Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival #8

It is, once again, time for a new edition of the Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival. In fact, it’s past time, even though it’s only been a month–but what a month.

When we last saw our insipid heroine-in-her-own-mind, she was proposing legislation to keep America safe for the dollar and joining her fellow party members in flirting with sedition. Reaction to both behaviors continued long after our last carnival.

Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, who has chronicled a great deal of stupidity, goggled at her fears of foreign currency. Ranjan X. Roy of Shadow Bankers used the opportunity to write an excellent piece explaining what has actually been proposed. Civilianism, who is unfortunately and unhappily a constituent, tried to make some sense of her conspiracy touting. Political Muse at Dump Bachmann reminded us that the reason Bachmann was in a position to make her ignorance so well known is that she is (somehow) a member of the House Financial Services Committee. watertiger of Firedoglake noted all the Republicans who were willing to join her in sponsoring the pointless bill.

JTNB at State of Protest asked Garrion Keillor to explain how paranoia like Bachmann’s could come out of Minnesota–and called for a recall. sgwhiteinfla at Smooth Like Remy saw a connection between Bachmann’s battle rhetoric and the shootings in Pittsburgh. So did Metavirus at Library Grape, who put her words in the current and historical context of right-wing hate mongering. Charles Blow reminded us at the New York Times that not all dangers come from outside the country. Elizabeth Burke at The Clyde Fitch Report explained the dangers of treating this all like political theater.

Let me add that I am the first person to say “bring on the crazy.” I love watching a good train wreck like everyone else, and Rep. Bachmann obviously has a constitutional right to shout her brand of Minnesota loony from the highest rooftops. That is one of the reasons why our national politics is so much fun, and why foreigners (real foreigners, not Bachmann-style foreigners) risk life and limb to get here. I am so grateful to have been lucky enough to be born here, to have the freedom millions can only dream of having. I can write what I want and say what I want without fear of retribution.

But with such freedom comes great responsibility, especially from elected figures with a rapt and — dare I say armed? — audience. I get the feeling that Bachmann has no idea the power of words, especially her own. I also don’t think she cares. While she blathers on to anyone with a tape recorder or camera, endlessly reiterating her “us against them” view of the nation, she had better hope and pray that her call for revolution is ignored, that her dream of a violent overthrow remains unfulfilled.

Down with Tyrrany continued the theme, showing how Bachmann fits into the general right-wing destructive looniness, including the tea bag protests.

On a lighter note, speaking of Bachmann and teabagging, this month marks the first time I’ve considered subscribing to a YouTube channel. Why? The answer is here and NSFW, unless you’re in a sound-proofed room so people won’t hear you laugh. Also finding Bachmann funny this month is Comically Partisan, which awarded her a second Commedian of the Month award, this one for “[n]othing specific.” Just for being herself.

So what else has Bachmann done this month? She herself noted that she’s wasting more of Congress’s time (as is her wont), joining with Rep. John Kline to sponsor a bill to keep former Guantanamo Bay detainees out of Minnesota. I’m sure that will get broad support. She got upset that the Department of Homeland Security would consider right-wing extremists a threat. Political Muse at Liberal in the Land of Conservatives rightly asked why she was so anxious (or uncharacteristically self-aware) to identify herself with them.

She picked a fight with a fellow Minnesota Representative, Keith Ellison, suggesting the “Flying Imams” (the six scholars who drew attention to US Airways when they were removed from a flight in 2006 at the urging of nervous passengers) were detained after attending Ellison’s election victory party. Greg has Rachel Maddow’s excellent summary of the situation. The City Pages has Ellison’s response. And Kamran Pasha at the Huffington Post explains why, as usual, Bachmann can’t be dismissed as just part of the fringe.

