A sample of the ideological purity that some say makes Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) a surprisingly compelling contender for the GOP presidential nomination: Bachmann yesterday said she would support a debt ceiling increase if and only if the deal included the defunding of the new health care law, “the largest entitlement in the history of the country,” as she put it.
During an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Bachmann stated her conditions for an increase: “They’d have to cut an enormous amount [of spending], including they would have to defund Obamacare.”
When Bill O’Reilly reminded Bachmann that repeal isn’t even on the table, she agreed and said, “No and that’s why I can’t go for [a debt limit increase]. I can’t go for it because never will we be able to balance our books ever in the future.”
She also pushed back against O’Reilly’s insistence that no debt ceiling increase would mean default. She stopped short of accusing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner of lying about the probability of default, but didn’t hesitate to repeat adamantly, “He’s wrong, he’s wrong, he’s wrong.”
“Well, of course, it’s not true that anyone wants to see the United States government default on its debt,” she said. “We don’t have to because the fact is we have sufficient revenue coming in to pay off the interest on the debt. We don’t have to default. … All you have to do is look at the books. We have sufficient revenue coming in. We can pay off all of those obligations first — and we must. We always have and we always will.”
What the nation can’t afford, Bachmann says, is another $2.4 trillion in debt or “wasteful Washington programs.”
Bachmann’s position on the debt ceiling — what O’Reilly called the “renegade” position — is a prime example of the way she favors the fight against big government over any kind of so-called legislative accomplishments (which all too often amount to bills passed for the sake of being passed) that could fill the gaps in her congressional record — the “nonexistence” of which has lately taken so much criticism. Of course, to some, that fight she’s been waging — all those “no” votes — amounts to its own kind of record — a record the other candidates lack.