For that last decade or so the Republican line-up for the Presidential nomination has often reminded me of The Celebrity Apprentice.
In the case of the television show, in order to make for great TV, the producers assenble a group of oddballs that can usually only be considered celebrities based on a very loose interpretation of fame. Start with a couple hack reality show stars, throw in a few formerly famous folks with substance abuse or other mental issues, season the stew with a disgraced politician, a Playboy bunny and/or a milfy model, one or two washed up rockers, and then add a country star so somebody looks a little sane. Then take the group and make them pretend to be businesspeople (something none of them are the least bit qualified for), and the craziness and hilarity ensues. Add Combover Trump as the horney ringleader and you have a really great show!
But of course it is all theatre. Fake drama to draw viewers. Legitimate celebrities do not need to be on the show, and people would probably not want to watch a show that featured real and talented business people competing against each other, because the assignments would most likely be completed with little drama or intrigue. Professionals tend to be focused and sane.
For some reason the Republican race for the Presidency has been more like a casting call for The Celebrity Apprentice – with a lot more wackiness than “focused and sane”. In fact, two of the presumed candidates for the next election, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, actually are reality show stars. I know there are many smart, fluent, and qualified individuals that would probably make great Republican candidates, but for many reasons they have been slow to surface.
But could it be that I am actually just a biased liberal, and am buying off on the media’s crazy portrayal of otherwise terrific candidates to lead this country? Could be. So for the next few months I decided I would just investigate the basic qualifications and positions of the Presidential wanna-bees. First up – Michelle Bachmann.
It would be easy to confuse Bachmann and her presumed political doppleganger Palin as being cut totally from the same cloth. They both score high on the conservative sex appeal meter, and share a penchant for grabbing the limelight based on outrageous and often stupid statements. But I discovered that Bachmann has a lot more depth and experience than Palin.
The basic stats straight from Wikipedia:
- Age: 54
- Born in Waterloo, Iowa
- Parents were divorced and she was raised by her mother
- BA Degreee from Winona State University, JD from Oral Roberts University, degree in tax law from William and Mary
- Grew up a Democrat, worked on the Carter campaign, but became a Republican in college after reading Gore Vidal’s “Burr”
- Married to Marcus Bachmann since 1981. They have five children, and have been involved with raising 23 foster children
- She and her husband own a Christian Counseling Clinic
- She has an ownership stake in a farm in Wisconsin that has received over $250,000 in federal farm subsidies
- Served in the Minnesota State Senate from 2003 – 2007, and then moved to the US House of Representatives
Hmmm, so far so good – certainly a more solid background than Palin for political office. And now lets take a look at some of her political and social positions:
- Very active in the anti-abortion movement since 1991, and in 2006 she said she would vote against abortion rights even in the case of rape or incest.
- In 2007 she voted against a bill that provided additional funding to college students.
- She introduced the “Light Bulb Freedom Of Choice Act” – to repeal bans on conventional light bulbs in favor of the more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
- She is on record as saying global warming is a hoax, and that CO2 is actually beneficial to the environment.
- She favors oil exploration in The Arctic National Refuge and on the Continental shelf.
- She opposed the Wall Street Bailout.
- She opposes same-sex marriage.
- She has been quoted on multiple occassions claiming the President holds ‘anti-American views”.
- She favors repealing the financial reform acts.
- She favors repealing the “Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act”.
- She favors teaching ‘Intelligent Design” in schools, and does not believe in evolution.
- She advocates phasing out Social Security and Medicare.
- She was quoted as saying in dealing with Iran that the option of “a nuclear strike should not be taken off the table”.
- She received fund raising support from Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.
So is she a legitimate candidate? Way too soon to tell, but in the recent New Hampshire 2012 straw poll she placed fifth, after:
- Mitt Romney
- Ron Paul
- Tim Pawlenty
- Sarah Palin