Monday, August 22, 2011

Will Michele Bachmann be the Next President?

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Michele Bachmann Fights Like A Girl
Bachmann speaks to those who would lose the fight without losing their souls, rather than win a hollow victory
Daren Jonescu
Monday, December 12, 2011
It has been more than thirty years since Margaret Thatcher altered the Western political landscape, helping to save the world from Soviet expansionism while coming as near as anyone could to saving England itself from the cultural and economic quagmire that, since her departure, has continued to deepen. Nevertheless, over the past few months the most serious female presidential candidate in U.S. history—and the one most similar in principles to the early Thatcher—has been treated as an also-ran by both the mainstream and Republican-leaning media, as well as subjected to unfounded accusations of incompetence or instability—from conservatives.
There was Tim Pawlenty’s suggestion that her susceptibility to headaches (an ailment she shares with Thomas Jefferson) renders her unfit to govern. Then there was George Will’s judgment, apparently pulled straight out of the ether, that she could not be trusted with her finger on the nuclear trigger. (They said the same of Reagan.) Perhaps the concern is that if she had a headache and went stumbling blindly in search of her painkillers, she might inadvertently hit The Big Red Button, thus starting World War III. Never having been in the White House, I had naively assumed there would be safeguards to prevent such a mishap, like secret codes and a military chain of command and stuff; but Will and Pawlenty, who have been in the White House, seem to think it’s a possibility, so who am I to object?
No, I do not believe that the Republican Establishment’s objection to Bachmann is that she’s a woman. The objection, rather, is that she is not a man—where by “man” I mean “an accredited member of the Washington Insider’s Club.” She doesn’t talk the way we expect modern politicians to talk. Her public persona, in debates and interviews, does not fall easily within the accepted norms of TV-age politicians. She tends to speak in bold colors. She talks about over-arching issues much more comfortably than about niggling details. She delineates issues with a view to their long-term ramifications, where long-term does not mean two years, but two decades, or two generations. Worst of all, she infuses all issues about which she speaks with a moral tinge—which is to say that she instinctively hones in on the moral implications of public policy, rather than merely on the pragmatic, outcome-oriented aspect of decision-making.
This last trait, the morality-colored glasses, is particularly troubling to today’s Establishment types, for whom politics is about winning, at least as much as it is about being right. Bachmann speaks to those who would lose the fight without losing their souls, rather than win a hollow victory. A Gingrich or Romney presidency would be hollow victory on a grand scale, sucking the wind out of America’s burgeoning constitutionalist revival while doing little—or, more likely, nothing—to change the fundamental premises of the Establishment’s workings. That is to say, the multi-generational project of rekindling the notion of a constitutional republic, not only in rhetoric but in practice, will require more than lip-service critiques of the current Establishment’s follies. It will require the slow, bottom-up creation of a new Establishment. Establishmentarianism, per se, is not the problem; George Washington was the Establishment in his time. The challenge is to transmogrify the Establishment into something noble, something with purposes and ideals higher than the next election cycle.
Joseph Conrad said that women hate irony. He meant it as a criticism; as they are more inclined towards naive belief in the good, the true and the beautiful, women are more likely to be angered than pleased at the cleverness that undercuts and casts doubt upon fundamental principles. Conrad, however, was writing in an age in which irony was an intellectual art, a means of broadening understanding by way of refusing to allow the mind to say “Stop here.” Today, we live in an age of universalized, and hence diminished, irony. Everyone is wised-up; everyone sees through everything; everyone thinks that matters of the most crushing importance are merely intellectual games, mass media games, power games. In such a morally decrepit climate, irony is not a means of enlightenment. It is just a fancy name for cynicism, which is the enemy of enlightenment.
In such a climate, civilization needs leaders who are not ironists, at least not in the modern, diminished sense. In Conrad’s terms, civilization needs women. To put it more simply, America manifestly does not need more “big ideas,” “big schemes,” and “big hopes,”—i.e. more big government. What she needs is a voice of conscience to speak to the present crisis as a moral crisis of historic proportions.
It is certain that among this year’s primary contenders, Bachmann has the most credibility as this kind of moral conservative. By “moral conservative,” I do not mean a Christian conservative, or a social conservative. (Rick Santorum is also strong in these latter areas, of course.) I mean someone who can articulate the economic crisis as a moral crisis, and who can propose financial solutions that are grounded in an understanding of the moral nature of the problem. For this is the only way to change paths in the permanent manner that is required. The goal cannot be merely to balance the budget, for example. The goal must be to demonstrate to the electorate that a balanced budget is a practical manifestation of a particular moral position on the relationship between government and citizen. This is what Bachmann’s manner of articulating the issues achieves most effectively—if people will listen.
Bachmann’s practical problem is that, in the age of TV ratings and Twitter politics, her strength, which is the strength most needed at this time, is obscured
Bachmann’s practical problem is that, in the age of TV ratings and Twitter politics, her strength, which is the strength most needed at this time, is obscured. The superabundance of repetitive, sound-bite-focused debates is most beneficial to the cute talkers, the Six Point Plan guys, the “ironists” in the modern sense. How would Lincoln, Jefferson, or Madison have fared in such a setting? It is impossible to know, and speculation is futile. What can be said, however, is that the ideas that have allowed those men to be regarded as giants today would not have played well in the modern debate format, in which one must make all of one’s arguments in the form of one minute speechettes: One broad point (but not too broad, lest it require some long-winded explanation of, say, two minutes); two details naming circumstances related to the broad point (rapid-fire delivery is effective, as it creates the impression that one is really up on the issue, while also making careful scrutiny of your information difficult); a name-drop (calculated to appeal to the particular audience in attendance); and a summation, preferably featuring a pre-fab zinger, citing oneself as the only person who has anything worthwhile to say on this issue (just keep going until the moderator says your minute is up).
This format does not suit Bachmann well, at least from the cynical point of view. That is to say, even when, as often happens, she makes a great point, and makes it well, it generally plays awkwardly with the audience—and presumably with TV viewers—because modern voters typically do not see themselves as they really are, namely, as people being asked to think about what is best for the future of their country, but rather as aloof “observers,” as pseudo-strategists. When such people hear an argument offered in obvious cynical calculation, they do not think, “Phoney!” Rather, they think, “That was smart; it’ll play well with Hispanics/Tea Partiers/Jews/Whomever.” In other words, they imagine themselves as the ones who can see through it, while assuming that no one else can. Furthermore, that cynical, pseudo-sophisticated point of view actually becomes their own means of judging candidates. That, it seems to me, is at least half of what people mean when they talk about “electability.” They are praising a politician—and supporting him—for being able to fool people, as though this were a virtue.
(This explains how Bill Clinton rose in popularity after everyone saw him lying through his teeth in his video testimony. Seeing him engage in sophistries about the meaning of “is”—sophistries whereby he tossed a young lover into the trash with a casualness that would be shocking in a psychopath—millions of ordinary, reasonable people thought, “Wow, I can’t believe he pulled that off—what a guy!”)
When Bachmann talks about the impact of the debt on national security, by way of interest owed to China, the audience goes quiet. When she says 2012 will be America’s last chance to repeal socialized medicine, the audience goes quiet. When she says she is running for President because she sees that the nation is on the brink of collapse, some think she sounds silly. When she says the United States is living in a fantasy of being a wealthy nation, while in fact being broke, listeners stare at their hands. When she says every adult citizen should pay some taxes, some people may cringe a little, thinking, “Oh, she just alienated the 47% who don’t pay taxes.”
