Michele Bachmann’s speech announcing her departure from the presidential field emphasized the singular importance of repealing Obamacare. Referring to Howard Chandler Christy’s painting of the signing of the Constitution, which hangs in the United States Capitol, she said:
“[N]ever [was] the painting’s poignant reminder more evident than on the evening of March 21, 2010. That was the evening that Obamcare was passed, and staring out from the painting [were] the faces of the Founders….That day served as the inspiration for my run for the President of the United States, because…I knew that it was my obligation to ensure that President Obama’s program of socialized medicine was stopped before it became fully implemented. And so my message has been the necessity [of] the complete repeal of Obamacare in this once-in-a-lifetime campaign cycle for the presidency, because Obamacare represents the largest expansion of entitlement spending in our country’s history…[and] Obamacare violates our fundamental liberties as Americans, including, for the first time in the history of our country, [providing] taxpayer-funded abortion….
“The implementation of Obamacare [would] represent a turning point for our country and our economy. And I worried what a future painting in Christy’s vein might depict should Obamacare be ultimately placed into effect. Would future generations ask of us gathered here today, what did we do, what did we give, what did we sacrifice, to ensure the survival of this incomparable republic?
“...Mr. Franklin and all the founders, all the men, all the women who have given their last full measure of devotion, and our military, our veterans, are watching us. They’re expecting us to stand up and protect what they’ve fought to give us, and so we owe it to them and to our posterity and to the God that we serve who created us, who gave us life in our very being, to keep our republic free.”
Despite her wise, determined, and steadfast opposition to Obamacare, Bachmann’s campaign failed to gain traction. She could have gone a long way on the strength of that message, but her campaign was undone principally by three things:
One, she didn’t generally convey in clear, comprehensible terms exactly why Obamacare is probably the single worst piece of legislation in all of American history. Too often, she focused on its individual mandate and left it at that.
Two, as a representative with only five years’ experience (as of today) in Congress, she pretty clearly had the weakest resume of anyone in the field (aside from Herman Cain, who of course dropped out earlier).
Three, like Tim Pawlenty before her, she attempted to become the alternative to Mitt Romney not by challenging Romney directly and thereby effectively auditioning for the job, but rather by attacking other candidates in the field. Pawlenty focused his attacks primarily on Bachmann, whereas Bachmann vigorously went on the attack against Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. (In that sense, she truly was the anybody-but-Romney candidate.)
Bachmann’s exit opens the door for one of the remaining contenders to become the anti-Obamacare candidate. That position must be filled, and whichever candidate claims it would be well positioned to expose Romney’s greatest weakness.