I like to think that Michele Bachmann is on the right-wing fringe, but a lot of conservatives get riled up when we call out Bachmann for her factual errors and otherwise sloppy intellect. The question here is why, why would any mainstream conservative (Or is it “lamestream”? Keeping your crazy right wingers straight can be tough today) get all indignant when criticism of Bachmann is rightfully raised?
If you are a thinking conservative, don’t you want some distance between yourself and people like Bachmann? When we describe Bachmann as fringer, we’re helping you. Or does Bachmann — along with her ideological cohorts and fellow travellers — really represent conservativism today?
Some of Bachmann’s transgressions are almost cute they are so silly. You remember she claimed that Pelosi charged Congress $100,000 for booze and Obama’s trip to India cost $200 million a day, right? Neither statement is true. Pelosi’s “bar tab” actually is the estimated total costs for nine official congressional trips covered by the Air Force that included as many as 85 other officials.
Bachmann also claims that the United States now owns or controls 51% of the private economy. She repeated this misinformation many times. In fact, government makes up about 20% of the economy as a measure of GDP.
In this lie Bachmann does seem to have a lot of company. Conservatives have made in a matter of policy to repeal health care reform claiming that it is a “government takeover.” Hardly. At most health care reform lays out some ground rules for the health care industry while pumping billions more into the private industry, which is precisely why many progressives don’t like the reform package. Still Bachmann and her colleagues got a lot of mileage out of this lie. They also claim that health care reform is a threat to freedom, but never explained how it is a threat to freedom. (How, pray tell, could health care reform take away freedom? We’re still waiting. Answer please.)
Today new House Speaker John Boehner wasn’t far from Bachmann. He repeated the incorrect complaint that health care reform will cost the United States economy millions of jobs. First of all, the GOP raised this argument when evaluating an early proposal for health care reform, one that was not passed, but that has not stopped conservatives from misleading people with that false argument. Generally speaking Republicans impose a simple-minded and economically ahistorical assessment of taxes and jobs as they relate to the realities of today’s economic crisis. The jobs and taxes nexus does not add up as simply as conservatives claim, but that does not stop them from making statements unsupported by fact.
(Boehner also regarded the CBOs report on health care reform and the economy as an “opinion.” We know all about conservatives idea of facts and opinions. I have written about it here on A Little Tour. When a fact supports a Republican position — it happens, rarely — it is an indisputable fact. When facts don’t add up for Republicans, they are opinions. Republicans confuse their opinions for facts all the time. Prove me wrong.)
Bachmann has been consistently wrong about taxes. In particular she maintained the GOP lie that letting the Bush tax cuts expire would hit people making $250,000 to $1 million hardest. In fact the rate increase would be modest for most people in that tax bracket and only an estimated 2% of people in that tax bracket would be affected at all. Moreover high taxes is not what is keeping business down today. That is another myth perpetuated by the right…and one has to ask why.
Bachmann also suggests that congress should subpoena members of congress, hold hearings, and expose “all the nonsense that is going on” in government. In short: Witch hunts, something you might think Bachmann would have to worry about (do you think she floats?).
Remember when Bachmann thought it was a good idea for the media to investigate anti-American activities by members of Congress? There’s a neo-fascist pattern here…but we love her anyway. Kind of like granny getting a little deep into her schnaps. Sadly, not so quaint. Bachmann holds a seat in Congress. Wake up people…elections have consequences.
We could dig into her homophobic and bigoted religious views, but one could argue that those are subjective and personal positions (I wouldn’t) and already enough exists to hold against her based on hard cold fact.
So when we call wild-eyed Bachmann a clown and an embarrassment, conservatives should rejoice. Wouldn’t it be worse if she were regarded as a typical, middle-of-the-road conservative? Let me explain it to you. Bachmann says a lot of stupid things. She isn’t very bright. She is very bigoted and paranoid. We can all agree that being stupid, dull, bigoted and paranoid are not flattering qualities, right? So putting distance between Bachmann by claiming she is on the fringe is good. This is an obvious conclusion, but one of the basic problems of conservativism today is its inability to grasp the obvious.
- Rep. Bachmann lands post on Intelligence Committee (msnbc.msn.com)
- John Boehner’s Michele Bachmann problem. (slate.com)
- Weiner plans to use ‘really small words’ with Bachmann (thehill.com)
- Republicans float bill to repeal Wall Street reform (thehill.com)