Many will regard her as a schoolmarm, a nagging wife, “Nanny Michele.” In the Christian era, the traditional role of women has indeed included the function of settling men down, civilizing them, reminding them of their responsibilities. “Eat your peas” is a mother’s dictum. Men don’t like to be reminded of their souls, which means of their future, but women remind them anyway—and men, along with society as a whole, are better off for it.
Sarah Palin was appealing to many Tea Partiers precisely because of her ability to fight with the boys. She could take as good as she got, and she wouldn’t back down. Michele Bachmann’s is a somewhat different appeal. Attack mode seems unnatural to her. In the stand-up debates, she looked small among all those men, and seemed uncomfortable trading shots. She is in her element when, as in the Thanksgiving Forum, she is pouring water for all the men, and then sitting down to remind them of what they need to be focused on. Like a good wife or mother, she plays the role of conscience very well. In other words, she is the moral advocate at the table, and in your head, who, if you are not already too far gone, keeps you on the righteous path. To state this another way, she embodies the best elements of the Tea Party.
At this moment, which, as Bachmann consistently reminds Americans, may truly be the penultimate moment for their nation, it is not enough to have some pretty good policy ideas, as a few of the candidates do, or to look and sound like a politician (not to say statesman) in a way that appeals to the cynics. One must also know why winning is necessary, and be able to explain it to the voters. What’s more, one must be able to instill in the citizens of a pop culture world a sense, not only of history, but of the faint death-cry of a too long-neglected future. The task is Herculean—perhaps, in fact, too much to hope for from any one man. So how about trying one woman?
Daren Jonescu has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He currently teaches English language and philosophy at Changwon National University in South Korea. He can be reached at d_jonescu@yahoo.ca
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The Case for Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann is the clearest conservative voice in the primaries. She is the most legitimate representative of the Tea Party in this process
Daren Jonescu
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Republican Establishment long ago settled on Mitt Romney as its preferred representative. Endless commentary and polling was expended trying to create the broad impression that he was the inevitable choice anyway, so conservatives should just get on board. The effort was wasted. The early stages of the primary process established only one thing with absolute certainty: Tea Party conservatives, the most serious and motivated faction in the process, will not support Romney.
What was described as “strong and steady” polling early on has revealed itself for what it really was all along: a flat-lining campaign. No amount of money and organization was able to will Romney past that twenty-five percent barrier. The “flavor of the week” challengers, as some have tried to dismiss them, are not going away. That is to say, the names may change, but the impetus to seek alternatives will not.
Recognizing this, even some Establishment types are beginning to look for a
Plan B. Some believe they have found it in Newt Gingrich. They have a point: He is a clever enough politician to have understood better than Romney which way the wind was blowing, and he has found his way into, if not the hearts, then at least the frightened calculation, of some conservatives. The problem with Gingrich, however, is that his career reveals him to be a man for whom “which way the wind is blowing” is more than just a tactical consideration: it is his core. He does not want to save his country as much as he wants to be world-famous for doing so. Newt is for Newt. Part of his method is to find a trend, and then leap onto it with such gusto that he almost appears to be the leader of the movement. One recent example of this was his big Social Security proposal, delivered with the typical Gingrich white paper brio–and which, at its essence, was merely a reiteration of the plan, modelled on the Chilean system, which Herman Cain had been pitching for months.
On the subject of Gingrich the political animal, George Will makes the point succinctly in his Dec. 4 column:
“[He] embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything.”
Gingrich is what is sometimes euphemistically called a “big government conservative.” He differs from Obama and the leftists in his goals and strategies, but he agrees with them on a principle more fundamental and dangerous than any particular plan or policy: He believes the government can know how to correct society’s problems, and that the role of statesmen is to implement the kinds of policies and regulations that will solve those problems. The true conservative does not believe in big plans, big ideas, and big systems (Gingrich’s bread and butter). The conservative believes that the “role” of government is to reduce the role of government—to stop having grand visions, and seeking to implement them. The conservative does not believe compassion is a governmental function. The conservative does not believe government can provide happy endings.
The conservative believes that the way a constitutional republic “improves” its citizens is negatively: Leave them to their own devices, let them make their own decisions, protect their rights to life, liberty and property, and allow the resulting need for individual responsibility to inculcate self-reliance, initiative and pride in each citizen, along with mutual good faith and respect among them. If the government will not “take care of” your elderly parents, then you must be there for them. If the government will not “educate” your children, then you must provide for their education. The childish self-absorption which passes itself off as freedom today, and which leads to so many societal ills, will quickly dissipate as people are forced—not by government, but by reality—to think and act for themselves, and to take full responsibility for the results of their choices.
Many conservatives, who are opposed on principle to the Gingrich-style “big ideas” Republican, like to talk about Calvin Coolidge as their ideal: the man who simply walks into the job, manages things around the office for a while, and then resumes his private life, leaving as few fingerprints on the country as possible. The problem, however, is that Western civilization is now so far away from the model of a free and morally healthy society of self-supporting and self-regulating individuals that a new Coolidge will not do. America needs someone who can lead—not in the manner of a grand planner, but in the manner of an effective spokesman for radical change.
For that is the secret of this moment. The radicals are not Obama and the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Those people are merely an extension of the trend of the age. They are trying to accelerate the nation’s progress down an errant path, to be sure, but they are proposing no new path. That is why so many people are unable to see the nightmare future that the Tea Partiers see when they look at America’s trajectory: In truth, Obama’s “transformative” agenda is simply the path of least resistance. The challenge for conservatives, and for the next Republican president, if the next presidency is to be about anything better than a slight change of speed, is to accept that, in the current moral and political climate, they, the conservatives, are the true radicals. They are the ones calling for genuine “transformation,” insofar as they are seeking to unravel almost a century’s progressive defilement of the law and culture of the United States .
The first challenge, then, is to choose a spokesman who understands the dire state of the economy as something bigger than another fiscal bullet to be dodged, or problem to be finessed, but rather as a big red warning sign for civilization: Road Ends.
Secondly, this person must be prepared to stand firm against extraordinary opposition. This is not about thick skin, or clever comeback lines. The President who does what absolutely must be done at this moment must be someone who says, “No, there can be no compromise on basic principles. What’s necessary is necessary. I won’t budge. Go ahead—hate me, call me a failure, accuse me of having no heart, accuse me of being facile and simplistic, produce polls showing that support for my goals is shrinking. The country and the free world cannot afford another leader who worries about appearing out of touch with the academic class, the pundit class, or the popular culture. Politically correct applicants need not apply. Judge me on Election Day.”
Third, this person should have a track record that shows the kind of backbone required to follow through on the first two points. That is to say, as much as Tea Partiers crave an anti-Washington voice in the White House , anti-Washington need not mean a complete Washington outsider. The reason it might appear so is that, in practice, even the brightest hopes of conservatives past have usually shown a weakness for the peer pressure and arm-twisting that passes for collegiality and compromise in Washington. But this is all the more reason to be wary of even the most impressive-seeming outsider: You never know for sure what will happen when he or she becomes an “insider,” and conservatives have been disappointed so many times. No, enough Washington experience to have proven one’s mettle in real fights—not just against Democrats, but against fellow Republicans, the media, everyone—is, if not a necessity, certainly an attractive feature for a Republican presidential candidate to have this time around.
