Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) took to the “Today” show this morning to say a bunch of nuthin’. Sure, she was invited to give her view of what President Obama has done in Libya. But when given the opportunity to say what SHE would do if she were in the Oval Office, Bachmann did something worse than punt on the answer. She rattled off a list of attack talking points that added nothing to the debate.
Bachmann is known for being relentlessly on-message. And today was no different.
Matt Lauer asked her what she would have done if she’d been president on March 17, the day Libyan madman Moammar Gaddafi said he would slaughter the people of Benghazi. Having already called the Libya campaign “President Obama’s war,” Bachmann said we had not seen a threat to the United States or American interests; that humanitarian intervention is the new Obama doctrine and that the U.S. was now committed to using its military in every humanitarian crisis facing the planet. She would go back to that haven no matter how many times Lauer asked her for a specific answer. He asked her five times.
Bachmann isn’t alone in her isolationist views. But by saying, “I would not have gone in,” she would have turned a blind eye to genocide. As Obama said Monday, “To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and, more profoundly, our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.”
Also, Bachmann would have completely ignored an immediate concern with far-reaching implications. “America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him,” Obama said Monday. “A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful — yet fragile — transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.”
The lesson here? Sometimes it is in our vital national interest to ensure that an international crisis doesn’t become a pressing national interest. Ruth Marcus shows why action was justified in her column today.
Again, after watching Bachmann parry with Lauer, I have to admit to a grudging respect for her. She has never said anything I agree with. But Bachmann’s willingness to defend her one-dimensional, glassy-eyed views on the “Today” show, “Meet the Press” or any venue that is not the safe confines of Fox News, Twitter and Facebook is admirable. That being said, I would love to get those five minutes of my life back.