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But the timidity of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in refusing to go to the mat for a full $61 billion of spending cuts shows how difficult it will be to progress toward Ryan’s goals. That’s where Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) comes in. Alone among the GOP establishment and the Republican presidential possibilities, she stood up and demanded that the Republican Party keep its campaign promises to the American people. Alone, she had the courage to say we must fight and the wisdom to predict that we would have won had we done so.
Closer to the American people than the denizens of D.C., she realized the issue would not have been whom to blame for a shutdown, but to which party should go the credit for standing up against exorbitant spending. She got it that the contest would have been between more spending and less spending and that the Republican Party would have emerged covered with glory.
But, in a larger sense, she realizes we need a hammer if we are to build a house guided by Paul Ryan’s blueprint. We won’t persuade the nails to go in, we need to pound them in. Republican plans to cut spending and reform budgeting before raising the debt-limit ceiling and to make Ryan’s budget a reality hinge on their willingness to use the one weapon they have: a government shutdown. The very essence of one-house control is the negative veto power of zero appropriations. To forswear its use is to embrace impotence.
Are we seeing a Thatcher in the making? Is this outspoken lawyer from Minnesota — with a master’s degree in tax law — the one to persuade us to return to conservative principles? In a field that includes Huckabee’s values and Gingrich’s intellect (and Romney’s flip-flops), shall we add Bachmann’s courage to the mix?
It’s too early to tell, but in the crucible of this conflict, she has certainly come through for her country and her party. Between Ryan and Bachmann, maybe there’s hope after all.
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