The presidential campaign of Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is struggling. She burst into the race with a strong performance in the June 13 debate, where she announced her candidacy. She quickly surged in polls, rising to second to Mitt Romney nationally and in a virtual tie with Romney in Iowa. But since Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the race in August, Bachmann has been on the wane. As Perry’s bubble has deflated, conservatives have flocked on Herman Cain instead of back to her. In more recent polls she has sunk to sixth, behind not only Romney, Perry and Cain, but even Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. At the Values Voter Summit straw poll, a gathering of social conservatives who she will need to form her base in any winning coalition, she finished in a tie for fourth place with Perry, garnering only 8 percent.
Bachmann has been fighting to get attention, having gotten less airtime and applause in the last two debates and dealing with the perception that the Republican primary is a two person race between Perry and Mitt Romney. If it’s attention Bachmann wants, there are certainly plenty of questions worth asking her. And while she is unlikely to overtake Perry and Romney, it is hardly impossible. She also could be on the short list for vice-presidential nominees, especially if Romney wins the primaries and wants to enthuse the conservative base. So here are eight questions for Bachmann that debate moderators Tuesday night and other journalists with the opportunity to interview her should ask.
§ You’ve promised to lower the price of gasoline to $2 per gallon. How exactly will do you that? The United States has only 1.5 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, but it consumes 22 percent of the world’s oil annually. It takes a new oil well several years to bring gasoline to the market. So how would increased drilling achieve your price target during your first term? Are you proposing to nationalize our gas resources and oil companies? If not, how do you force gas companies to give their gasoline to Americans at a lower price than the global equilibrium price between supply and demand?
§ You’ve proposed to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. What about the laws it enforces? Are you proposing to repeal the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act? If not, how would you enforce them?
§ At the Fox News debate in September you promised to pass “the mother of all repeal laws” on federal education policy and to abolish the Department of Education. Is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act one of the federal education laws you would repeal? If so, would you do anything to ensure that children with disabilities are educated in public schools? If not, who would enforce the law?
§ At the Values Voter Summit you said, “There’s a few other [cabinet departments] that are also going to get their lights off.” Which departments are you talking about, and why would you close them? Don’t you think that if you ask people to vote for you for president, they should know precisely which cabinet agencies you would eliminate and who would perform their functions?