Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann — a favorite of the national tea party movement — was in the St. Louis area Saturday to exhort fellow social conservatives to continue their fight against President Barack Obama, whom she characterized as weak overseas and a dictator at home.
Speaking at a packed Eagle Forum luncheon in Ladue, Bachmann predicted that American voters will respond this fall by putting Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate so that the president’s policies — especially the Affordable Care Act — can be blocked and repealed.
What conservatives need to do, Bachmann declared, is to stand their ground.
“I do believe that the ultimate legacy of Barack Obama will be the establishment of lawlessness of the United States,’’ she said. “We’ve seen it already.”
Only strong Republican victories in the fall can change the course of the country, she said. “Now, the things we warned about four years ago are coming true.”
The Eagle Forum, founded by well-known conservative Phyllis Schlafly, had endorsed Bachmann for president in 2012 because of her tough talk on various issues — especially her opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
Bachmann didn’t disappoint Saturday, telling the crowd that the Affordable Care Act “has to be repealed, it cannot be fixed.”
She contended that Obama and his Democratic allies were using the health insurance program, which includes expanding Medicaid, to advance their quest for a single-payer health care system controlled by the government.
The Affordable Care Act “is not sustainable, it is redistribution of wealth,’’ Bachmann said, citing the program’s subsidies for low- and moderate-income people.
At the luncheon, held at the Deer Creek Club, Bachmann asked if anyone in the room had lost their insurance because of Obamacare. Only one person raised their hand.
But when asked who had seen their premiums or deductibles increased, many did. Bachmann said her family’s premiums and deductibles had quadrupled.
She said the GOP’s success in winning a special congressional election this month in Florida proves that opposition to Obamacare can be a winning message. “That was a bellwether,’’ she said.
Blasts Clinton, calls for GOP to oppose any immigration bill
Bachmann emphasized her support for any lawsuit aimed at blocking some of Obama’s actions and called for Congress to stand firm against any immigration bill — which she said would amount to granting “amnesty’’ for illegal immigrants.
“The last thing Republicans should be doing is helping this president pass the signature issue of his second term, which is amnesty,” she added. “This is craziness for Republicans to be doing this.”
“What doesn’t work is combining open borders with a welfare state,” she said.
Bachmann also took aim at the perceived Democratic front-runner for president in 2016 — Hillary Clinton — and predicted that the former senator and secretary of state will find that her bid won’t “be quite the cakewalk’’ that Democrats believe.
Among other things, Bachmann declared that Clinton is “the godmother of Obamacare’’ because of her unsuccessful effort in the 1990s, to help her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, revamp the nation’s health insurance system.
Bachmann asserted that Clinton should shoulder some of the blame for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to seize Crimea from neighboring Ukraine. “Who is it who handed the Russian president the ‘reset button?’ ” asked Bachmann, contending that Clinton had been too accommodating to Putin.
And most of all, in Bachmann's opinion, Clinton deserves much of the blame for the violence at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
Bachmann repeated the longstanding GOP contention that Clinton had ignored requests for more security at the Benghazi compound.
As for herself, Bachmann — a devout Christian — said she was praying to God about what her political future should be. She has decided not to run for re-election this fall, saying the Lord told her it was time for her to leave Congress.
Still, Bachmann plans to remain in the political arena. "I'm not done, I want to stay fully engaged in the national marketplace of ideas,'' she said.
In response to audience questions, Bachmann recounted at length her concerns about religious violence around the world. She asserted that "the persecution of Christian and Jews across the world today is higher than ever."
Bachmann added that the religious threats weren't just overseas. "You see a tremendous rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses across the United States," she said.