“Am I looking at the right camera?” White House adviser David Axelrod asked in an interview after the SOTU.
Fox News says he was “gently mocking” Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who apparently was looking at the wrong camera during her unofficial response to the SOTU. For the record, I didn’t stay up for Bachmann’s response-the president had put me to sleep-but a glance at the video shows she was looking slightly in the wrong direction. It didn’t seem that big a deal, especially as one of the most photogenic presidents in history has brought us 9.4 percent unemployment.
What is going on here is that the opinion makers are gearing up to do a Sarah Palin on Bachmann. I only hope that Ms. Bachmann, who was elected to represent Minnesota’s sixth district in 2006, will learn from Palin’s experiences. She does seem to be able to think on her feet better than the former governor. Here’s what I am not going to cry: sexism.
Ms. Bachmann is coming under attack not because of sexism but because of her philosophy and her ardent following in the Tea Party movement. That said, perhaps it is more offensive for her advesaries that she is a woman. Women are supposed to belong lock stock and barrel to the big government coalition, a coalition that is breaking up. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote a snide piece on Bachman, chiding her for her lack of “fellowship.”
He noted that the president was “lofty” but that “then there was Michele Bachman:”
“After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have,” Bachmann said. “But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.”
Armed with charts and photographs, but not a word of fellowship, she railed against “a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s health care bill.”
Actually, the straight talk was probably more palatable to the Americans who managed to remain awake than the president’s “lofty” rhetoric-we don’t need somebody to soar above us; we need somebody who can cut spending, not merely rename it “investing.” Several commentators tried to portray Bachmann as a Tea Party renegade in the GOP, though nobody in the GOP actually said this. Bachmann is in for it. I hope she has guts.