Fourth, the candidate the Tea Partiers seek must be someone who understands the moral underpinnings of the crisis facing America, and have practical—and conservative—suggestions for dealing with it. It must be someone capable of re-instilling in citizens of all backgrounds the (small-r) republican idea of citizenship, of belonging to the community as a proud dues-paying member, rather than as a benefit-seeking dependent. This is the surest way, in the long run, to undermine the Left’s class warfare stratagems, and to peel away the ugly layer of class envy that is so antithetical to the American spirit. Children often resent the authority their parents have over them because they know they are ultimately dependent and unable to support themselves. To create a non-tax-paying “underclass” is to approximate that resentment scenario on a large scale. (Which is why Democrats favor it.) If everyone is contributing, no one need feel indebted to—or resentful of—anyone else.
Is there anyone in this primary race who clearly exemplifies all four of the requirements I have just enumerated?
To ask the question is immediately to see the answer: There is Michele Bachmann.
On the debt ceiling, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and on and on, others in the race are talking big, or gradually calibrating their positions to find the right tone for the Tea Party voter, whereas Bachmann has been solidly on themark all along. What’s more, she has stood her ground on these issues, not only against Nancy Pelosi, but also against the Boehner House’s bullying tactics and ostracism. She has clearly been marginalized and lost opportunities for advancement within Congress as a result of some of her positions. And yet she has stood firm. She has been mocked as a crank, a doomsayer, and an extremist for being so principled. And yet she has stood up to it.
Unapologetic conservative, in spite of having been specifically targeted by the Democrat machine.
She has won three congressional elections as an unapologetic conservative, in spite of having been specifically targeted by the Democrat machine, especially in 2010. She has proven herself willing and able to fight, and to do so without pulling punches (as McCain did against Obama in ‘08).
If Tea Party conservatives are serious this year, as they were in 2010, then they desire three things out of their candidate:
1. Someone willing to fight for the U.S. Constitution, not just rhetorically, but with a defense of the Constitution’s limits on presidential authority that directly corresponds to his or her actual policy proposals (i.e. no “big government conservatism”).
2. Someone prepared to look the nation in the eye and say, “Our current path is suicidal. This is not a policy crisis; it is a principle crisis. America will not survive on this path. This is the fork-in-the-road moment.”
3. Someone who can prove that he or she is not merely saying what is fashionable during the Republican primaries, but was on the right side of this fight even before there was a Tea Party.
Michele Bachmann is the candidate who most consistently answers to these desires. That is why she seemed to be the Tea Party voters’ choice during the summer. Clever manipulation of the process and the perceptions of this campaign by the media and the Republican Establishment have pushed her voice to the background, and then created a premature sense of inevitability around other candidates that may have scared some conservatives out of their wits and their better judgment. It is time for those conservatives to come back to their senses, take stock of the options one more time, stop panicking about Romney, or listening to the mainstreamers’ nonsense about electability—and come home to the only candidate in this race who was widely identified as a leading voice within the Tea Party right from its beginnings.
And consider this: The lament of serious constitutionalists for years now is that even when, ever so rarely, one of their own gets elected to the House or Senate, he is typically treated as a pariah, even within his own party apparatus, or is forced to yield somewhat to the party establishment in order to be at all effective as a legislator.
For every Jim DeMint or Paul Ryan, there are a dozen or more McConnells, Boehners, and the like, who talk like conservatives when the occasion calls for such talk, while allowing the United States to drift sleepily towards the cliff. Imagine the effect of a President Bachmann on that dynamic within the House and Senate. Think of the fresh constitutionalist air that might blow through that intellectually dank Capitol building were the tone-setter in the White House neither a Leftist ideologue nor a business-as-usual career politician.
The Establishment has tried to frighten the Tea Party with the idea that, for all their useful support, “they” (i.e. their truest elected representatives) are not ready to govern. The tactic seems to have enjoyed partial success. Conservatives seem to be falling back on the long-term “plan” of putting off till tomorrow what they could have done today. The problem is that, ready or not, there is no tomorrow for the Tea Party and its dreams of individual liberty, budget sanity, and constitutionally limited government.
Michele Bachmann is the clearest conservative voice in the primaries. She is the most legitimate representative of the Tea Party in this process. This election has real historic significance well beyond the superficially “historic” dimension that played a role in 2008. On the other hand, as it can’t hurt to use every tool at one’s disposal, there is no denying that for those who like superficially “historic” elections, there is something interesting about the sound of President Michele….
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Why I will never vote for Michelle Bachmann
by Devvy Kidd
August 11, 2011
Michelle Bachmann [R - MN] is a current member of the Outlaw Congress. She's become the darling of the right - in particular, the Tea Party folks.
Quite frankly, she scares me to death as a loose cannon who speaks of nothing but more Band Aids. I would love to debate her on the issues any day of the week - especially on taxation and our monetary system. On her web site, she says she understands, having been a tax attorney, how complicated the tax code is, blah, blah, blah.
Bachmann, a former Democrat who worked to get Jimmy Carter elected, was a hired gun for the IRS as a DOJ attorney prosecuting Americans. She trumpets we need "simplification of the tax code". More meaningless drivel. No where does she take on abolishing the privately owned "Federal" Reserve and it's feeding artery, the IRS. It's apparent she knows next to nothing about our monetary system and the catastrophic mess building to a crescendo.
She was elected to the Outlaw Congress and sworn in January 2007. In June 2007, Congressman Ron Paul, introduced a bill to kill the beast: Abolish the Federal Reserve. Bachmann did not support it and for that alone, she isn't qualified to be president because she has no understanding of the key mechanism destroying this country. Without the "FED" the Outlaw Congress would not be able to borrow the trillions it whizzes
away in unconstitutional spending.
Despite millions of Americans hounding the outlaws in the Congress to abolish the "FED", there were no cosponsors to Ron Paul's critical bill. We are paying the price today and for many years to come. No candidate should go to the White House unless he has a complete understanding of our monetary system and why the central bank must be abolished so he can hammer on his party to get the job done.
So far, none of them have the guts to take on the international money cartels. A fatal mistake for which we the people are paying dearly.
Bachmann is pro life and does not support the agenda of sexual deviants (homosexuals and lesbians).
For that she has gained the support of conservatives. As my regular readers of my columns know, I am and always have been for the sanctity of life and against killing unborn babies. I've also been very active in stopping the promotion of the filth of sodomy practiced by homosexuals and the gross sexual preferences of lesbians. I will never vote for a candidate for any office that supports killing unborn babies or supports sexual deviants.
However, those two things do not make her qualified to be president.
Michelle Bachmann is a war monger who apparently has zero understanding of the under pinnings of the global elite and the endless "wars of liberation" or the nebulous "war on terror". Bachmann has no concern the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan are illegal and immoral. For her, war is the way. Only the U.S. Congress has the power to declare war; something she chooses to ignore.
June 29, 2011, National Public Radio (NPR)
“… 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 …”
“ … I think that the president needs to follow what the advice is to be successful. Let me tell you this:
As president of the United States, I would — knowing that we have a war hero like Gen. Petraeus — I would call Gen. Petraeus into my office. We would have a very short conversation. It would be something like this: It would be, "General, how quickly can we conclude the war in Afghanistan?" No.
