Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 17, 2009

IDIOCY WATCH.... A friend passed along an item from the weekend, with an audio clip of Michele Bachmann chatting with a conservative talk-show host in Minnesota. In the ongoing debate as to which member of Congress is the single most ridiculous, this interview is very compelling evidence that Bachmann is, at a minimum, near the front of the pack.

The whole interview is about 13 minutes long, but it's worth listening to, if only to appreciate just how truly disturbed some far-right members of Congress have become.

Bachmann "explained" to the host and Minnesota audience:

* ACORN is "under federal indictment for voter fraud," but the stimulus bill nevertheless gives ACORN "$5 billion." (In reality, ACORN is not under federal indictment and isn't mentioned in the stimulus bill at all.)

* many members of Congress have "a real aversion to capitalism."

* the stimulus bill includes a measure to create a "rationing board" for health care, and after the bill becomes law, "your doctor will no longer be able to make your healthcare decisions with you."

* the recovery package is part of a Democratic conspiracy to "direct" funding away from Republican districts, so Democratic districts can "suck up" all federal funds. Bachmann doesn't think this will work because, as she put it, "We're running out of rich people in this country."

* the "Community-Organizer-in-Chief" is also orchestrating a conspiracy involving the Census Bureau, which the president will use to redraw congressional lines to keep Democrats in power for up to "40 years." When the host said he was confused, noting that congressional district lines are drawn at the state level, Bachmann said Obama's non-existent plan is an "anti-constitutional move."

There's no point in trying to fact-check such unhinged stupidity, but I should note that none of this is in anyway grounded in reality. I should also note that we're not talking about some strange nut screaming on a street corner; this is all coming from an elected member of Congress.

At one point, Bachmann told the host, "We are literally losing our country."

Congresswoman, you've literally lost something, but I don't think it's your country.

Steve Benen 9:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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Comments

mr. shortstop's imitation of Michele Bachmann is one for the ages. I can't watch it with food or liquid in my mouth.

Posted by: shortstop on February 17, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Thank goodness she isn't from my district, so there was no way I could have voted for her. Having said that there are still way too many morons who elected her back into office, even though her insanity is obvious.

Posted by: bkmn on February 17, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well maybe it's time for CongressCritter Bachmann to start writing sternly worded letters to the president. And do let us know how that plays out.

Posted by: Marko on February 17, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

It sounds like a seance in which she is channeling Ann Coulter.

Posted by: Alex Kirby on February 17, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Folks, I have heard all of those GOP talking points from my Republican friends. I agree that Bachman is an idiot, but no more so than the rest of the GOP and their, thankfully shrinking, base.

Posted by: terry on February 17, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Aside from her other inane remarks, the redistricting is a hoot, due to her only being able to leave her preparing tax returns career as the result of gerry mandering of her district.

Now, shortstop, you must prepare something for YouTube.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 17, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is that the big lie works with a decent sized minority of the country.

My sister-in-law, who believes that the President was born in Kenya, will no doubt believe that all those things are in the bill if enough people repeat it long enough.

Posted by: howie on February 17, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Guy (not in my group, thankfully) at work was going on about how the fiscal crisis was caused by illegal immigrants. No, really.

Posted by: MattF on February 17, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is just the tip of the kookiness iceberg. Virtually every GOP senator and representative has echoed at least three of these talking points. Every single one.

Until we have local TV stations and newspapers blasting out headlines like "Representative's ignorance shocks observers," the people in their districts will continue to think they know what the hell they are talking about.

Posted by: BH on February 17, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I teach in St. Cloud, MN, the heart of Bachmann territory. The people around here seem pretty normal, but I haven't figured out this Bachmann thing yet. I guess they just aren't paying attention. Of course I voted against her last time, and if I'm still here in 2010 it will be the same deal. I don't know who can unseat her if not Tinklenburg. But yeah, she's nuts.

Posted by: tom on February 17, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't her tin hat interfere with the station's signals?

