Michele Bachmann is Symbolic of Bigger Problems…Us.

In today’s Star Tribune, a writer from St. Anthony, MN, submitted a letter to the editor defending Michele Bachmann’s legacy.  And in this short, two-paragraph letter can be found a clue to problems bigger than Michele Bachman.  In a representative government, the problem in the first place might really be the voter.

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, there are dirty tricks and fancy campaigns that can manipulate a poorly-informed but otherwise conscientious voter.  But that’s a whole lot of baloney.  Stupidity is at the root of the problem and there’s no excuse for that.

The writer starts by praising Bachmann for defending the unborn and the institution of marriage.  Ok, I’ll give Bachmann that.  For the sake of argument, I don’t want to pick sides.  We can debate whether a pregnancy is the same as a person.  It’s a human rights issue, correct?  So delve into Bachmann’s politics a little and look for a record on human rights.  Do all babies, for example, share a right to life-saving medical care, for example?  Not according the Bachmann, they don’t.

Even this defense of marriage thing.  This is a litmus test for me.  People who are threatened by “non-traditional” marriage fail miserably.  I don’t think you can be a secure and sophisticated thinker, one who embraces an idea of fairness and equality, and see any sort of threat in same-sex marriage.  You are — by definition, I’m sorry — a bigot.  It isn’t name calling when it fits.  If this offends you:  Fail.

Let’s move on…

The writer suggests that Bachmann stood for tax payer interests by opposing the bailouts of “institutions that that failed largely due to government intervention in the marketplace.”  Bachmann does oppose these things, true, but otherwise this observation cannot be more wrong.  First of all, why oppose the bailouts?  They seem to have done what they were intended to do.  Of course one could be critical of the fact that it saved the asses of very wealthy people recklessly playing with other people’s money, but the writer obviously isn’t aware of these facts.

, member of the United States House of Represe...

, member of the United States House of Representatives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bailouts saved the United States and the global economy from an even worse fate than the one in which we languish now.  It essentially socialized private market losses — that is a bummer — but it kept us from sinking further.  These losses, dear Bachmann supporter, were not do to government intervention, but because government chose to intervene less.  the so-called free marketplace got a wee bit irresponsible and the average Joe is on the hook.  So praise for Bachmann on this one is ironic and absurd and based no where on the facts.

Should I talk bout the writer’s complaint that trillion-dollar deficits will “confiscate the earnings of wage earners for years to come”?   Our government funding issues have been a problem for decades, but that probably isn’t the writer’s concern.  Talking economic and historical issues with a conservative is a futile exercise so this is a tough one.

Nevertheless, the idea that government is “confiscating” money to pay our bills is a cheap, shallow, and almost meaningless complaint.  It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of government budgets and finance.  We collect taxes because these things we need in government don’t come free.  The problem is not taxes, but it might instead be a problem of managing government responsibly.

Bachmann and her ilk support a “starve the beast” strategy that does not serve government well and ultimately builds deep deficits.  We don’t have a spending problem as much as we have a funding problem.

And funding government in order to create an “enslaving dependency” on government sounds like paranoid — almost anti-democratic — crazy talk.  Access to good schools, safe streets, affordable health care, and a clean environment, that is enslaving?  What about a strong national defense…how does that enslave free people?  If the writer wants to discuss the NSA and the domestic implications of the Patriot Act, let’s go!  But I doubt it.

I doubt it because I am — as the writer calls us — a member of the “enlightened left.”  (I think he meant to be sarcastic.)  I am willing, unlike the “unenlightened rubes” with whom I think he identifies (I think he meant to be ironic), to actually parse the facts and connect them with the truth.  Or at least try!  (I’m really not sure what the writer means here and I’m not sure he does either, but maybe that’s the point…)

Nonetheless, it is clear that the writer is confusing his opinions with facts and defending a world view that supports neither.  And therein lies the problem.  The convoluted mix of opinion-based reality creates votes for people like Michele Bachmann, not the other way around.

But who cares?  We should be grateful for Michele Bachmann’s defense of the Constitution and the way she follows “the rule of law as established by our Constitution.”  It is as simple as that, good people…Unless, of course, that rule of law gets in the way of building a poorly-conceived bridge in her Congressional District, perhaps the only tangible bit of legislation she can put her name on that serves people.  And the benefit of that is up for debate.

The credit or blame for who gets into elected office rests with the people who vote.  Often when people like Michele Bachmann get elected, they get there through emotional issues, not factual ones.  In this way Bachmann is a sign of bigger underlying problems and not quite so significant by herself.  This letter shows this fact.  After all, his opinions are not likely to change with Bachmann’s departure.

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