Reporting Pat Kessler
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – The Republican-controlled House did not take a debt ceiling vote until now, in part, because of major unrest among its most conservative members, including Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann said she is a no vote “under any circumstance” and has made a career of bucking the party establishment, and Republican leaders, exerting Tea Party power in a GOP caucus in which she is not “one of them.”
She has established a reputation as a Tea Party power during her three successful campaigns for Congress in Minnesota.
Courting the Tea Party, Bachmann’s now popular campaign trail refrain is that, “Barack Obama will be a one term president!”
Bachmann also formed the first ever Tea Party caucus in Congress, and delivered the first ever Tea Party response to the State of the Union.
“The tea party is a dynamic force for good in our nation’s conversation!,” said Bachmann.
The Tea Party response caused a sensation: Republican leaders privately fumed, because it overshadowed their own response by Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan.
Long-time Bachmann watchers say Bachmann and the Tea Party have successfully formed a political alliance potent enough to ignore the Republican establishment.
“What Congresswoman Bachmann has done is provided another cue,” said University of Minnesota political science professor Kathryn Pearson. “And that’s the cue of absolutely voting no, and not working with the mainstream party leaders to work out a compromise.”
Bachmann is now the Tea Party’s de facto 2012 presidential candidate, gaining national traction fast and wielding out-sized influence back in Washington, too.
At the National Press Club Thursday, Bachmann reasserted her no vote on the debt ceiling, declining to respond when asked if House Speaker Boehner should be ousted.
“I am running for President of the United States. I am not running for Speaker of the House, ” said Bachmann.
Ironically, Bachmann once sought a leadership post as one of John Boehner’s lieutenants when Republicans took control of the House last year, but she was rebuffed.