In fact, Michele Bachmann had signed a pledge by the Iowa-based "The Family Leader," a socially conservative organization pushing candidates and pastors to sign its pledge: "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family." The pledge obligates signers to commit to:
Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.
Therefore, Bachmann did pledge to protect children from pornography, but not to ban all (or even any) pornography. Moreover, she pledged to do so within the bounds of "official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution" and "fierce defense of the First Amendment's rights of Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech," meaning pornography shouldn't be a federal issue.
Of course, there's no way to tell from the "The Family Leader" pledge Bachmann signed if she possesses a true federalist understanding of the U.S. Constitution. That's perhaps one of the key weaknesses with such pledges. Bachmann's record of fidelity to the U.S. Constitution is better than most congressmen, but she has failed to observe the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on several votes with regard to the USA Patriot Act.
"We have a new war, a new enemy, new tactics," Bachmann said in a June 26 statement defending her vote in favor of the Patriot Act from the House floor. "I worry about that too.... I'm a lawyer. I genuinely am concerned about making sure that we never cross the line as a federal government.... That means that it is constitutional in that the individual American's due process rights are observed because a federal agent first has to go to a judge, a judge has to apply due process to that request. And from there, then access can be given to records, not in an individual's house, from a business."
Of course, the Patriot Act makes no distinctions between businesses and private homes; it merely allows the government to search "any tangible thing." Moreover, the Patriot Act is explicit that the standard of evidence is only "relevant" to an investigation, not the Fourth Amendment's explicit requirements for "probable cause" and particularity, i.e., "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
It's on "national security" issues such as the Patriot Act and America's foreign wars where Bachmann has at times parted company with the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. True constitutionalists have therefore been mostly worried about what she would do as President in these areas, as opposed to her position on social issues or legitimate concerns over her free-market economic credentials (she has said "I'm also an Art Laffer fiend," referring to the "supply side" economics guru who voted for Bill Clinton (twice) and was dead wrong about the housing bubble/bust).
George Washington's Farewell Address advised the United States to avoid unnatural affinity for foreign nations, and excessive hatred of countries:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.... Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.
Bachmann's presidential website rejects this advice, speaking about America's "special relationship with our most trusted ally, Britain," and "our true friend, Israel," while direly warning about " the true threat in the Middle East: a potentially nuclear-armed Iran."
And even though the United States spends about as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, Bachmann claims we don't spend enough on armaments:
We have a President who — in unprecedented fashion — is ravaging our military strength and structure at a time of war, while elevating political correctness over readiness in its ranks. And we have a President who is declaring a premature end to the war on terror against the advice of his own generals.
The latter quip from Bachmann's campaign website refers to Obama's Afghanistan policy, which Backmann expounded upon in a June 29 interview with National Public Radio: "It appears for President Obama that he is acting more on political strategy than military strategy. That's very concerning, because it also seems that this is more the Obama-Biden plan for early withdrawal, as opposed to the Petraeus plan. Gen. Petraeus, who's in charge of winning the war effort in Afghanistan, understands that we need to win the war on terror. We must never forget that 9/11 was hatched in the caves and the mountains of Afghanistan. The Taliban has a presence there. Al-Qaida has a presence there. We must defeat them in their backyard. And it's important that Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Allen have the resources that they need to be successful in southern Afghanistan and then also in eastern Afghanistan." (On the other hand, Bachmann has voted for Libya troop withdrawal.)
On the whole, Bachmann's foreign policy mimics neo-conservative foreign policy more than it resembles the Founders' view or the non-interventionist view of Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Washington Post took note of this divergence from typical Tea Party skepticism of foreign military adventurism in a July 7 column:
If that sounds close to the position of the leading GOP hawk senators, such as McCain, that’s because it is. In fact, Bachmann met with McCain in late June to discuss national security issues and Afghanistan, according to two sources familiar with the meeting. That’s not to say she is taking his advice directly, but she is seeking his counsel.
This advice and tendency may explain why Bachmann dons the cover of the leading neo-conservative magazine, National Review, this week, under the headline "Daughter of Liberty.
Photo: Michele Bachmann