Republican Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann gave an emotional tribute to the late Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs at an appearance in his old stomping grounds. Appearing at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, a little over forty miles North of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, Ms. Bachmann described Mr. Jobs as “an icon” who was “loved.”
Ms. Bachmann made her comments about Mr. Jobs while speaking about reviving America’s “competitive edge.”
“The passing, unfortunately, of Steve Jobs saddens every one of us, I’m sure, in this room, because he was more than just a co-founder of this marvelous company known as Apple, he was an icon who represented the greatest of competitiveness,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann praised Mr. Jobs as an example of America’s history of technological innovation.
“He never settled constantly for asking employees if they had produced their best product. That’s what we loved about Steve Jobs, we’ve always been about being on the cutting edge, leading the world in new ideas and the latest innovations. … Steve Jobs represented the ideal at its best,” Ms. Bachmann said.
As if she thought some in the audience might still be doubting the greatness of Mr. Jobs, Ms. Bachmann attempted to describe the miracle of the iPod.
“Who could have imagined, just a few years ago, that holding in our hands right now, or your back pockets, or in your pocketbooks, would be a small device that would fit just in the center point of your hand, that would contain all of your music collection, your camera, a videocamera, your photo collection, your phone and an encyclopedia all connected in one small device?” Ms. Bachmann asked.
Ms. Bachmann answered her own question.
“Who could have imagined? Steve Jobs imagined. And he and his team have changed our world for the better,” she said.
Ms. Bachmann framed the entire discussion of her economic policy around Mr. Jobs’ legacy. She said her plan would fuel the “the next generation of Steve Jobs” by creating an “increase in competitiveness and increase in innovation” through a favorable business tax rate and the elimination of government regulation that’s “stifling American innovation and competition.”
“We must abolish the U.S. tax code and replace it with a fairer, flatter, more simple one that has at its core a corporate rate that is one of the lowest in the industrialized world,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann’s deregulation spree would start with Environmental Protection Agency rules that lower corporate profit margins.
“I will repeal massive government over-regulation beginning with the E.P.A., which is killing literally thousands of jobs in the United States,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann promised the crowd her brand of conservative, laissez faire capitalism would create a favorable climate for Silicon Alley’s tech industry.
“As President, I want to assure you that I will signal, by way of leadership to innovators, that the time has come to once again unleash the genius of Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’ working to create the wealth of our nation. Because what drives investment and the execution of innovative ideas is an environment, a business environment that fosters it,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann said Mr. Jobs would endorse her vision of smaller government, because, he strived for simplicity in his own life and work.
“Government should not displace proprietary functions, that’s what Steve Jobs practiced as one of the keys to his success. I quote from Steve Jobs, simplicity and ‘saying no to one thousand things.’ Instead, the oxymoron of government run businesses is that they say ‘Yes’ to doing everything and will spend anything that’s taxpayer money, because they’re not driven by the need to produce a profit at the end of their balance sheet,” Ms. Bachmann said.
To hammer her point home with the Silicon Valley crowd, Ms. Bachmann namedropped another tech executive–Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
“As we look to the future, as Bill Gates told us, during the last thirty years U.S. innovation, and I quote Mr. Gates, ‘has been the catalyst for the digital information revolution.’ If the United States is to remain a global economic leader, he went on to say, we must foster an environment that enables a new generation to dream up innovation. Talent in this country is not the problem, the issue is political will. I second Mr. Gates’ statement,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann closed on an optimistic note assuring the audience “our time hasn’t passed.”
“Only the baton of responsibility has passed to the next generation of the next Steve Jobs and the next generation of leaders needed to create the competitive economic culture that we must have to flourish,” Ms. Bachmann said.
In the wake of Mr. Jobs’ passing, Ms. Bachmann isn’t the only politician who has attempted to capitalize on his cult status as a Silicon Alley zen master and business guru. Six days after Mr. Jobs’ death, President Obama made a speech that pointed to the the Apple founder’s career as an example of the entrepreneurial activity that could be fueled with his jobs plan, a plan that is very different from Ms. Bachmann’s.