It’s technically unfair that I have used this picture, since today’s Combat! is not an edition of Meanwhile, inside Michele Bachmann’s head, which series is explicitly devoted to things that Michele Bachmann did not say. It’s a terrifyingly confusing system developed by a probably incompetent man, but we’re stuck with it. Today is an edition of Close readings, in which we analyze in detail one particular public statement made by one particular individual—in this case, that most particular of US congresspeople, Michele Bachmann. Speaking to the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on Friday, Representative Bachmann warned that President Obama, the Democratic Party and health care reform were turning the United States into “a nation of slaves.”* It’s possible she was taking a page from Rick Barber. It’s possible she was connecting her remarks to the writings of the Founding Fathers. It’s possible she’s a crazy person whom we have inadvertently vested with the power to make laws. Only the skills we learned as English majors can tell us for sure, and the time has come for us to perform a close reading. Won’t you join me in the study?