Michele Bachmann has taken a fair amount of heat lately for various over the top statements about the evils of government spending, from her false claim that 70 percent of food stamp money goes to “bureaucrats” to her false claim that President Obama and his family enjoy $1.4 billion in personal “perks and excess.”
But there’s nothing like a few spending cuts in your own district to concentrate the mind.
Bachmann is, understandably, upset to hear that the Federal Aviation Administration — as part of its move to close air traffic control towers across the country due to sequestration’s spending cuts — will be closing two towers in Bachmann’s district. And she’s suddenly making sense, putting out a statement decrying the sequester cuts and calling for a more “responsible” approach:
“I am deeply disappointed with the FAA’s decision to close the air traffic control towers at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport and St. Cloud Regional Airport. Throughout this decision-making process, I have been in touch with FAA and DOT officials urging them to focus first on eliminating waste and trimming non-essential items in the FAA’s budget before they even consider shutting down essential safety operations. Today’s decision shows a troubling lack of priorities — closing control towers should be a last, not a first, resort.”
She added: “While I certainly agree we need to balance our budget, it must be done in a responsible way that sets priorities, not in an arbitrary way.”
As the Star-Tribune’s headline aptly put it: “FAA tower closings bring sequester home for Bachmann.”
Now, presumably Bachmann would insist that the sequester cuts must be replaced only with other spending cuts, and no new revenues. But the point here is that, with some Republicans trying to cast the sequester as a “victory” for the GOP, not even the ardently anti-government-spending Bachmann can maintain this pretense when it comes to cuts that are hitting her district with particular force. Instead, she’s forced to distance herself from them by positioning herself as an advocate for replacing them with something more “responsible.”
I don’t claim to know how the politics of the sequester will turn out. It likely contains political peril for Obama, too, and Republican officials could very well end up weathering any backlash that takes place. But we’re not even in April yet and the Tea Party warrior queen herself is already crying out for relief. So, yes, this could prove to be a long game.