Des Moines, Iowa —
2012 Presidential candidate and former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann continued her pre-caucus campaigning in Iowa by giving a speech about cutting government regulations from within the meat locker of the Amend Packing Company. With knife in hand, Bachmann spoke of how she would cut government regulations and cut away at the excesses of federal restrictions on small businesses.
“Is Washington helping or is Washington hurting?” she asked a small group of business owners and employees in attendence. “What we’ve heard today from this meat market here in Iowa is that Washington is hurting; it’s no longer helping.”
Standing amidst sides of beef hanging from hooks and a short stop in the cutting room where she carved Iowa rib eye steaks, some might think that Bachmann picked a strange location to make a political statement. Some felt that a cutting room was the perfect location to send a strong message to other candidates and Washington that Bachmann is serious about taking a piece out of government regulations, even if it means theoretical blood will be spilled.
“Bachmann has been accurate in portraying just how damaging Washington has been to Iowa’s small businesses,” a local restaurant owner said Wednesday morning. “In business, you find out really quick that if you outspend yourself, you’re going to fail. Well, Washington outspends all of us, yet they insist that they get more and more pieces of our pie as well. They’re strangling the life out of small businesses, the ones that truly drive our economy.”
Bachmann’s visit wasn’t lengthy so much as it was pointed. Bachmann focused on how the staff of Amend, which is a mere six-person staff, included one employee whose total work load is devoted to compliance with federal food-safety standards and regulations. Bachmann pointed out a binder on hand that was filled with the federal requirements and said, “It is more regulation than this business has ever had before…government has gotten in and made it almost impossible to be able to create a profit anymore in this business.” Bachmann’s use of “overkill” in regards to how many processes the company must pass through in order to meet the requirements drove her point home.
“We want to have safety…at the same time we want to have some common sense,” Bachmann stated. “Iowa’s filled with common sense.”
That Iowa common sense spilled over against Bachmann, however, on September 10, 2011, when she wore a half-Iowa, half-Iowa State jersey to press the flesh during the tailgate event outside Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, prior to the in-state rivalry called the Cy-Hawk Showdown. Many in attendence felt that not only had Bachmann alienated them by choosing to flip burgers and campaign at an event many Iowans hold sacred to the sport of football, but also that she was reluctant to choose a side. The common sense of Iowans that day was that she should have picked a side and stood by it, even if it made her appear to favor one school’s fans over another; one team over another. Other fans enjoyed her appearance and a chance to get to meet her first-hand and have a real conversation. Some fans voiced their opinion on the Des Moines Register’s website.
“It wasn’t offensive that she chose to show up to the game,” an Iowa fan from Grimes said after the event. “It was strange to me that she chose to use the Cy-Hawk event as a soap box, though. She has good ideas, but honestly, choosing to wear a mixed Cyclone/Hawkeyes jersey and then not even stay for the game itself was an affront to many of us football-loving Iowans. We’re here for the game. We’re here for the rivalry. Political rivalry has 364 other days to play. There is only one day for the annual Cy-Hawk Showdown.”
When asked for her take on the situation, the man’s wife admitted, “I think it’s great that she is strong on what her values are and that she stands up for them. Was coming to the tailgating party just a political stunt…perhaps, but she’s trying to get to know Iowans. The Iowa Caucuses are very important to the nominating process, and I guess she felt that would be a way to connect to [Iowans]. Most of those around us who saw her wanted their pictures taken with her. I think she showed she is down to earth and willing to get involved with the people, and that is a nice change from some politicians who’ve visited the state.”
Bachmann missed the exciting and record-breaking three overtime Cyclones win over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Bachmann issued a statement Tuesday regarding the U.N., possible recognition of an independent Palestinian state and the appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying that he is an “enemy of the United States of America.” She stated she felt President Barack Obama should disallow the Iranian from entering the U.S. to speak to the United Nations council. “He has proven that he is in violation of the United Nations charter and of international law. Since he is in the most literal sense an outlaw, he should not be allowed in the United States of America,” Bachmann stated.
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