2, "What do you need?" And I would, I would trust his judgment. He wrote the book on counterinsurgency. He turned around the war effort in Iraq. We need to trust him on Afghanistan.
Simply because he's demonstrated results. With the resources he's had, he's demonstrated positive results, particularly in southern Afghanistan. But let's remember, if we pull out now, we could cause all of the advances we've made to collapse. And we have to remember, the greatest treasure we've expended in Afghanistan has been the blood of our soldiers. Not to mention the resources of the American people to be
able to provide the assets required.”
"We must never forget that 9/11 was hatched in the caves and the mountains of Afghanistan." She actually believes such nonsense.
We invaded a non threatening country to chase the al-Qaeda bogey man. Bachmann couldn't find her mascara without a written set of instructions, but you would put her in charge as commander in chief to continue this insanity of endless wars?
"No fewer than nine times over the past decade, Western powers have deployed noble rhetoric, soldiers and
taxpayer dollars in the service of nation-building. And no fewer than nine times, they have, to one degree or another, failed to build stable, self-sustaining nations. The litany consists of Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The best one could say is that they are works in progress. The worst: Too many of them still can't function on their own and continue to pose threats to their own citizens as well as U.S. national interests." Morton Abramowitz and Heather Hurlburt correctly pointed out in a July 12, 2004 It has only gotten worse. Not to mention no where in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize our military to be used for "nation building." No where in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize raping we the people to pay for invasions of non threatening countries to build schools, hospitals and get bogged down in tribal disputes. Apparently, Bachmann didn't get the message from James Madison.
Voted NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq. (Jun 2008). For the party faithful who scoff at such an idea, open your mind and read, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, by Vincent Bugliosi. For those unfamiliar with that name, Bugliosi successfully prosecuted Charles Manson for the Tate/LaBianca murders. It is painful to discover you've been lied to - especially for the families of our dead military. And, please save the hate mail that I don't support our military. My husband, John, is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who spent 27 years in uniform.
Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009). More borrowed money down the crapper.
Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru (Nov 2007) to kill more American jobs.
Has she ever introduced a bill to get us out of job killing, unconstitutional treaties like NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT & out of the sovereignty killing WTO? No.
Bachmann voted yes for the Patriot Act. She voted to continue shredding the Bill of Rights, our freedom and liberty.
Endorsed as small-government, low-tax "Mama Grizzly". (Nov 2010) - Meaningless drivel for public consumption. Make me gag.
Put hard earned money back in taxpayers’ pockets. (Nov 2006) - Campaign rhetoric we've all heard for decades.
Has she ever introduced a bill to abolish the unconstitutional Federal Department of Education? No
Has she ever introduced a bill to abolish the unconstitutional EPA? No.
Has she ever introduced a bill to stop all unconstitutional foreign aid to any country? No.
Has she ever introduced a bill to stop the unconstitutional rape of we the people by giving money to the IMF or get us out of evil, international financial agreements like Bretton Woods? No. I doubt she even knows what Basel II is and why it has been deadly for we the people.
In September 2007, Congressman Ron Paul introduced H.R. 3664: Tax Free Tips Act of 2007. That bill would have exempted tips for service workers, waiters and waitresses federal tax dragoons. Many seniors work in the service industry as well as students trying to get through school. I did what I could to spread the word, urging people to pound on Congress to get it passed.
Did Bullhorn Bachmann support such an important bill that would help those who really need to keep their all their tips? No.
In May 2011, Ron Paul again has introduced a bill to do the same thing: H.R. 1139: Tax Free Tips Act of 2011.
Has Bachmann stepped up to the plate as a cosponsor? No.
That's just the short list.
So, explain to me how she's for the working guy or gal?
Can you imagine - in this climate of economic destruction not one single member of the U.S. Congress or
candidate is supporting a bill to help those who make minimum wage and depend on their tips? The big SEIU (Service Workers International Union) also did not support the first bill in 2007, a bill that would have greatly benefited their workers. Instead, they pushed to elect a stinking Marxist to the White House.
Bachmann barks about Obama/Soetoro as her bread and butter staple. But she also gets bread and butter from farm subsidies:
"Liberal site Truthdig links to an Environmental Working Group analysis of federal agricultural subsidies and found that the Bachmann family farm, managed by her father-in-law until his recent death, received $251,000 in farm payments between 1995 and 2006. Bachmann’s financial disclosure forms indicate her stake in the Wisconsin farm is worth up to $250,000. Her income from the farm has grown from $2,000 a year a few years back to as much as $50,000 for 2008. Truthdig calls her a "Welfare Queen": "Bachmann's family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006."
Michele Bachmann - A Banker In Populist’s Clothing
"Received an email this morning from a Minnesotan, expressing his embarrassment over Michele Bachmann’s response to the State of the Union Address. I went to YouTube to see what she had to say and fully understand his embarrassment. The Congresswoman is preaching the gospel of getting rid of those regulations that are left (apparently she is simply ignoring the recent financial meltdown and the lack of regulation that caused it) and trusting in lassiez faire, Wall Street and the big corporations. If we do that, she says, everything will be just fine. Or at least a whole lot better.
"Just for kicks, I went to OpenSecrets.org to find out who Ms. Bachmann’s biggest contributors are. At the very top, is what appears to be a “grass roots” organization called the “Club for Growth.” Never heard of them? Neither had I.
"Here's a little about the “Club,” which is nothing more than a front for Wall Street.
“Chaired by prominent Wall Street investors like Thomas Rhodes and Richard Gilder, as well as the wealthy and reclusive Howie Rich, the Club collects funds from employees of J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, while being buoyed by large donations like a $1.4 million contribution from investor Stephen Jacksons of Stephens Groups Inc. The hand-picked candidates of the Club claim to lead the tea party movement, even though polls show that 70% of self identified tea partiers want the government to help create jobs, and nearly half want government to rein in executive bonuses.” -ThinkProgress.org
"Since 1989, the Club for Growth has been Congresswoman Bachman’s biggest contributor, donating
$92,630 to her campaigns. TCF Financial, is her third largest contributor, at $40,900. Somewhat farther down the ladder is the American Bankers Association, which kicked in another $24,000.
"Imagine that."
Sleeping with the enemy.
And, last but not least: Like the rest of the gutless cowards, Michelle Bachmann sat mute on January 9, 2009, and allowed the electoral college vote to be accepted making the thug from Chicago our putative president.
Bachmann didn't have the guts to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and in fact, has shown her ignorance by stating Obama/Soetoro is constitutionally qualified to be president since he released his "real" long form birth certificate that is an obvious forgery on April 27, 2011. Like so many others in the Outlaw Congress, she has no understanding of 'natural born citizen' and has taken the girlie way out by tucking tail. But, Obama/Soetoro is good for the campaign trail.
Lloyd Green recently penned an op-ed piece for FoxNews.com: Michele Bachmann's Reverence for the Constitution Deserves Praise, Not Scorn. He wrote: "Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s love of the U.S. Constitution and her devotion to constitutional conservatism are being met with derision by the usual suspects. In the July 5, 2011 issue of The New Republic, Bachmann’s commitment to the Constitution is attacked because it is grounded in the view that constitutional government is necessarily limited government. Bachmann deserves praise, not scorn."
