COMMENTARY | Although Michele Bachmann said that the press would like to see her and Sarah Palin mud wrestle, they haven’t gotten around to it as yet. But the two most powerful women in Republican political circles have teamed up — of sorts — to toss a little mud in the current dust-up over some alleged words uttered behind closed doors during the debt ceiling talks. They both have taken exception to Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, referring to the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party as “terrorists.”
It all began with a Democratic Caucus closed door meeting on Monday, the day before the Senate approved the plan to raise the debt ceiling. Sources inside the room, according to Politico, said that Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) said, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”
The sources also said that Vice President Biden agreed, saying that they had negotiated with terrorists. However, a spokesperson for Biden later stated that although the word “terrorist” had been used by “several members of Congress” within the room, Biden had not, because he did not believe it to be “an appropriate term in political discourse.” He had also said that the debt ceiling agreement took away the tea party’s “weapon of mass destruction,” a reference to their stance of not lifting the debt limit.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, who happens to be the Tea Party Caucus leader and running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, was quick to capitalize on the slight. She used the situation in a fundraiser email, calling not only for funds to support her candidacy but for signatures for a petition to have Biden apologize for his remarks.
“Only in the bizarro world of Washington is fiscal responsibility sometimes defined as terrorism,” she wrote, asking for donations up to $2,500.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, herself a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, went after the Obama administration shortly afterward. Appearing on “Hannity” on Fox News Channel, where she is a contributor, she said that the President should tell Biden to “tone it down.” She said that Obama only had to look into his own past if he wanted to see “domestic terrorists.”
“He didn’t have a problem palling around with Bill Ayers back in the day when he kicked off his political career in Bill Ayers’ apartment,” she said.
It was familiar territory to Palin, who used Obama’s vague association with the ’60s radical and known member of the Weathermen, an underground and sometimes violent political activist organization, against Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign for the presidency. She accused him numerous times of “palling around with terrorists.”
But will agreement in rhetoric lead to a partnership between Tea Party leader Bachmann and tea party darling Palin? Perhaps. Palin has said she will make her decision on whether or not to run for president in August or September. Either way, she and Bachmann could end up working together — and perhaps appear on a tea party dream ticket.