As long as conservatives are going to be paranoid anyway, why don't Democrats just DO all these things? Steer most of the stimulus money to Democratic districts! Have every Democratic governor/legislature gerrymander out the wazoo! Play the scary Dad: "You want somethin' to cry about? I'll GIVE you somethin' to cry about!!"

Posted by: gradysu on February 17, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

sadness at the stupidity of some american people to elect such a demented dunce. and they are apparently everywhere, no longer just in the south and backwater western states...

sadness at the media that is so corrupt it presents this rep. without critique. without some background of sane representation of the real world -- or, er, fact-checking...

sadness at the demented soul of Bachman, born way way after her time... which woulda been what, Louis XIV?

Posted by: neill on February 17, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Just wow. She's actually proud of her distance from reality.

We're running out of rich people

Republicans are too nice and refuse to fight back

Dems want to bring back the fairness doctrine to shut down 'alternative' radio (as if we had any alternatives on the AM dial) which is all that the poor victimized republicans have left.

Acorn!!

She needs to be committed to a padded cell. She's clearly stark raving mad.

Posted by: JoeW on February 17, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The solution to Bachmann is to call her out on her obvious lies on the floor of the House chamber. Challenge her statements point-blank, with the live C-SPAN feed capturing every moment of it, and let her openly defend her "Constitutional right to lie to the American People" while scarfing her fill from the public trough.

WE won the elections; WE hold a clear majority; WE have a right to hold those who peddle their lying dishonesties accountable to a higher bar; WE set the bar.

Grab your torch and pitchfork, America; it's time to drive these rotpublican scum into the sea!

Posted by: Steve W. on February 17, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Matt: I worked with a guy like that, too. Last I heard, he'd been laid off. Damn those illegals!

You'd expect Garrison Keillor's fictional Lake Wobegon to be part of Bachmann's district; in the LW stories, St. Cloud is the big city. Her district is mostly Minn/St. Paul bedroom suburbs, though, while the relatively lumpen LW is to the west, in Democratic territory. Wonder what Keillor makes of this? Maybe we should ask him.

Posted by: ericfree on February 17, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

The question that keeps bubbling up in one's mind ... do such people know better at all than what they're saying? IOW, are they basically "lying", or just "crazy"? When Dick Cheney says something, I suppose he really knows the score ... I don't know in the case of messes like Bachmann. Some of these people are clearly crazy, I guess it's a mixed bag.

re Steve W.: Yes, other members of Congress should confront those who put out crap, when it's about Congress' business. I also like this line as a sentiment, "You want somethin' to cry about? I'll GIVE you somethin' to cry about!!"

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on February 17, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Defeat in no way silences these fools and that is a bit amazing. I received all those talking points over a week ago. It was a copy from some fringe lunatic named Pat Dollard, which really is no big news. But it really bothers me that when elected members of congress routinely spout this nonsense into the airwaves it is not treated as big news. It's nothing new. Last year I saw Sen. Isaakson on CSPAN lecture a caller that we had to invade Iraq because "Sadaam kicked out the weapons inspectors". Of course, nobody on CSPAN said a word, nobody called to correct him and thousands of people heard it and probably believed him. Until "Republican Ignorance" is a casual household term, it should be a front page, top story item and these buffoons should be lambasted and corrected. But who would do that? Charlie Gibson? Stephanopolous? Rick Sanchez? Wolf Blitzer?

I can imagine any one of them hearing any of Bachman's "points" in an interview and promptly repeating it, then bouncing another question further into the falsehood. David Gregory, after all, is not there to call anybody a liar.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 17, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen, not to tell you how to run your business, and I know you're informally doing this already, but perhaps a formal series of posts like this one might be a fun project - exposing these venal nutjobs' personal degradation and the real world effects they have on our country. What they are doing may be amusing in a sick, sad way, but it's also incredibly toxic and must be formally called out.

Posted by: Conrads Ghost on February 17, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Our "liberal" Star Tribune will print her interview right next to George Will's column.

Posted by: SteveA on February 17, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Brackets! We need brackets, like NCAA. Pair up 64 repub congress critters and let them loony it out for the congressional term. By the time we get to the mid-terms, we'll have a final 4 of outstanding insanity.