Here's a news flash for Green: I am not one of the "usual suspects". As an independent voter since 1996, I don't give a tinker's dam about the two parties except how they both have destroyed this country.
I am opposed to Bachmann as a candidate because she doesn't understand the Constitution or chooses to ignore it when it suits her purposes. As a matter of fact, the mere idea of her sitting in the Oval Office scares me as much as Palin.
I don't know Michelle Bachmann, but I know her kind. She is an opportunist of average intelligence, but lots of "people appeal". I'm sure that will outrage her supporters, but either they don't understand how government systems and programs work or they simply choose to ignore the fact that Michelle
Bachmann has done little towards backing up her big mouth.
Bachmann Says Obama's Certificate 'Settles' Birther Issue
Fact Check: Bachmann bomblets raising eyebrows
Liberals Lie About Michele Bachmann, While Neo-Cons Praise Her
Afghanistan - the insane invasion supported by Bachmann
Afghanistan: An American Rape
Americans are involved in drug trade in Afghanistan
Our Sharia-Compliant Afghan War
Always about money, greed and power
And Now… J.P. Morgan’s Hunt for Afghan Gold
This makes me sick to my soul - FOR WHAT?
Bachmann and the other war mongers in the Outlaw Congress go about their business, but our military are dead and their families will suffer for the rest of their lives.
FOR WHAT?
Afghan officer fires on U.S. troops, kills 9'
Afghanistan: US servicemen killed in first drone 'friendly fire' incident
US troops killed in Afghanistan and Africa (Africa? - how many more countries will we bomb and kill innocent civilians before it stops?)
Plans to "rebuild" Afghanistan as a nation are a waste of money:
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As Muslims burn the American flag
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"Last week in the northern province of Faryab, two more American soldiers were murdered by one of the police officers they are in Afghanistan to train. As my friend Diana West calculates, that brings to 17 the number of U.S. troops killed in just the last four months by the Afghan security forces they are mentoring. The total climbs to 22 when the killings of other Western troops are factored in."
Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Spawn New Disease
Thank you, Michelle. Your votes have made all of the above possible.
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Speaking on a panel in October 2006, Bachmann espoused her views on evolution – in short, that it hasn't been scientifically proven. "Hundreds and hundreds" of Nobel Prize-winning scientists, she says, believe in intelligent design instead.
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Michele Bachmann's Holy War
The Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter
By Matt Taibbi
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.
It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children's show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.
Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. "It's your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!" she gushed. "You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard."
I said lunch, not launch! But don't laugh. Don't do it. And don't look her in the eyes; don't let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She's trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.
In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she's living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she's built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.
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Bachmann's story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you've finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you'll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it's a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator. Whatever she is, she's no joke.
Bachmann was born Michele Amble in Waterloo, Iowa, to a pair of lifelong Democrats, but grew up in tiny Anoka, Minnesota. By her teen years, her parents had divorced; her mother remarried and brought step-siblings into the home, creating a Brady Bunchian group of nine kids. One of Bachmann's step-siblings, Helen LaFave, would later come out as a lesbian, a fact that Michele, who became famous opposing gay marriage, never mentions on the campaign trail. For the most part, though, Bachmann's upbringing seems like pure Americana, a typical Midwestern girl who was "in a couple of beauty pageants" and "not overtly political," according to her stepbrother Michael LaFave.
Young Michele found Jesus at age 16, not long before she went away to Winona State University and met a doltish, like-minded believer named Marcus Bachmann. After finishing college, the two committed young Christians moved to Oklahoma, where Michele entered one of the most ridiculous learning institutions in the Western Hemisphere, a sort of highway rest area with legal accreditation called the O.W. Coburn School of Law; Michele was a member of its inaugural class in 1979.
Originally a division of Oral Roberts University, this august academy, dedicated to the teaching of "the law from a biblical worldview," has gone through no fewer than three names — including the Christian Broadcasting Network School of Law. Those familiar with the darker chapters in George W. Bush's presidency might recognize the school's current name, the Regent University School of Law. Yes, this was the tiny educational outhouse that, despite being the 136th-ranked law school in the country, where 60 percent of graduates flunked the bar, produced a flood of entrants into the Bush Justice Department.
Regent was unabashed in its desire that its graduates enter government and become "change agents" who would help bring the law more in line with "eternal principles of justice," i.e., biblical morality. To that end, Bachmann was mentored by a crackpot Christian extremist professor named John Eidsmoe, a frequent contributor to John Birch Society publications who once opined that he could imagine Jesus carrying an M16 and who spent considerable space in one of his books musing about the feasibility of criminalizing blasphemy.
This background is significant considering Bachmann's leadership role in the Tea Party, a movement ostensibly founded on ideas of limited government. Bachmann says she believes in a limited state, but she was educated in an extremist Christian tradition that rejects the entire notion of a separate, secular legal authority and views earthly law as an instrument for interpreting biblical values. As a legislator, she not only worked to impose a ban on gay marriage, she also endorsed a report that proposed banning anyone who "espoused or supported Shariah law" from immigrating to the U.S. (Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn't born of professional jealousy.)
This discrepancy may account for why some Tea Party leaders don't buy Bachmann as a champion of small government. "Michele Bachmann is — what's the old-school term? — a poser," says Chris Littleton, an Ohio Tea Party leader troubled by her support of the Patriot Act and other big-government interventions. "Look at her record and see how 'Tea Party' she really is."
When Bachmann finished her studies in Oklahoma, Marcus instructed her to do her postgraduate work in tax law — a command Michele took as divinely ordained. She would later profess to complete surprise at God's choice for her field of study. "Tax law? I hate taxes," she said. "Why should I go and do something like that?" Still, she sucked it up and did as she was told. "The Lord says: Be submissive, wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands."
Moving back to Minnesota, she and Marcus settled in Stillwater, a town of 18,000 near St. Paul, where they raised their five children and took in 23 foster kids. Stillwater is a Midwestern version of a Currier & Ives set piece, complete with cozy homes, antique stores — and no black people. In short, the perfect launching pad for a political career built on Bachmann's retro-Stepford image. Stillwater's congressional district is the whitest district in Minnesota (95 percent) and one of the wealthiest in America (with a median income $16,000 above the national average).
Michele took a job as a tax attorney collecting for the IRS and spent the next four years sucking on the tit of the Internal Revenue Service, which makes her Tea Party-leader hypocrisy quotient about average. (At least she didn't collect more than $250,000 in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2006 — that was her father-in-law.) It was after Bachmann quit the IRS in 1993 that her political career really began; although she had volunteered for Jimmy Carter in her youth and had been an anti-abortion protester, she didn't become a major player in Stillwater until she joined a group of fellow Christian activists to form New Heights, one of the first charter schools in America.
Anyone wanting to understand how President Bachmann might behave should pay close attention to what happened at New Heights. Because the school took government money, like other charter schools, it had to maintain a separation of church and state, and Bachmann was reportedly careful to keep God out of the initial outlines of the school's curriculum. But before long, parents began to complain that Bachmann and her cronies were trying to bombard the students with Christian dogma — advocating the inclusion of something called the "12 Biblical Principles" into the curriculum, pushing the teaching of creationism and banning the showing of the Disney movie Aladdin because it promoted witchcraft.
