Terry Jeffrey
Newsweek ran a cover story this week intended to be a brutal hit piece on Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has emerged as a top candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Translated into plain English, however, Newsweek's piece was actually a valuable seminar in why the elitist left fears successful female conservative politicians and why it perceives Bachmann to be a particularly formidable threat to its own ambitions to direct the future of our country.

Early in the article, Newsweek's Lois Romano writes: "But in Iowa, Bachmann's simple, black-and-white distillations of complex problems are cheered as refreshing and tough."

This is intended to be a simultaneous dig at Bachmann's intelligence and the intelligence of Iowans.

Presumably, in the right parts of Massachusetts and suburban Maryland, people would not find Bachmann's "simple, black-and-white distillations" to be "refreshing and tough." Those people, Newsweek's presumed readers, would share the magazine's conviction that the problems America faces are of a complexity that would strain the understanding of the common denizens of Des Moines and Davenport -- let alone a conservative such as Bachmann.

But if Bachmann and Iowans believe the problems America faces are essentially simple rather than complex, they are right and Newsweek is wrong.

America's key problem is plain: We have a federal government that has reached beyond the constitutional limits on its power and is spending more than the nation can afford. The solution is also plain: Push the federal government as much as practically possible back toward its constitutional limits, thus reducing its size and cost.

What is complex is the problem faced by politicians -- especially, but not exclusively, Democrats -- who have built their careers by coddling constituents who have become dependent on government largesse. These politicians must find ways to explain the nation's deepening fiscal crisis, and pose plausible-sounding solutions to it, without threatening to reduce the redistribution of other people's wealth to their voters.

Newsweek's cover story describes Bachmann as follows: "Petite and prim, the 55-year-old mother of five delivers her stump speech with the earnestness of a preacher."

Now, try to imagine Newsweek publishing a similarly constructed sentence about then-Sen. Hillary Clinton during her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Such a sentence would have needed to go something like this: "Stout and cold, the 60-year-old mother of one delivers her stump speech with a sincerity that rivals her husband's."

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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