Posted by: JoeW on February 17, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Palin/Bachmann '12!

Posted by: Limbaugh's Pilonidal Cyst on February 17, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

I should also note that we're not talking about some strange nut screaming on a street corner; this is all coming from an elected member of Congress.

When it comes to Republicans, I fail to see the distinction.

Posted by: Stefan on February 17, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Thinking deeper, I suspect that politiquacks like Bachmann don't just pull that kind of stuff at random out of their own asses. These same stories get around, there is a propaganda group/s out there that formulates these lies and distortions and feeds them to show hosts, bloggers, susceptible media types, and Republican (or other!) politicians. We need to know more about their operation, who they are, who funds it, etc. Any scoop?

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on February 17, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

If she is expressing her true beliefs, she would never vote for anything on the Obama agenda. How then can the President be blamed for being partisan?

These nuts simply want Obama to fail, at any cost. If we lose our country it will be because of Bachman's of the world.

Posted by: effluvientOne on February 17, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

[Actually, given the above comment, of course we know of this, nothing to merely "suspect".]

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on February 17, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

It seems Rep Bachmann must have at least one or two rich friends left, she just bought a 1 million+ $ house om a ritzy golf course in Woodbury, the wealthy St Paul suburb. A congress womans salary wont cover this, and her husbund has a "gay to straight" counseling practices. How do they pay the mortgage? Perhaps Norm Coleman made some introductions...

Posted by: the seal on February 17, 2009 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Truth and accuracy do not matter to the neocon conservative Republican wingnuts.

If they imagine something, then it must be true.

If Rush says it, then it must be true.

And, facts, well, they have a liberal bias.

For years, I've listened to my 85 year old brother-in-law spout his right wing nonsense. He berates social security but makes sure he cashes the check. He says medicaid is a communist move, but it saved his life. He too is convinced that Obama is a secret Moslem, not an American citizen, who is out to enslave the world.

Facts play no part in what he knows as true.

Posted by: Continuum on February 17, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

One thing made clear by the 2008 campaign documentary shot by Alexandra Pelosi (running on HBO now) is that these statements turn into zombie lies that can't be killed; they spread exponentially and live forever in the minds of the gullible, many of whom tend to vote GOP.

Posted by: Noam Sane on February 17, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen: Congresswoman, you've literally lost something, but I don't think it's your country

Touché.

Posted by: trex on February 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

the recovery package is part of a Democratic conspiracy to "direct" funding away from Republican districts, so Democratic districts can "suck up" all federal funds.

As opposed to the current situation, in which big Dem states like New York and California subsidize Red states, which receive more Federal funding than they pay in taxes.

The woman is loon. Are we sure she doesn't repeat these talking points here too? They're SOP for our trolls, and as unselfconcious.

Posted by: Gregory on February 17, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I know it will never happen, but we really need a major media outlet (NY Time, WashPost, CNN, etc) to do a major expose on how these talking points get into the public discourse, get repeated by Republican politicians and get believed by large swathes of the American public even though there is absolutely no truth whatsoever behind them. Then discuss how disruptive this is to being able to have an honest discussion on the merits of any related policy.

It is almost understandable (if despicable) when you have this kind of thing happen around complex issues where major industries (tobacco, petroleum) have an incentive to obscure the scientific facts. It is particularly obscene in cases like this where the lies are so transparent and easily disproven yet are still being promulgated to score cheap political points.

Posted by: tanstaafl on February 17, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

LOL gradysu@9:50. You owe me a keyboard!

NeilB@10:31, see Republican National Committee

Posted by: Marko on February 17, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

One thing made clear by the 2008 campaign documentary shot by Alexandra Pelosi (running on HBO now) is that these statements turn into zombie lies that can't be killed; they spread exponentially and live forever in the minds of the gullible, many of whom tend to vote GOP.

Posted by: Noam Sane on February 17, 2009 at 10:39 AM

That is what is so insidious about them and why any politician repeating them needs to immediately be turned into a nationwide laughingstock. Unfortunately, I don't see any way to do that as long as the media is falling down on the job.