"One member of Michele's entourage talked about how he had visions, and that God spoke to him directly," recalled Denise Stephens, a parent who was opposed to the religious curriculum at New Heights. "He told us that as Christians we had to lay our lives down for it. I remember getting in the car with my husband afterward and telling him, 'This is a cult.'"
Under pressure from parents, Bachmann resigned from New Heights. But the experience left her with a hang-up about the role of the state in public education. She was soon mobilizing against an educational-standards program called Profile of Learning, an early precursor to No Child Left Behind. Under the program, state educators and local businesses teamed up to craft a curriculum that would help young people prepare for the work force — but Bachmann saw through their devious scheme. "She thought it was a socialist plot to turn our children into little worker-automatons," says Bill Prendergast, a Stillwater resident who wrote for the town's newspaper and has documented every step of Bachmann's career.
The theme of socialists scheming to herd children into a factorylike system of predetermined occupations still comes up often in Bachmann's rhetoric. In a recent speech in Iowa, for instance, she talked wistfully of the early Midwest settled by her Norwegian ancestors, a place where "we can choose whatever profession we want, and no one tells us what profession we go in." Bachmann likewise rejected AmeriCorps as an attempt to build "re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward," and blasted a schools program started by Bill Clinton for trying to brainwash kids into accepting "government central planning of our economy and our way of life."
To combat this dark outcome, Bachmann joined up with a Junior Anti-Sex League-type outfit called the Maple River Education Coalition, which was largely composed of Christian conservatives rallying against educational standards. The group met in a church, and its sessions resembled old-time religious revivals, complete with whooping and hollering. "There were enormous amounts of 'amens,'" recalls Mary Cecconi, a Stillwater resident who attended an early meeting of Maple River. "It's like a mission from God with those people." Maple River was so out there that Minnesota's then-governor, Jesse Ventura, no slouch in the batshit-conspiracy department, dismissed the group as nothing but a bunch of people who "think UFOs are landing next month."
Maple River eventually morphed into an organization called EdWatch, which railed against various dystopian indoctrination plans, including the U.N.-inspired International Baccalaureate program, offered in some American high schools. Bachmannites despise IB because its "universal" curriculum refuses to recognize the superiority of Christianity to other religions. You and I might have thought William Butler Yeats, for example, was a great poet who died half a century before the Age of Aquarius, but EdWatch calls him a "New-Age Pantheism Guru" who was aggressively "undermining Christianity."
Bachmann's anti-standards crusade led her to her first political run. In 1999, she joined four other Republicans in Stillwater in an attempt to seize control of the school board. The "Slate of Five" proved unpopular: The GOP candidates finished dead last. Bachmann learned her lesson. "Since then, she has never abdicated control of her campaign or her message to anyone," says Cecconi, who defeated Bachmann in the race — which remains the only election Bachmann has ever lost.
The slate of five had been put together by a local Republican kingpin named Bill Pulkrabek, who this spring was jailed for domestic assault after he allegedly pulled his mistress down a set of stairs by her hair. According to Pulkrabek, Bachmann initially came to him asking for advice on how to defeat Gary Laidig, a moderate Republican state senator, but he advised her to run for the school board first. "We talked about knocking Gary off later," Pulkrabek recalled. And indeed, right after the school-board fiasco, Bachmann decided to take on Laidig.
In her later telling of the story, however, Bachmann substituted a higher authority than Bill Pulkrabek. It was God, she insisted, not a girlfriend-abusing politician, who instructed her to get involved in politics. "As if we didn't have enough to do, He called me to run for the Minnesota State Senate," she said in 2006. "I had no idea, no desire to be in politics. None."
In another version of the story told by Bachmann, she ran against Laidig only because a GOP endorsing convention in April of that year spontaneously selected her, prompting yet another Home Alone extreme-surprise moment. "I came in wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and moccasins, and I had no makeup on at all," she said. "I had made not one phone call, and spent not five cents, and I did not solicit a vote." Laidig, who calls Bachmann a "cold and calculating" person, didn't buy it. "Absolute bullshit," he told reporters. "She planned this all along."
Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She's not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That's not what Bachmann's thing is. Bachmann lies because she can't help it, because it's a built-in component of both her genetics and her ideology. She is at once the most entertaining and the most dangerous kind of liar, a turbocharged cross between a born bullshit artist and a religious fanatic, for whom lying to the infidel is a kind of holy duty.
It has taken just over 10 years for Bachmann to go from small-town PTA maven to serious presidential contender, a testament to both her rare and unerring talent for generating media attention, and to her truly astonishing energy level and narcissistic tenacity. Minnesota politicians who have squared off against Bachmann all speak with a kind of horrified reverence for her martial indomitability, her brilliantly fortifying lack of self-doubt, even the fact that she hasn't appeared to physically age at all in 10 years. "She will not stop," says Cecconi.
Bachmann ended up unseating Laidig — and since then, getting herself elected is pretty much the only thing she has accomplished in politics. That's not an exaggeration: As both a state senator and a congresswoman, Michele Bachmann has never passed a piece of meaningful legislation. Her time in the Minnesota legislature was concentrated in two lengthy and unsuccessful protest campaigns. The first was a jeremiad against school standards, which fizzled out when Ventura's replacement, then-governor and current presidential rival Tim Pawlenty, backed his own version of school standards with the coming of No Child Left Behind. The other was a hysterical campaign against gay marriage that involved some of the strangest behavior ever attributed to an American elected official.
In 2003, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued its famous ruling permitting gay marriage, Bachmann proposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution banning gay marriage — despite the fact that the state legislature had already passed a law making same-sex unions illegal. Even the politicians who were sufficiently gay-phobic to have passed the original anti-­marriage law were floored by the brazen pointlessness of Bachmann's bill. "It's unnecessary, it's redundant, it's duplicative," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Ann Rest.
The episode was classic Bachmann, whose political strategy throughout her career has mostly revolved around having her Little House on the Never-Existed Fundamentalist Prairie sensibilities rocked by something she has read (or misread) in the news, then immediately proposing a horseshit, total-waste-of-­everybody's-time legislative action in response. In 2009, after she saw a news story about the Chinese calling on the world to abandon the dollar as its reserve currency, Bachmann somehow took this to mean that the Obama administration might force ordinary Americans to abandon their familiar green dollar bills for some international and no doubt atheist currency. To combat this possibility, Bachmann introduced a resolution to "bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency." Even after the gaffe was made public, Bachmann pressed on, challenging Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to "categorically renounce the United States moving away from the dollar." Imagine Joe McCarthy dragging Cabinet members into hearings and demanding that they publicly disavow the works of Groucho Marx, and you get a rough idea of the general style of Bachmannian politics.
Bachmann's anti-gay crusade in Minnesota was born of similar stuff. Right from the start, she made sure that everyone knew the awesome importance of the task she was taking on, trying to outlaw an already outlawed practice. "This is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in, at least, the last 30 years," she said. She called gay marriage an "earthquake issue," insisting that failure to pass her proposal would mean that "sex curriculum would essentially be taught by the gay community" and that "little K-12 children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural, and perhaps they should try it." Much as Sarah Palin's actual speeches sometimes melt indistinguishably into Tina Fey's SNL parodies, Bachmann's anti-gay rhetoric at times features a campy, over-the-top quality that makes it hard to tell her apart from a tranny cabaret act. She described the gay lifestyle as "bondage" and "personal enslavement," even claiming that suicide among gay teens is due not to discrimination but to "the fact of what they're doing."
