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Obama Calls Out Bachmann... and Other Irresponsible 'Professional Politicians' | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

Breaking news and analysis of politics, the economy and activism.

Obama Calls Out Bachmann... and Other Irresponsible 'Professional Politicians'

Michele Bachmann is a professional—and prolific—politician.

SInce 1999, when the voters of Stillwater, Minnesota, rejected her candidacy for a local school board seat, she has in her pursuit of legislative, Congressional and, now, presidential political advancement, placed her name in competition more than a dozen times at party conventions and on primary and general election ballots.

Even for perennial candidates who get joked about—folks like former Minnesota Governor and frequent Republican presidential contender Harold Stassen—that would could as a startling level of political ambition.

And it would raise a question: Is Bachmann more interested in running than governing?

President Obama effectively raised it during his Monday press conference, when he noted: “I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn’t be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better.”

The Hill, a Capitol Hill–insider publication, referred to that line as “a shot across the bow at some of the Republicans vying to challenge him in 2012.”

That’s true enough. A number of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have played fast and loose with the debt ceiling issue. But not all of them are professional politicians. Herman Cain, for instance, is a former pizza CEO; Mitt Romney has mixed a business and political career; Gary Johnson has been out of electoral politics for the better part of a decade.

Bachmann’s the professional pol. And she is the one who is going overboard when it comes to demagoguing the issue.

Her first television ad in the Iowa Caucus race that a new polls suggests she is leading, ends with the line: “I. Will. Not. Vote. To increase the debt ceiling.”

That’s not the statement of someone who is trying to govern, let alone to find the right solutions for the country.

That’s the statement of an irresponsible professional politician demagoguing an essential issue.

The president has not gotten everything right in the course of the debt ceiling debate.

But he was right to call Michele Bachmann out as the irresponsible professional pol that she is.

 

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