Tea Party Rift? Jim DeMint 'Disappointed' in Michelle Bachmann Over Pledge

Yahoo Contributor Network

While hawking his new book, The Great American Awakening, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told CNN's Christine Romans on "American Morning" today that the government had to stop spending more than it received in revenues. As part of the ongoing budget battles in Congress, the South Carolina senator has developed a pledge for the Republican candidates to sign that advocates stricter spending policies, but fellow tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, a recent poll climber in the present 2012 GOP field, has not signed on.

DeMint finds Bachmann's reluctance "disappointing."

It does not appear to be a rift in the wording of the "cut, cap, balance" pledge, which is designed to slash spending and balance the budget, but in the overall message. Apparently, according to DeMint, Bachmann does not think the pledge goes "far enough."

Romans asked if the Senator was disappointed. "Yes, I am disappointed," he said. "She says she wants to add things like repealing Obamacare, but my point is: This is not the conservative agenda. What it is is one focus we have to have is we have to stop spending more than we're bringing in. Let's let the states decide. This is a point of leverage. If we don't get a balanced budget now, we probably won't anytime in the next few years, maybe never, and we could bankrupt our country in the next 18 months."

Part of that "bankrupt" status comes in the form of whether or not the nation is able to pay its debts, which currently it can only do if it is allowed to borrow enough money with which to maintain operations. According to law, the debt ceiling would have to be raised in order for the U. S. Treasury to borrow enough to pay and keep the nation solvent. Otherwise, according to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the government will have to shut down everything save essential government operations after Aug. 2. However, Michele Bachmann, in keeping with her tea party agenda (the Minnesota Republican also is the elected leader of the House Tea Party Caucus), maintains that she will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, which is, in effect, curbing spending.

In short, Bachmann seems to agree with Sen. DeMint's pledge, she just seems to think it should include a bit more, like repealing the health care reforms.

But Bachmann just might be shooting herself in the political foot with single-mindedness when dealing with the Health Care reforms issue. Sen. Jim DeMint is considered somewhat of a "kingmaker" when it comes to politicians, his favor curried by any and all that associate themselves with southern, Tea Party, and South Carolina political offices and issues. Of the major 2012 Republican presidential contenders, six have signed his pledge.

A Public Policy Polling South Carolina miscellaneous survey in June showed that Bachmann only garners 13 percent of Republican support when matched up against her GOP colleagues. However, if DeMint were one of the choices for president, her support falls to 5 percent (DeMint: 35 percent).

Refusing to sign Sen. DeMint's pledge might not be a campaign killer, but it could be. South Carolina is traditionally the first primary in the South, a place that has in the past made and broke campaigns. DeMint has stated he will not support a candidate that does not sign his pledge. So disappointing the Senator might lead to Michele Bachmann's disappointment in her run for the presidency.

The South Carolina Primary as yet has no definite scheduled date.

View Comments (1)