Bachmann's obsession with gay culture led her to bizarre behavioral extremes. In April 2005, after the State Senate refused to even vote on her constitutional amendment, she hid in the bushes outside the State Capitol during a gay-rights rally. A photo shows Bachmann, only the top of her Stepford head visible, crouched alone in an extreme catcher's squat behind the Capitol shrubbery. She later insisted she wasn't hiding at all, but resting because her heels hurt.
That same year tensions between Bachmann and some gay activists grew heated during a town-hall meeting she attended. Depending on whom you believe — and by that I mean which of Bachmann's own competing versions of the story you believe — Bachmann either left the meeting to avoid the activists, or excused herself to "use the restroom" only to be "held against her will" there by what may or may not have been a pair of angry lesbians. She reported the incident to the Washington County sheriff: "Sen. Bachman [sic] stated that when she was trying to leave, 2 women blocked her in and told her they wanted to continue talking. Sen. Bachman stated she was afraid and screamed for help. The 2 women let her leave the restroom when she screamed."
Images of Michele Bachmann squatting behind a bush or hiding from lesbians in a bathroom would seem to be punch lines of funny stories, but they are not. The real punch line is that rather than destroying her politically, these incidents helped propel her into Congress. In her first two races, in 2006 and 2008, she defeated experienced, credible opponents who failed to realize what they were dealing with until it was too late. Her 2006 win was an especially extraordinary testament to her electoral viability. In a terrible year for conservatives, with the death-spiraling Bush administration taking Republican seats down with them all over the country, Bachmann won a fairly independent district by an eight-point margin. In her runs for Congress, Bachmann discovered — or perhaps it is more accurate to say we all discovered — that a total absence of legislative accomplishment and a complete inability to tell the truth or even to identify objective reality are no longer hindrances to higher office.
Emboldened by the lack of consequences for her early freakouts, Bachmann's self-mythologizing became more and more overt. In October 2006, she stepped before a packed house at the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and told her life story. All of history's great madmen have had that one gorgeous moment where the cackling hairy hunchback that has been gestating within for years finally comes out and shows itself, strutting up and down the catwalk for the world to see. This was Michele's catwalk moment, a lengthy autobiographical speech in which she claimed "callings" from God had pushed her to every major decision in her life — from studying tax law to running for Congress. She even told the congregation that she and hubby Marcus — who by then had opened a Christian counseling center — had been united not by love but by a unique series of divine visions experienced by three people simultaneously.
Bachmann claimed that back in her college days, she was up one night praying with a female friend of hers when "the Lord gave each one of us the same, exact vision... It was a picture of me, marrying this man, in the valley where his parents have a farm in western Wisconsin." Meanwhile, miles away, Marcus "was repairing a fence on the farm where he worked, and the Lord showed him in a vision that he was supposed to marry me." According to Bachmann, Marcus initially complained to God that he wanted to see the world first, and only later relented.
Snickering readers in New York or Los Angeles might be tempted by all of this to conclude that Bachmann is uniquely crazy. But in fact, such tales by Bachmann work precisely because there are a great many people in America just like Bachmann, people who believe that God tells them what condiments to put on their hamburgers, who can't tell the difference between Soviet Communism and a Stafford loan, but can certainly tell the difference between being mocked and being taken seriously. When you laugh at Michele Bachmann for going on MSNBC and blurting out that the moon is made of red communist cheese, these people don't learn that she is wrong. What they learn is that you're a dick, that they hate you more than ever, and that they're even more determined now to support anyone who promises not to laugh at their own visions and fantasies.
Bachmann is the champion of those tens of millions of Americans who have read and enjoyed the Left Behind books, the apocalyptic works of Christian fiction that posit an elaborate fantasy in which all the true believers are whisked off to heaven with a puff of smoke at the outset of Armageddon. Here on Earth, meanwhile, the guilty are bent to the will of a marauding Satan who appears at first in the guise of a smooth-talking, handsome, educated, pro-government, superficially pacifist, internationalist politician named Nicolae Carpathia — basically, Barack Obama. Bachmann has ties to the Left Behind crowd and has even said that Beverly LaHaye, wife of LB co-author and fundamentalist godfather Tim LaHaye, was her inspiration for entering politics.
As Bachmann has told and retold her story as one of divine inspiration, she has recast her biography in ever more grandiose directions. A great example is the issue of her "28 children." Bachmann has five kids and, something even her most withering critic should acknowledge, has cared for 23 foster kids. But in 2008 — 10 years after any of her foster children had been in her home — Bachmann was talking as though she was still dashing home from Congress to cook for them. "Every weekend now when I go home, I will go to the grocery store, I'll buy food for the family," she said. "We have five kids and 23 foster kids that we raise. So I go to the grocery store and buy a lot of food."
It is difficult to tell whether this sort of thing is delusion, artifice or both. "I think Michele honestly believes whatever she says in the moment," says Cecconi.
It was the same in October 2008, when Bachmann went on Hardball With Chris Matthews and effectively accused both her fellow members of Congress and soon-to-be-president Barack Obama of being witches who should be thrown in a lake to see if they sank from lack of patriotism. "I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" she said. "I think people would love to see an exposĂ© like that." When the comment sparked a furious controversy, Bachmann responded by blaming Matthews, insisting that "I did not suggest the word 'anti-American.'" She wasn't mad that she was misquoted — she was furious because her views had been conveyed accurately, in a live television interview.
"There's always this mechanism available to Bachmann," says Elwyn Tinklenberg, the Democrat she defeated in the congressional election that fall. "No matter what they say, there is this attitude that 'these poor Christians are being picked on.'" Cecconi agrees, saying that Bachmann has discovered her blunders only serve to underscore her martyrdom. "I've seen her parlay that into 'Look how downtrodden I am,'" she says. "It works for her."
Given how Bachmann's stature rises every time she does something we laugh at, it's no wonder she's set her strangely unfocused eyes on the White House. Since arriving in Congress, she has been a human tabloid-copy machine, spouting one copy-worthy lunacy after another. She launched a fierce campaign against compact fluorescent lights, claiming that the energy-saving bulbs contain mercury and pose a "very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens." She blasted the 2010 census as a government plot and told people not to comply because the U.S. Constitution doesn't require citizens to participate, when in fact it does. She told her constituents to be "armed and dangerous" in their resistance to cap-and-trade limits on climate-warming pollution. She insisted that Obama's trip to India cost taxpayers $200 million a day, and claimed that Nancy Pelosi had spent $100,000 on booze on state-paid flights aboard military jets.
This is not to say that Bachmann hasn't played a prominent role in Congress. Most significantly, she cannily positioned herself as the congressional champion of the Tea Party; last summer she formed a Tea Party caucus, which she now leads. The public has become acquainted with some of Bachmann's other excellent qualities as a politician — her TV-ready looks, her easy confidence in public speaking, her quick command of a mountainous database of (frequently bogus) facts — but often overlooked is her greatest quality, the gigantic set of burnished titanium Terminator-testicles swinging under her skirt.
