Rep. Michele Bachmann for President: Attacks on Tea Party darling by the left are irrational

Imagine that you're a political consultant hired by a presidential campaign. Your candidate is young, smart and attractive, and has a fervent fan base. The candidate has got it all - a bachelor's degree and two law degrees, one in tax law; five years of experience as a U.S. Treasury Department attorney in U.S. Tax Court; 10 years of combined experience in a state legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives, and an all-American family that includes five children of her own, a farm and 23 foster children.

That should be a dream candidate, right? But for some reason, the prospect of a Michele Bachmann presidency has failed to garner the respect it deserves. By that I mean any respect whatsoever.

I know from experience. A few months back, while performing the seldom-dignified duty of political punditry, I suggested on "Larry King Live" that I'd like to see her run in 2012, only to be met by laughs from the rest of the mostly liberal panel. King's own response was, "Are you kidding or do you mean that?"

Such condescending incredulity is mind-boggling. Jimmy McMillan, the Rent is Too Damn High candidate in last year's New York gubernatorial race, got more respect from the media than Bachmann does. I bet if Charlie Sheen announced his candidacy, at least a few liberals would ask with a totally straight face, "Well, what's his platform?"

I can understand that the left disagrees with Bachmann's politics - she's a far-right conservative whose platform includes pro-life, pro-family and pro-God positions. But so are Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty. No one outright mocks their presidential aspirations. They are, at the very least, given the benefit of serious consideration. What is it about Bachmann that makes her any less of a serious candidate?

Is it simply that she's a woman? As a postfeminism graduate of the school of equal opportunity, I'm reluctant to play identity politics. And since I resent being called a racist for criticizing President Obama, or a nativist for supporting border control, I won't start now.

Like the irrational attacks on Sarah Palin, those on Bachmann can't just be about her gender. After all, the staunchly conservative Condoleezza Rice does not attract such visceral animosity. Nor does Nancy Pelosi, who is as much of a bleeding-heart Democrat as Bachmann is a red-meat Republican.

So what, then? Are her Midwestern mannerisms any more ripe for mockery than Donald's Trumpisms? Is she any less polished than Joe Biden? Is Hillary Clinton more likable?

Laughing at Bachmann has become a full-time obsession for liberal pundits. Chris Matthews, for one, calls her a "balloon head," accusing her of being in a "hypnotic trance." Rachel Maddow said it was inexplicable that CNN aired her Tea Party response to President Obama's State of the Union address.

As far as that statement was concerned, many liberals simply mocked her for an audiovisual glitch that made it seem as if she were talking with someone off-camera.

How does this incredibly accomplished woman - only the third to represent Minnesota in Congress - fail to impress the same media sages who recently gave their unconditional support to a junior senator from Illinois?

Her detractors seem to have been struck with a serious case of Bachmannitis, the kind of irrational apoplexy that resembles paranoia more than serious analysis. But it's also a compliment, of course. If they weren't afraid of her, they wouldn't care enough to dismiss her.

But the more they bully Bachmann, the more I think I was on to something when I suggested she run in 2012. And now, with rumors swirling that she's considering it, the agita she generates on the left is sure to ratchet up. As far as I'm concerned, that's a sure sign that she's actually got a shot.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

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