Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Straw That Stirs the Drink?

The Iowa Straw Poll is Saturday and it looks like all signs are pointing to a strong performance from MY Representative, Michele Bachmann. (Love to stress the MY part for my friends represented getting all the representation they can stand from Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, and Betty McCollum.)

We've seen her grow up, politically speaking, before our eyes in Stillwater, and it is something to have someone you personally know and like being among the contenders for the leader of the free world.

Michael Barone characterizes Bachmann as the favorite to win the straw poll in this Washington Examiner article and he presents her candidacy in a very positive light. However, he does remind us of this inconvenient truth:

She's only in her third term in the House and she hasn't sponsored any major legislation; she has no executive experience in government.

Those first two items were commonly heard from Bachmann's DFL opponents in her last couple of House races. They ring hollow for a Congressional race, since Bachmann has been in the minority party for her entire tenure. Plus conservatives don't really need to show a record of sponsoring MAJOR legislation. The implied expense, regulatory hassle, incompetent administration, and and unintended consequences of that term, especially in the context of recent legislative triumphs like ObamaCare and the Stimulus bill, renders it more of a detriment to her base than a resume enhancement.

But her lack of substantive accomplishment, in conjunction with Barone's last point, no executive experience, are problematic for someone running for President. Tim Pawlenty certainly thinks so, as it's his main talking point as we approach Saturday's straw poll. And I have to agree. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to see my President have a proven record of success before handing over the keys to the country. The office of President of the United States deserves someone with an extraordinary record. In a country of 300 million people, is it too much to ask that that the one getting the top job be overwhelmingly qualified and distinguished? Based on the current occupant of the office, yes, it has been too much ask. And I'm not sure that profile exists among any of the leading GOP challengers at this point.

Of course, Michele Bachmann is preferable to Barack Obama, if that's what the choice comes down to. But it's still early in the process, we can still hold out for an ideal candidate for President. I love Michele Bachmann, she's been a terrific Representative and advocate for conservative causes. But, is Michele Bachmann the best we can do for President?

BTW, don’t forget to check out Michael Barone's appearance on the Hinderaker-Ward Experience podcast on from last week, where he provides exclusive commentary on the Bachmann and Pawlenty candidacies.