AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AMES, Iowa—Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) used last week’s Standard and Poor’s downgrade to argue that her position against raising the debt limit was the right one — but S&P says different.The 2012 tea party candidate, who is the current favourite among social conservatives, said the downgrade proves that Washington should not be given another blank check on spending — adding that deep spending cuts are needed.
“We just heard from Standard & Poor’s,” she said. “When they dropped our credit rating what they said was we don’t have an ability to repay our debt.”
But Bachmann left out the part that lifting the debt ceiling allowed the government to pay previously incurred bills — and more significantly — that S&P says that intransigent lawmakers like her bear a significant role in the downgrade.
S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji told POLITICO’s Josh Boak Thursday that the downgrade was partially predicated on the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default.”
“That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”
Bachmann voted against every plan offered to raise the debt limit, and said she would only consider raising it if it also repealed President Barack Obama’s signature achievement — health care reform.
Her hard-line stance was just one on display last night. Asked if they would accept a deal to cut the federal deficit that included tax increases — even by a 10:1 ratio — all eight candidates on stage said they would not sign such a bill into law.
S&P blamed such steadfast opposition to raising revenues as another reason for the downgrade.
Bachmann’s statements on the debt ceiling come off either as stunningly uninformed about the issue, or deliberately misleading. Either way, this line of attack will only weaken her campaign with mainstream and business voters.