While other Republicans floundered in the wreckage of the post-Bush era, Bachmann boldly presented herself as an unfazed, unbowed answer to Obama, leading the GOP charge to overturn the president's two signature legislative efforts, the health care bill and Wall Street reform. That she hasn't actually succeeded is beside the point; at a time when other Republicans seem weighed down by the party's recent failures, Bachmann has pressed on like she isn't even aware of them — which, of course, is a distinct possibility.
At the republican debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on June 13th, which marked the unofficial beginning of the GOP presidential race, Bachmann wiped the floor with the other candidates — admittedly not a terribly difficult thing to do, given that this may be the sorriest group of presidential hopefuls ever assembled. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty looked like a bunch of rumpled businessmen in a subway car watching an old lady get mugged, each waiting for the other to do something about it. Bachmann, by contrast, radiated confidence and energy — prompting Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein to wonder if he had been right when he half-jokingly suggested that "Michele Bachmann is the candidate Sarah Palin was supposed to be."
Here's the difference between Bachmann and Palin: While Palin is clearly bored by the dreary, laborious aspects of campaigning and seems far more interested in gobbling up the ancillary benefits of reality-show celebrity, Bachmann is ruthlessly goal-oriented, a relentless worker who has the attention span to stay on message at all times. With a little imagination, you can even see a clear path for her to the nomination. Though she outraged Des Moines Republicans by blowing off a party dinner in late May, she had already visited the state four times this year and scored key endorsements there. Obamacare progenitor Mitt Romney has already half-conceded Iowa by dropping out of the straw poll there, leaving fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty as Bachmann's main competition for the first big prize of the race.
Pawlenty and Bachmann have tangled for years over a variety of issues ranging from school standards to health care to a cigarette tax. Pawlenty reportedly views Bachmann's decision to jump in and spoil his long-planned assault on the presidency as the equivalent to her having crouched over and peed in his Cheerios. Asked about Bachmann's run, Pawlenty seethed, "I'm not running for comic- or entertainer-in-chief."
Even other Republicans, it seems, are making the mistake of laughing at Bachmann. But consider this possibility: She wins Iowa, then swallows the Tea Party and Christian vote whole for the next 30 or 40 primaries while Romney and Pawlenty battle fiercely over who is the more "viable" boring-white-guy candidate. Then Wall Street blows up again — and it's Barack Obama and a soaring unemployment rate versus a white, God-fearing mother of 28 from the heartland.
It could happen. Michele Bachmann has found the flaw in the American Death Star. She is a television camera's dream, a threat to do or say something insane at any time, the ultimate reality-show protagonist. She has brilliantly piloted a media system that is incapable of averting its eyes from a story, riding that attention to an easy conquest of an overeducated cultural elite from both parties that is far too full of itself to understand the price of its contemptuous laughter. All of those people out there aren't voting for Michele Bachmann. They're voting against us. And to them, it turns out, we suck enough to make anyone a contender.
This story is from Rolling Stone issue 1134/1135, available on newsstands and through Rolling Stone All Access on June 24, 2011.
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Take the Bachmann-Palin Challenge: Can You Tell Them Apart?
By Julian Brookes
June 9, 2011
A thrill ran down the political media's collective leg the other day when Michele Bachmann's newly minted campaign manager Ed Rollins, in an interview with Politico, called his new boss "so much more substantive" than her fellow wingnut and possible 2012 rival Sarah Palin. "People are going to say, ‘I gotta make a choice and go with the intelligent woman who’s every bit as attractive.'" It was the first salvo of what's sure to be a highly entertaining war of words between the two camps, whether Palin runs or not. But Rollins' comment got us wondering: Are the two women really so different, in style or in substance? As one – rough – measure, see if you can tell whether the lines below were spoken by Palin or Bachmann. Click on each quote's source for the answer.
DC versus the Real America
"I'm a foreign correspondent on enemy lines, and I try to let everyone back [home] know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington."
We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. … We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.” [Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/17/palin-clarifies-what-part_n_135641.html]
The Census
“They will be in charge of going door to door and collecting data from the American public. This is very concerning .... I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.” [Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/17/exclusive-minn-lawmaker-fears-census-abuse/?page=1]
President Obama
"In these volatile times when we are a nation at war, now more than ever is when we need a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor lecturing us from a lectern." [Source: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/03/28/89058/palin-searchlight-rally/]
"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence." [Source: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/04/bachmann-swine-flu-happens-under-dem-presidents.php]
Foreign policy
"Iran is at a point right now where America has to be very aggressive in our response. We can’t remove any option off the table. And we should not remove the nuclear response." [Source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/smit2174/cd6/2006/08/eric_black_on_wetterlingbachma.html]
''This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policies. But obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies.'' [Source: http://www.newser.com/story/106115/palin-back-our-north-korean-allies.html]
The gays
"I don’t support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. I’m being as straight up with Americans as I can in my non-support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage." [Source: http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Sarah_Palin_Civil_Rights.htm]
“If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement.” [Source: http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/03/conservatives_lgbt.html]
Health care reform
"This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.” [Source: http://coloradoindependent.com/36840/bachmann-slit-our-wrists-be-blood-brothers%E2%80%99-to-beat-health-care-reform]
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." [Source: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=113851103434]
Global warming
"The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a
hoax." [Source: http://www.westsherburnetribune.com/print.asp?ArticleID=10471&SectionID=2&SubSectionID=62]
"It’s kind of tough to figure out with the shady science right now, what are we supposed to be doing right now with our climate. Are we warming or are we cooling? I don’t think Americans are even told anymore if it’s global warming or just climate change." [Source: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2009/11/18/69982/palin-global-warming-limbaugh/]
Evolution and Creationism
"There is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact ... hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel prizes, believe in intelligent design." [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Damah0KH-Co]
"Oh, I think [Creationism] should be taught as an accepted principle... It should be taught in our schools. And I won't ever deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth, especially coming from one of the most beautiful states in the Union and traveling around this country also in this last month... the beauty that is this Earth, I see the hand of God in that." [Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/30/eveningnews/main4490788_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody]
The Deficit
"Look at the debt that has been accumulated in the last two years. It's more debt under this President than all those other Presidents combined." [Source: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/31/232600/the-7-trillion-lie-palin-falsely-claims-debt-has-grown-more-under-obama-than-all-other-presidents-combined/]
“I don’t know where they’re gonna go to get all this money, because we’re running out of rich people in this country... Under Obama, big evil is now anyone with a joint income of $100,000 or more. I truly believe that’s probably gonna lower to anyone with a joint income of $65,000 or more—will be considered big evil and taxed to the hilt.” [Source: http://blip.tv/michele-bachmann-videos/chris-baker-1779137]
Congressional Democrats
"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" [Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27297028/]
"What is it that Barack Obama really believes? And we know that he‘s the most liberal senator in the United States Senate. That‘s just after one year after being there. He's the most liberal. Joe Biden is the third most liberal. You‘ve got Harry Reid, who's liberal, Nancy Pelosi, who's liberal. You have a troika of the most leftist administration in the history of our country." [Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27297028/]
Abortion
"The biggest advance of the abortion industry in America is the passage of Obamacare. Elective abortions have nothing to do with health care. It’s about ending lives, not saving lives.” [Source: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2010/08/27/171622/palin-abortio/]
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