The ACORN slander and the health rationing board idiocy in particular are inexcuseable.

Her confusion about how congressional districts are drawn is embarassing. However, liberals were concerned when it looked like Gregg might be in charge of the Census as Commerce Secretary, so some paranoia about the reverse is to be expected from Republicans.

Posted by: tanstaafl on February 17, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, I don't see any way to do that as long as the media is falling down on the job.

That's why the conservatives need the Fairness Doctrine gone. They're admitting that their propaganda can't withstand fact checking.

(Again, I'll happily trade the Fairness Doctrine for a reversion to the pre-Reagan Era media [strike]ownership[/strike] monopoly rules.

Posted by: Gregory on February 17, 2009 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Zombie lies which will not die, the Oregonian, following the November election, began a "center-right" policy in their Op-Ed section. So, one sees letters to the editor, complaining about "Protecting the pet Salt Marsh mouse for 30 Mill" and the canard about the CBO declaring the Stimulus Bill will not fly. The writers, simply, pass on the Talking Points of the RNC, which has been picked up by FAUX and Drudge. However, it is difficult to have any rebuttal posted. The Editors try to steer you into posting on one of their blogs, instead of printing the rebuttal. Thus, the Zombie Lies continue and grow.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I already have a health care rationing board making health care decisions for my doctor and me. It is the big name at the top of my health insurance card.

Posted by: Th on February 17, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

... and after the bill becomes law, "your doctor will no longer be able to make your healthcare decisions with you."

And the anti-choice congresscritter from MN has a problem with this, how?

Posted by: KarenJG on February 17, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is my representative, and she's an absolute embarassment. I could live with Norm Coleman as my senator, possible corruption notwithstanding, since he appears to be sane. My acquantainces appear to be normal, as well, but I really have to wonder since she was re-elected after exposing herself as a complete joke.


Incidentally, the congressional district has come up in comments but not quite been described. It starts northwest of St. Cloud, where I live, follows I-94 southeast, skirts around the suburbs of the Twin Cities and ends up on the southeast side of Minneapolis. Thus, Bachmann and I live >80 miles apart, and in between is the most densely populated part of the state (in other districts). With any luck at all, she will be redistricted away from me.

Posted by: Bill on February 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I can guarantee I will not lose my country the way the dear Representative from Minnesota has lost her mind! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 17, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is not "unhinged" or "disturbed".

Bachmann is a deliberate, malicious liar.

Why does Steve Benen have such difficulty stating such a simple truth? Why is he always referring to Republicans as "crazy" when in fact they are not crazy at all -- they are liars, reciting scripted, focus-group-tested LIES with deliberate intent to deceive the American people?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

2012 - -
Palin/Cantor
Bachmann & Gringrich chief advisors

Posted by: Ted76 on February 17, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: Preach it brother/sister! I commented her a few days ago that you and I seem to be on the exact same wavelength re: this whole "Are the GOP and the corporate media unhinged, lazy, etc.; or are they simply fuckin'liars?" Keep preachin' it!

Posted by: bikelib on February 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Does the RNC distribute these *talking points for idiots* or do these people just make it up on the fly?

Posted by: CDW on February 17, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans raised sedition to general discourse during the Clinton years. That whole "Community Organizer in Chief" is disrespectful of the President and should be censured by Congress. It is racist on a level that she knows the "base" will understand, and impugns his actions as an unworthy chief executive with everyone else. The campaign is supposed to end with the inauguration.

And that is only one small part of a reprehensible outburst designed to incite uninformed voters to act violently or at least disobediently. This isn't mere stupidity--she should be thrown out of Congress. It is weird how the GOP have become anarchists.

Posted by: Sparko on February 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Second thought: Is it any wonder our country is falling apart when people like her were running it. The republican party, as it exists today, cannot afford to improve the education in this country. If the education system were improved and people were better informed, no one would vote for them.

Posted by: CDW on February 17, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans - a confederacy of dunces!J

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on February 17, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is not "unhinged" or "disturbed".

