Smart Girl Politics, SGP, is thrilled that Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann agreed to be the first person interviewed for our A Profile in Conservatism series.
Congresswoman Bachmann was gracious enough to respond to questions submitted to her by members of SGP. It is truly apparent from her answers that she was the obvious choice to be the first person profiled.
Congresswoman Bachmann is currently serving her second term as the representative from the 6th District of Minnesota.
SGP: What is the most important thing you learned during your campaign this past year?
CMB: As much attention as the press pays to the resurgence of big government liberalism – portraying President Obama as the next FDR - it was refreshing to see the outpouring of support I received from conservatives all across the country who rushed to my side when things got tight in the last couple weeks of my campaign. This cuts into question 2 a little bit, but I saw firsthand that conservatism is not dead; it just needs to be reignited and given a direction.
SGP: There seems to be a struggle going on for the Republican Party. What are your thoughts on the current direction of the party? Should it continue to be more centrist or move back to conservative principles?
CMB: As I said in the first question, conservatism is not dead, no matter how much the main stream media, liberal elites, and others may want it to be – it just needs to be reignited. Republicans squandered our opportunity to lead our country for decades to come because we threw conservative policies and principles aside in place of big government programs and spending. Plain and simple, we governed like liberals. Spending skyrocketed, the size of government multiplied, the debt grew, and the conservative ideals Republicans came to power on were left by the wayside.
Interestingly, the Democrats co-opted our ideas for their message and grew their majority. The ranks of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats in Congress have swelled, and simultaneously, the numbers of centrist Republicans have diminished greatly.
SGP: What are your thoughts on the Republican National Committee Chair race and are you publicly supporting a candidate?
CMB: I am not publicly supporting any candidate and obviously don’t have a vote in this race, but I do hope that whoever is chosen understands the need for true conservative leadership and sees the value in developing our message through the latest technologies and communication. We can’t afford to let the youngest generation of voters continue their love affair with the Democrat Party. We must make it clear that we are the real party of change; we are and always have been the real party of reform and innovation. We have to get the message out to the online generation that conservative policies give us the ability to keep more of our money … and more of our freedom. We must remind Americans that they don’t answer to government, government answers to them.
SGP: Minnesota has always been well respected for its fair elections. In light of the Coleman/Franken race, are you confident that the people of Minnesota can trust in the election systems and that their votes will count?
CMB: I think this process has been an utter embarrassment. We made up the rules of the game as we went along. Democrats have claimed to be the party upholding the “one man, one vote” principle; but this race has made it clear that that principle only holds for them when it benefits them. I would like to say how proud I am of Norm Coleman, who has been a good Senator and a good friend. He has conducted himself with dignity throughout this process, while assertively fighting for what’s right.
SGP: How do you move forward with your agenda in the wake of the partisanship being played today? Do you believe that President-elect Obama will truly reach across the aisle and work with Republicans?
CMB: To be honest, the partisanship of the White House doesn’t scare me half as much as the partisanship of the Democrat leadership in the Congress. I expect that they will look to seize this opportunity to ram through enormous spending bills, Big Labor agenda items, and liberal social policies.
Just look at the first couple of weeks of the 111th Congress: The Senate pushes through its land grab; both houses push through massive changes to employment law that benefit no one but trial lawyers; the so-called $825 billion stimulus package is rushing into law. This is likely only a preview of the next two years.
SGP: With the losses in November, grassroots organizations, such as SGP, have sprung up all over the internet. You, yourself, are participating on Twitter. How do we quickly modernize the Party to meet the tech and communication challenges into 2010, 2012, and beyond?
CMB: Early in 2007, I brought on a staffer to map out and administer an effective new media strategy and its paid enormous dividends. It helps me to communicate with my constituents in ways that are convenient and useful to them. Most people don’t realize that when the Democrats took over Congress they instituted a 5-day Washington workweek. Unlike the Republicans, who worked 3 long days in Washington and then sent Members home to their districts for 4 days to talk to their constituents, the Democrats believe that all good ideas come from inside the Washington Beltway. By using new media outlets – like Twitter and Facebook – as well as new technologies, like telephone townhalls, I can keep in touch with my constituents even when I’m not able to be with them face-to-face.
If nothing else, the 2008 elections revealed to everyone how far ahead the Democrat Party is in embracing the latest forms of communication and technology. I hope the incoming RNC Chairman sees this and makes fixing this one of his top priorities, and that more members in the House and Senate embrace these highly effective media tools.
Fortunately, I’ve already seen in the first two weeks of the 111th Congress a greater emphasis from Republican House Leadership on new media, urging every Member to develop their own outlets like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. As hard as this may be to believe, some Members here on the Hill are still adjusting to email, never mind Facebook; so it will be a longer process for some. But as our leadership makes the transition, that will only help each Member do the same.
SGP: With all the debt we have created through the bailouts, it seems the only way out is to grow the economy. Is energy independence (developing our natural energy resources as well as building nuclear plants, etc) still the "magic bullet" to get America's economy on the right track?
CMB: It’s certainly a key part. Now that gas prices have subsided, nobody wants to talk about energy anymore. This concerns me because once the global economy begins to stabilize, we are going to be right back where we were in 2007 paying $4 a gallon or higher if we don’t enhance our production and utilize America’s own resources.
Not only would increased domestic production be an enormous job creator, but it would put our nation on a path towards greater energy independence which only helps our economy in the long run – not to mention our national security.
SGP: Only 7% of the candidates who ran under the Republican ticket this year were women. How do we encourage more young women to get involved in politics? What steps can we take to identify and support women candidates for office?
CMB: That’s a great question in which there’s no simple answer. I don’t think the problem is that Republican women aren’t involved in the political process – as activists around the country and Congressional staffs are certainly not underrepresented by women - but it’s making that leap to actually run for office where Republicans are lacking. I think as time goes on, more and more Republican women will run themselves as more Republican women make the national spotlight. And, what a great boon that will be not only for our Party, but for the country. Republican women bring a special perspective to the way we govern, and that’s a perspective we can use more of.
SGP would like to thank the Congresswoman for her time and participation. Please continue to check back for more interviews in the "A Profile in Conservatism" series.