The fact that American Muslims historically identified and voted Republican will likely shock many people. But it shouldn’t, if we remember what the Republican Party used to represent. Growing up as an immigrant from Pakistan in Brooklyn, every Muslim I knew embraced the Republican brand of economic growth and family values. We were entrepreneurs who left our countries to find a better life in America, and loved the Republican promise of free enterprise and social mobility. As people of faith, we embraced the Republicans’ traditional values and social conservatism. And we saw Republicans like President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker as statesmen who were sympathetic to Palestinian suffering and willing to work hard to bring peace between Arabs and Israelis.

And then something started to change within the party. An ugly cancer of anti-Muslim bigotry began to reveal itself during the first Iraq War. I was an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, where the student body was perhaps the most conservative of the Ivy League schools. At meetings of the College Republicans, I began to hear distressing venom against Muslims. American Muslims were being openly talked of as a fifth column in the country, and my fellow students applauded rumors that internment camps were being set up in the Midwest for Muslim subversives. I was shocked to see my friends suddenly speak of my faith as the enemy. Our fight against Saddam had finally revealed the deeply held hatred for Islam among my fellow conservatives.

Bachmann also expressed concerns that expanding AmeriCorps, the government-run volunteer program, was a plan to…well, here:

Even our esteemed Rep. Michele Bachmann has appeared on various broadcasts with dire warnings about the program: “The real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call reeducation camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums,” the Republican said. “It is a dream come true for people who want to transform our country from a free-market economy to a centralized, government-planned economy.”

Jon Tevlin of the Star Tribune gave this idea all the respect it deserved. Congress Watcher of That’s My Congress put it all very simply and very devastatingly. The Minnesota Independent wondered whether Generation Joshua, a group of homeschooled kids whose assignments included handing out Bachmann campaign literature, might be the pattern for Bachmann’s concerns. Daily Kos was moved to restart its Act Blue anti-Bachmann fundraising.

Still, despite backing down slightly on her calls for Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous” in order to fight those who are trying to address climate change, Bachmann adopted the issue as her new baby and spent most of the month trying to smother it under a blanket of stupidity and misdirection.

Bachmann penned an op-ed for the Star Tribune claiming the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade proposal would cost each American household over $3,000. She made this claim despite the figure already having been declared by PolitiFact to be so wrong it set their truth meter on fire. The Star Tribune opinion page editor told Think Progress he was embarrassed to have published the figure. Yet, when the MIT professor on whose study Bachmann claimed to have based the figure issued a correction to his math that was still well under $3,000, Bachmann took the opportunity to claim a higher figure yet.

She also held a couple of “forums” in Minnesota, which consisted of her reading her op-ed and a speech by Chris Horner, a global warming denialist. His claim to expertise is that he is an attorney who works for a foundation funded in part by ExxonMobil. Anna commented at Dump Michele Bachmann about why the plans behind the forums were ludicrous. She gave lots of reasons, but this is my favorite:

It’s just loopy that she’s trying to assert any expertise in this area . . . she’s a creationist for pete’s sake . . . for her the earth is only 6,000 years old, and now she’s trying to tell her constituents that she understands holocene era climate change? Give me a break.

Futurism Now gave an excellent report of the forum, as did Political Muse at Dump Bachmann. Ken Avidor at Dump Bachmann also collected much of the fact-checking of the forums. It’s not pretty.

So, what wasn’t Bachmann doing as she sponsored these less-than-fact-filled forums? As Dusty Trice showed us, she wasn’t answering questions from her constituents. This shouldn’t be too surprising, as she’s known for doing things like sending invitations for teleconferences fifteen minutes before they start, but it’s particularly bad right now, as Bachmann’s constituents have plenty to ask her about.

The Minnesota Independent shows that the highest foreclosure rates in the state are in Bachmann’s district, or as they put it, “where congressional representation is doing the least to address the issue.” Pity, seeing as she’s on the House Financial Services Committee and could make a difference. Instead of taking action, Riley of Licking Calcutta points out, Bachmann is simply calling those facing foreclosure “irresponsible.” Bachmann would rather talk about global warming.

