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This video of Michele Bachmann explaining why she's against the sequester is four weeks old, but I saw it for the first time yesterday. The thing that's really striking about it is that Bachmann spends a good chunk of the video trying to sound like she's a progressive Democrat fighting to save the social safety net and preserve government operations:
I voted no on sequestration. I thought it was a very bad idea because it indiscriminately hurts the most vulnerable among us. I don't want to see that happen. [...] We've also heard that the airport control tower may be shut down in St. Cloud. This is wrong [to cut] essential functions.
Bachmann didn't completely abandon her support for spending cuts, but she avoided the harsh rhetoric we've come to expect from her and instead emphasized protecting "the most vulnerable among us":
I want to make sure that we balance our budget and I want to make sure we don't spend more money than we take in, but I think we need to prioritize our spending so those who are the most vulnerable among us are taken care of.
Obviously, Bachmann is completely full of it on a substantive level. She tries to make it sound like she voted against the sequester because she thought it cut too much, but the reality is she voted against it because she was opposed to raising the debt ceiling without even deeper cuts. To Bachmann, the problem with the sequester was that it wasn't right-wing enough.
And just last week, she—along with all but 10 of her House Republican colleagues—voted for the Ryan budget, which not only makes the sequester permanent, but cuts spending by an additional 10 percent. So she really is pushing a truckload of hypocrisy here when it comes to her record.
But even though it's hypocritical and dishonest for Bachmann to pretend that she's a champion of the social safety net or fully-funding essential government functions like air traffic control, the point I'm making here is that when a Republican like Michele Bachmann tries to distance herself from austerity, you know the GOP has lost the spending argument. They might be trapped by their base from actually doing anything about it, but when even Michele Bachmann is talking about trying to protect the vulnerable, it's clear that Republicans are playing defense—and one of the keys for Democrats who want to win in 2014 will be making sure the GOP doesn't get away with it.