Virtual Voices

Conservative casualty?

Politics

What has happened to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., this week demonstrates how unmercifully and cynically the liberal media and Democratic leadership can focus their air power on any conservative who has the courage to raise his or her head out of the foxhole.

In case you missed it, Bachmann appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" last Friday, where host Chris Matthews asked, "Are you concerned that Barack Obama may have anti-American views?"

Bachmann replied, "Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

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Am I the only person left who thinks that was a perfectly reasonable answer? Obama has said things, done things, and aligned himself with people and organizations that are distinctly anti-democratic and anti-capitalistic. The U.S. Constitution says all Americans have the right to life, and Obama holds radical pro-abort views, opposing even the Infants Born Alive Act, which guarantees that a baby born alive will receive medical care to stay alive. Since Obama opposes this fundamental American value, does that make him and others who hold this view un-American?

We've been having a national argument over this issue since 1973. Even if you disagree with my view that being anti-life is the same as being anti-American, I don't think you can reasonably disagree with my right-or Bachmann's right-to at least ask the question.

But many are. Colin Powell, on the heels of his endorsement of Obama, said, "[We have] got a congressman [sic] from Minnesota who's going around saying let's examine all congressmen to see who's pro-American and who's not pro-American. We've got to stop that kind of nonsense."

However, what Bachmann said was that the media-not any official government inquiry-should look carefully into the views of members of Congress. Her exact words were: "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" Bachmann's insistence that the media actually assume the role of the Fourth Estate is perfectly reasonable. Looking into the political philosophies of politicians-including the roots and consequences of those philosophies-is not, as Powell suggests, "nonsense." Indeed, it is the main reason a free press exists.

Against such a relentless assault, probably armed with advice from some weak-kneed Republican media consultants, Bachmann is having to explain herself. She told the St. Cloud (Minn.) Rotary Club Wednesday that she would like to "take back" the statement-not because of what she said but for how it was misrepresented by Powell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others. To Bachmann's credit, she is not backtracking from her core argument. She reiterated to the Rotarians: "I'm very concerned about Barack Obama's views. I don't believe that socialism is a good thing for America."

It's worth asking this question: Why would a first-term congresswoman from Minnesota be the target of this kind of political and media firepower? The answer is that it's part of a new strategy of the Democrats to make life miserable for up-and-coming conservatives.

Bachmann is a powerful orator and a solid conservative with a compelling personal story. She was a pro-life activist who, with her husband, has helped raise more than 20 foster children. Her local activism helped her win a seat in the Minnesota state senate in 2000, where she continued to speak out for life and other conservative principles. She won election to the U.S. Congress in 2006, but with the barest of majorities.

The bottom line is this: Michele Bachmann could easily become a national figure in the conservative movement and in the Republican Party, and no one knows this better than the Democratic leadership. They, and their financial backers, such as homosexual activist and billionaire Tim Gill, are committed to derailing the careers of conservative firebrands such as Bachmann before they can build a head of steam, before defeating them becomes either impossible, or extremely costly. Gill famously put it this way: "I want to end the career of the next Rick Santorum before it starts."

What happens next will be a defining moment in the political wars of the next decade. Bachmann was ahead in the polls, but in the past week, her opponent has received more than $1 million in contributions-more than doubling the total of all previous contributions to her opponent's campaign. Most of that money, needless to say, has come from outside the district. To add to her troubles, the national Republican Party-which has been in almost complete retreat from conservatives and their ideas for the past two election cycles-confirmed Wednesday, just two weeks before the election, that it will not run previously planned TV advertisements on Bachmann's behalf.

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