". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Michele, Not My Belle

Two posts in one day. It's either feast or famine around here. I started writing a Facebook status and realized what I really wanted to write was a blog post. You're welcome. (Or not, as the case may be.)

I have not decided whom I will vote for in the Republican primary. I do know that in the general election I will vote for the Republican nominee, whoever he or she is. If I believe anything at all, it's that we must repudiate the current President and his failed policies and that our only chance of doing that is uniting around the Republican challenger.

Of the frontrunners right now, I am leaning towards Rick Perry. He is not perfect, but I think his positives far outweigh his negatives. Of the second tier, I like Rick Santorum. But for whatever reason, I do not see him gaining enough of a following to be a contender for the nomination.

In recent years I have had a very high opinion of Michele Bachmann. I was glad to see her enter the race. But as I have watched her compete for the nomination, I have become less impressed. In the past week she has struck me as making mistakes born of desperation. Her Gardasil offensive on Perry has been completely over the top, as she has drawn vivid word pictures of an evil government forcing "injections" on "little 12-year-old girls." She has continued to hammer the point even though Perry has admitted he made a mistake in issuing an executive order (that was never enforced) mandating the vaccination in Texas. To his acknowledgment of error she has responded by saying that the President of the United States has to get it right the first time--that there are no "do-overs"--and she assures the country she will.

Really, Mrs. Bachmann? There is no room for error, at all, when you hold executive office? You don't expect that as President you would ever make a single mistake?

My guess is that she, like all of us, has made mistakes in the past and will probably make more in the future, President or not. And what scares me more than someone who might make a mistake is someone who will not admit it.

In fact, Mrs. Bachmann did make a mistake. After the CNN debate in which she went after Perry, Bachmann claimed that a woman came up to her thanking her for her remarks on Gardasil and claiming that her daughter had become mentally retarded as a result of the vaccination. That comment made its way into some of Bachmann's post-debate interviews, as there she continued to attack Perry on the issue. But since then there have been questions about the source of the claim and whether such a person actually made it. There have also been several high-profile repudiations of the claim that the vaccination has been shown to be dangerous and Bachmann has had to back away slightly from that claim. (What, Mrs. Bachmann? Do you mean to say that you didn't get it right the first time?) Ultimately, introducing vaccination fear--a different issue--into what started out as a legitimate criticism of the use of executive power has weakened her argument. But when Perry neutralized her attack by admitting his error I guess she thought she had to find a way to keep up the attack. How much better for her and the entire GOP field (and our 2012 chances) had she thanked him for taking the high road and gone on to do so herself.

The straw that broke this voter's back as far as Bachmann is concerned was seeing her on Facebook today attacking "Obamacare" in the same breath as "Perrycare." Excuse me? This is intellectually dishonest and shallow language. She is doing neither herself nor the cause (which is bigger than she is, after all) any favors with such an approach. She will not have my vote in this primary.

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