LOS ANGELES -- Inside a sprawling ballroom at a downtown Marriott, Michele Bachmann last night addressed a crowd of about 400 GOP delegates and party members on the first evening of the California Republican Party convention.
During her address, Bachmann reiterated the core vows of her stump speeches -- repealing President Obama’s health care law, striking down the Dodd-Frank banking regulations, and opening up exploration of domestic energy sources.
“As president, I will not rest until we repeal ObamaCare,” Bachmann told the convention, describing the health-care law as a symbol a federal government grown too large. “For the first time in our nation’s history,” she said, “the federal government has said to all of us, you will buy a product or service because the government told you so, as a condition of your citizenship in the United States.”
The comment provoked scattered boos. “Have you ever heard of anything so malicious?” Bachmann said.
Bachmann’s vows, though delivered in the language of personal liberty, also form the basis for a prescription on improving the economy. “If we legalize American energy production,” Bachmann said, “we would create 1.4 million high-paying jobs.”
She added that “we have billions and billions of barrels of oil here in the United States,” and domestic energy opportunities are the “great untold story you don’t see on the evening news.”
It was on matters of foreign policy that Bachmann seemed to take her stump message further, offering a critical view of the so-called “Arab Spring” and voicing sympathy for Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. “We saw President Mubarak fall while President Obama sat on his hands,” Bachmann said. “And we’ve also seen now the rise of radical elements all across the Middle East region.”
Bachmann also attacked President Obama for dismantling the shuttle program, arguing that the move will limit access to strategic satellites. “No other nation can touch the dominance that the United States has in space. But here again, Barack Obama has weakened us,” Bachmann said. That comment introduced an opportunity for Bachmann to pay homage to California’s most legendary Republican -- and with it came perhaps the clearest statement yet of Bachmann’s own foreign-policy philosophy.
“While I want to have peaceful relations with all nations,” she said, “I also believe that Ronald Reagan led the way again. He said that we have those relations with adopting the policy of peace-through-strength.”
At the end of the speech, there was a light moment -– showing, perhaps, that there is diplomacy in her approach, too. Near the ballroom, a band began playing. Soon, bass notes vibrated along the room’s thick carpet, traveling up tables and rattling the china.
“That must be the exit music,” Bachmann said. “I’ll have to wind up.”