Bachmann Overdrive

Today's WSJ Weekend Interview featured Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann. As most MSM stories about Bachmann emphasize either that she's "extreme," "stupid" or "crazy," this is a rare opportunity to find out what her program is.

If she were to take her shot, she'd run on an economic package reminiscent of Jack Kemp, the late congressman who championed supply-side economics and was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "In my perfect world," she explains, "we'd take the 35% corporate tax rate down to nine so that we're the most competitive in the industrialized world. Zero out capital gains. Zero out the alternative minimum tax. Zero out the death tax."

The 3.8 million-word U.S. tax code may be irreparable, she says, a view she's held since working as a tax attorney at the IRS 20 years ago. "I love the FAIR tax. If we were starting over from scratch, I would favor a national sales tax." But she's not a sponsor of the FAIR tax bill because she fears that enacting it won't end the income tax, and "we would end up with a dual tax, a national sales tax and an income tax."

Her main goal is to get tax rates down with a broad-based income tax that everyone pays and that "gets rid of all the deductions." A system in which 47% of Americans don't pay any tax is ruinous for a democracy, she says, "because there is no tie to the government benefits that people demand. I think everyone should have to pay something."

On the stump she emphasizes an "America-centered energy policy" based on "drilling and mining for our rich resources here." And she believes that repealing ObamaCare is a precondition to restoring a prosperous economy. "You cannot have a pro-growth economy and advise, simultaneously, socialized medicine."

Her big challenge is whether the country is ready to support deep spending cuts. On this issue, she carries a sharper blade than everyone except Ron Paul. She voted for the Paul Ryan budget—but "with an asterisk." Why? "The asterisk is that we've got a huge messaging problem [on Medicare]. It needs to be called the 55-and-Under Plan. I can't tell you the number of 78-year-old women who think we're going to pull the rug out from under them."

Should someone who's only been in Congress since 2006 run for president? I'd like to know why the hell not. On the one hand, I keep hearing that the government has gotten so big that is has become an existential threat. On the other hand, the GOP establishment seems to think that the best person to lead us out of this mess is someone like Mitt Romney, last seen passing health care reform and speaking in favor of climate change legislation. Speaking for myself, that's not what I want to hear about this year (or any year). Bachmann, at least, seems to take the Tea Party message of shrinking government to heart. Could it be that she has a better sense of what might be a winning message than someone whose main claim is that it's his "turn?"

I keep hearing that Bachmann is "stupid." Could be. After all, only stupid people managed to win an election as a conservative Republican in Minnesota in 2006. Only stupid people have since successfully defended their seats from determined leftists who think nothing of spending $10 million to unseat someone they consider too stupid to live. And, only idiots work as tax attorneys, of course. Rule of thumb: if Democrats say someone is stupid, it usually means they are scared that mainstream America is getting ready to embrace that person before the left can label them stupidextremecrazywanttokillgrandma. Maybe Republicans don't want to vote for Bachmann, but it's clear that Democrats really don't want Republicans, let alone regular Americans, to vote for her. Should we really be so obliging to the left?

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