movement, and I’m one of them.
The liberals, and to be clear I’m NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it’s not. It’s made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who’ve never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We’re people who simply want America back on the right track again.
The Los Angeles Times yesterday, revealing some very un-Tea-Party-like behavior from the Bachmann family:
Rep. Michele Bachmann has been propelled into the 2012 presidential contest in part by her insistent calls to reduce federal spending, a pitch in tune with the big-government antipathy gripping many conservatives.
But the Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.
And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration’s stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district.
Bachmann yesterday defended herself by describing the clinic funding and “one time training money” for employees that didn’t financially benefit Bachmann’s husband. But presumably the clinic itself benefitted from having government money train its workers. Otherwise it’s hard to see why Bachmann’s husband’s clinic wanted the funding. And of course, there’s all that stimulus money Bachmann wants for her district.
I don’t really know if these revelations will damage Bachmann’s status as the Tea Party’s leading warrior queen (yes, you have been dethroned, Sarah Palin). That’s because this sort of hypocrisy is widespread among Tea Partyers themselves — let’s call it “Tea-pocrisy.”
As Steve Benen has been documenting — see here and here — there’s no shortage of officials and political activists who embrace the Tea Party even as they benefit directly or indirectly from government generosity themselves. Some House GOP freshmen have even been the direct recipient of farm subsidies. And now the relevations about Tea Party chieftain Bachmann herself.
The point, as always, is that Tea Partyers are frequently for government spending as long as it’s benefitting the right people. Tea-pocrisy is not particularly complicated.
By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, June 27, 2011