Most recently, she tried to fight those who would fight global warming by persuading everyone that carbon dioxide is very friendly and natural and not harmful at all, and besides, there isn’t very much of it, and besides, we don’t have much effect on the amount. PZ Myers at Pharyngula posted the video. Watch it if you can get through the inanity and innumeracy, but believe me, that summary is a public service. Pharyngula also received this lovely comment:

My 8-yo son was stunned that she called CO2 harmless and suggested *exactly* the same demonstration involving a small room, a tank of CO2, and the rep from MN. He said, “After a minute or two, she’ll get it.”

Apparently Bachmann isn’t as smart as a second grader.

Probably the most polite response to Bachmann’s carbon dioxide statements came from Representative Earl Blumenauer, but even he couldn’t resist a dig (at about 1:20).

It’s easy to point to the big gaffes and ask where all this is coming from, but it’s important to remember that this nonsense doesn’t just spring fully-formed from Bachmann’s head (and to anyone now picturing Bachmann in a toga, I apologize). Bill Prendergast at Dump Bachmann had a great piece this month talking about her connections to James Dobson and the evangelical movement. Bill Maher had another in the LA Times looking at why she and the rest of the shreds of the Republican Party are so desperate to indulge in conspiracy theory.

That brings us to the end of our carnival and one more month closer to the next election. What’s the good news on that front? Dump Bachmann found at least a couple of Republicans who are very unhappy with Bachmann. The Minnesota Independent showed us some redistricting maps that look all the better without Bachmann on them and reported about DFL plans for 2010. A newspaper in the largest city in her district officially declared her a “nonfactor.”

The bad news? Bill Prendergast of Dump Bachmann concluded Bachmann doesn’t have  what it takes to be lured away from politics into conservative punditry. Smart Politics looked at Bachmann’s campaign contributions for the first quarter of this year and discovered they overwhelmingly came from within Minnesota.  Ow.

As always, the best way to keep track of lunacy between carnivals is to follow the Dump Michele Bachmann blog. The DCCC has also, finally, set up Bachmann Watch, a fact checking service. And please continue to share your links, both to the insanity and the analysis it inspires, with us at the main carnival page.

What will you find in the next carnival? More climate dishonesty, reactions to her inability to understand the difference between regular birth control pill usage and a single dose, or something else we couldn’t possibly have dreamt up ourselves? We’ll know in a month.

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4 Responses to “Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival #8”

  1. April 25th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Russell says:

    No, no, no, no, no! Michele Bachmann must stay. First, she shows what the wingnut core of the GOP has become. Were there not a few like her in Congress, people could say, “oh, sure, there are people like that, but they are on the fringe.” We need examples of national politicians like her, to say: this is what the Republican Party of the 2nd decade of the 21st century is. This is why it deserves to be ignored, until it can reform itself.

    Second, she is soothing balm for those of us from Texas. When people bring up Rick Perry, we Texans can shake our heads and say, yeah, he’s crazier than a rabid coyote, but hey, look at Michele Bachmann if you want to see a real wingnut. And she’s from Minnesota.

  2. April 25th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Stephanie Zvan says:

    No, no, yourself. If there needs to be one, it can come from somewhere else next time. Bachmann’s constituents deserve better; the majority voted against her.

    Besides, she still dresses like she’s from Dallas.

  3. April 25th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Greg Laden says:

    Yea, well, I see the angle for you regarding Texas, that makes sense. But the other part: No, I’d rather see her go. I’d rather see the wingnut thrown out so we can say “see, that end of the spectrum over there? We don’t count it as legit.”

  4. April 25th, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    JNTB says:

    Thanks for the cross-mention here on QM. I’m beginning to think that Minnesota should re-elect Bachmann for the rest of her natural life, and maybe through a few unnatural comatose election cycles beyond that. She’s a jewel — conscious or not.

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