Rep. Michele Bachmann owes much of the support that fueled her presidential campaign to her ties with the tea party, but she is now finding out that the fiercely decentralized movement can be a double-edged sword. One of her fellow tea partiers is calling for Bachmann to pull the plug on her campaign.
“It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go,” Ned Ryun, president of a tea party group called American Majority, wrote on the group’s blog. Ryun said that Bachmann, the founder of the House tea party caucus, should pull the plug on her campaign out of respect for the activists she purports to represent. “Every day the campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement,” he wrote.
“It is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books,” he added.
In a statement, Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian dismissed Ryun as a supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and contended that his opinions do not represent those of the movement activists. “Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the tea party,” Nahigian said.
Perry has emphasized his ties to the evangelical movement, but Ryun in his blog post criticizes Bachmann for doing the same. The congresswoman is deemphasizing the tea party’s message of limited government and highlighting “social issues and religion” in an effort to pick up more support from Republican caucus and primary voters, he wrote, arguing that this is a strategic mistake. “Those fiscal issues which attract Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats alike must continue to be the focus,” he wrote.