Hypocrisy Watch: Michele Bachmann on the Federal Dole

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Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
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Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who moments ago officially launched her bid for the 2012 GOP nomination, wants the federal government out of the business of ... basically, governing. She claims to believe the main thing standing between America and maximum awesomeness is big spending Big Government. Moreover, when asked in 2009 by Bill O'Reilly why she was so reviled by liberals, she said it's because "I don't need government to be successful." So this, as reported by the LA Times on Saturday, is awkward:

[T]he Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin, in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration's stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district. Although she has been a fierce critic of earmarks — calling them "part of the root problem with Washington's spending addiction" — the congresswoman nonetheless argued recently that transportation projects should not be considered congressional pork.

Confronted with the report on the Sunday talk shows, Bachmann said "My husband and I did not get the money." (She's a lawyer after all.)

Big government spending being her signature issue, she's going to have to try a bit harder to straighten this out, including explaining why, for instance:

• In 2008, she voted against the $307 billion farm bill, saying it was "loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork and subsidies for agricultural business and ethanol growers."

...but then, the following year, wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praising the feds for helping the Minnesota pig and dairy industry by buying up products. "I would encourage you to take any additional steps necessary to prevent further deterioration of these critical industries, such as making additional commodity purchases, " she wrote.

• She strongly objected to the Obama administration's $830-billion stimulus package, saying "I cannot support this new direction for the American economy."

... but later wrote six letters to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking for stimulus money for her constituency to expand commuter rail and build a bridge over the St. Croix River.

As Steve Ellis of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense tells the LA Times, "If you want to talk about the debt and deficit and reigning in wasteful spending, you have to look in the mirror and make sure you're living a fiscally pure life as well."

Expect much more along these hilariously hypocritical lines as the campaign unfolds.

Source: Bachmann's had her share of government aid [Los Angeles Times]

Related: Michele Bachmann's Holy War by Matt Taibbi
Video: Michele Bachmann's Craziest Moments