Have you seen the pictures of her hiding in the bushes to spy on a gay rights protest when she was a state senator?

Still want to claim she's completely sane?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 17, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Until we have local TV stations and newspapers blasting out headlines like "Representative's ignorance shocks observers," the people in their districts will continue to think they know what the hell they are talking about."

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Why would republican owned media call out republicans?

Posted by: James G on February 17, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

If the education system were improved and people were better informed, no one would vote for them.

BINGO!

Posted by: Soc on February 17, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

She was my state rep when she first got elected to public office. She was nuts then, she's nuts now.

Posted by: the seal on February 17, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans not only lie cheat and steal, they are evil.

Posted by: Don Lowell on February 17, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm really starting to think she's the Minnesota electorate's idea of a prank...

Posted by: Fred on February 17, 2009 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann said that there is enough in the stimulus bill to provide every one in the world population with 1430 dollars.

Yup, sure does sound like the lady is really, really stupid. I may be wrong, but 1430 * 6000000000 = 8604000000000. That's 8.604 trillion dollars. There's not nearly enough in the Stim Pkg of 812 or so billion to hand out to every man, woman and child in the world 1430 dollars. If this is the type of reps who are handling the budgeting process in DC, then we're all neck deep in horse apples. What's a zero here and there among friends.

Diese Frau Bachmann ist ein richtiges Ashloch.

And the right winger Chris Baker went along with it. Good thing the Republicans locked themselves out of the allocation process.

Posted by: richsmith2 on February 17, 2009 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

This lunatic will be the MC for the Presidential Banquest at CPAC this year.

Can someone call in an airstrike? :-)

http://radamisto.blogspot.com/2009/02/all-you-need-to-know-about-cpac.html

Posted by: Steve J. on February 17, 2009 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey - the more we hear Michele Bachmann, the more likely it is that people will donate to democratic causes. Bachmann is personally responsible for Obama raising million os donation dollars. Let's hope someone gives her a TV show. She could replace Glen Beck! Thanks Michele - you are a true believer!

Posted by: steve on February 17, 2009 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

"the "Community-Organizer-in-Chief" is also orchestrating a conspiracy involving the Census Bureau, which the president will use to redraw congressional lines to keep Democrats in power for up to "40 years."

Please please please please please let her be right this time.

Posted by: steveb on February 18, 2009 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

...that MB is one sorry case. Let the Republihaters bury themselves. They seem to be doing a pretty good of it on their own. When you have the likes of Joe the joke of a plumber, Rush the Racist and Michelle the Mindless Twit representing you..one has to start taking notice. No doubt cutting the educational funds was part of that plan too..no education.. that way our kids remain stupid so they believe ths kind of narrow minded ignorance and their STUPID RHETORIC and congress women like this one. Only those who feel the same way will believe her and that's because they WANT to ..because they do not have the capacity to appreciate good and intelligent change. No matter what. But you and I and over 70+million people voted intelligently ..because when we heard the sound of intelligence..it made sense..finally! so we voted for Obama..who just happened to be an interracial man. Color truly had nothing to do with it. We voted intelligently. PERIOD. And I thank you my friends. I thank you God and I thank YOU President Obama for trying to do the best you can with what you inherited from a moronic last administration. You truly are the best thing that has happened to the people of this country in a very long long time. I know it will take time to fix the economy. But our prayers will never faulter for the goodness you try to share even with those who oppose you. You represent a man who obviously respects and follows Gods' words and principles to the best of your ability--very admirable. But more importantly, you paid attention and still pay attention ...to the people. REMARKABLE! There is nothing wrong with sharing the wealth. When you give unconditionally unto others who are less fortunate than you--you are blessed tenfold in more ways than one can imagine. Why is it that Repubs do not like kindness, compassion, sharing, the poor people, people of color, people who like to help people? What is so wrong with one wanting to fix our country--that your party predominantly ruined? I ask God that all the time. He says..they know not what they do. So I say to myself and everyone! DO NOT VOTE FOR A REPUBLIHATER EVER!!! Amen.

Posted by: lxo3 on February 18, 2009 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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