I’m a regular Joe. I like my beer cold, my television reality-based, and my elected representatives completely opposed to the existence of government. Ever since Sarah Palin rode away on a pegasus*, there’s been a void in my life. Where’s the high-ranking government official to assure me that the government is working against me? Who’s going to protect my precious freedoms from all enemies, imagined and domestic? Why can’t Ron Paul have prettier hair?
Fortunately, we’ve got Michele Bachmann, God’s answer to a prayer that Pat Robertson accidentally said backwards. She’s young-ish, kind of pretty, and she went to law school at Orel Roberts University. She also wants an investigation into anti-Americanism in the US Congress, thinks global warming isn’t a problem because carbon dioxide is already part of the atmosphere, and urges you not to participate in the 2010 census. And she’s from Waterloo!
Bachmann came to national prominence during her run for the House of Representatives in 2008, when she levied charges of anti-Americanism against Barack Obama and several other unnamed members of Congress. Here she is on Hardball, pausing with eerie serenity before accusing a US Senator of being “against America”:
Bachmann is a product of the Minnesota public school system, so she probably remembers the meteoric rise to prominence of Joseph McCarthy, and the chain of unbroken successes that comprised his political career until he died peacefully in his sleep. Then again, maybe she just remembers God creating animals and light, plus a couple of things from Leviticus. In 1993, she helped found the New Heights Charter School, the first institution of its kind in Minnesota. Later that year, she resigned amid accusations that her proposals to teach creationism and introduce the “12 Christian Principles”—which sounds exactly 20% better than the Ten Commandments—amounted to the use of public funds for a religious school. Bachmann is a devout Christian, who recently called for a national day of prayer and fasting to stop health care reform. I think we can all agree that Jesus wants sick people to feel better and all, but ultimately his fiscal conservatism and commitment to free markets is going to win out. Bachmann knows that, as human beings, we don’t really have a hand in things like whether black kids can have medicine or if the polar ice caps melt or whatever. All that stuff is, you know, part of nature. Here she is explaining why we shouldn’t do anything about global warming:
That was on Earth Day, by the way. If you’re wondering what the hell is wrong with the Democratic Party, it might have something to do with whoever decided to send Professor Peabody up there to refute her. He’s going to win over rural Minnesota, for sure. The emptiness of Bachmann’s logic is stunning. Any high school science student could refute her, but she knows that it’s not what you say that matters—it’s the words you use to say it. Like George Bush or Glenn Beck, Bachmann seems to be speaking in a sort of code that only her supporters understand. Critics have labeled her ability to baffle her opponents with nonsensical statements “The Bachmann Effect.” Check out the hilarious expressions of confusion in this video:
James Carville’s bafflement at this woman is priceless. He looks like a cat that has just heard another cat on television. Bachmann’s insistence that the Treasury Secretary identify the Treasury’s specific authority to enact TARP in the Constitution—a demand she made in a Congressional hearing, for Chrissake—is rhetorical catnip for right-wing extremists. She speaks to those Americans who regard themselves as simultaneously patriotic and opposed to the actual United States government, and whose devotion to an imagined version of the Constitution provides the only means of resolving the dissonance. Like the “patriots” who bring guns to Presidential speeches, Bachmann loves America and hates everything associated with its operation. Here she is urging her fellow citizens not to participate in the 2010 census, of all things:
First of all, letting Glenn Beck interview Michele Bachmann is like having your toddler ask your dog whether it’s okay to poop on the carpet. Second of all, THIS BITCH IS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Is it responsible to have members of Congress out there telling people not to fill out their census surveys? Can we really have a civil society when government officials go on television and tell the citizenry that other government officials are “against America?” To paraphrase de Tocqueville, what the fuck, right?
As always when one considers such people, the sixty-dollar question regarding Michele Bachmann is, does she think this way, or does she just talk this way? Does Representative Bachmann really not believe that the Treasury has the Constitutional authority to enforce the legislation that Congress passed, or is she asking that question as an act of political grandstanding, calculated to glean a few more votes from a constituency she regards as fundamentally stupid? Rome is the mob, after all. Here’s a video from Bachmann’s town hall last week that supports the latter theory. Watch the first two minutes to get the full effect, or skip to 2:10 when the crowd starts demanding that she talk about health care:
Here’s what kind of politician Michele Bachmann is: She begins her town hall meeting on health care reform by talking for two minutes about how great Minnesota is, the weather, and the state fair. When people start angrily shouting about how she should address the issues, she talks over them to work in one last joke about how those clowns in Washington have made such a mess of things. And the joke? Conan O’Brien made it on The Tonight Show two nights before.
Michelle Bachmann watches The Tonight Show, but she doesn’t think the people who vote for her do. That, more than anything, explains her career in the House. It explains her willingness to say whatever she thinks will put her on television, and adopt whatever positions she thinks will put her back in Congress in 2010. Politics is easy to her, because people are just so dumb. I suppose the question we should ask ourselves is, how long will she be right?
* I was going to link to some sort of humorous Photoshop image of Sarah Palin, so I fired up Google Image Search and typed “sarah palin.” Then, during that millisecond pause after you’ve typed but before you’ve hit enter, when Google peers deep into your soul and guesses what you really want to search for, I got the following suggestions: “sarah palin hot,” “sarah palin sexy,” “sarah palin legs,” and, most creepily, “sarah palin daughter.”