Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2009

BACHMANN SEES PATTERNS.... We should at least consider the possibility that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is a secret liberal activist, pretending to be a lunatic in order to make conservative Republicans appear ridiculous.

Rep. Michele Bachmann came up with another doozy during her interview Monday with Pajamas TV. [...]

Here's the quote: "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

An "interesting coincidence." What's interesting about it? I haven't the foggiest idea, but Bachmann apparently sees some significance in the fact that the last flu epidemic occurred under a Democratic president.

Except, of course, it didn't. Not only is Bachmann drawing some kind of bizarre connection that only she understands, she also doesn't realize who was president in 1976. (It was Gerald Ford, a Republican.)

Bachmann's latest example of madness got me thinking, however. The five biggest modern flu crises that scientists know the most about occurred in 1889, 1918, 1957, 1968, and 1976. Three of the five occurred under Republican presidents -- Harrison in 1889, Eisenhower in 1957, and Ford in 1976. The other two -- Wilson in 1918 and LBJ in 1968 -- were Democrats.

You know what this means, don't you? Isn't the significance obvious?

Well, no, probably not.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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That flu is bi-partisan? Just a guess.


Posted by: charles on April 29, 2009 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Holy Cow, patterns!!! Oh My God, coincidence!!!! And so very... uh, interesting. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 29, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

The epidemics all happened in years that end in '8'! Except for the ones that didn't!

Posted by: MattF on April 29, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Viruses don't care who is a Demoncrat or a Repugnacan.

I think Michelle has suffered from bovine-mind-wasting-pontificating-as-far -as-you-can-fling it disease.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 29, 2009 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

The crises under Wilson and LBJ occurred at the end or the peak of major wars; the ones under IKE and Ford occurred a couple years after major conflicts; and the one on Harrison's watch happened about a quarter century after the Civil War, and about a quarter century before WWI. You see?

Posted by: John on April 29, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Also yesterday in an otherwise empty House chamber, Bachman and Steve King had a lively consentathon about how passing a hate crime bill would be the end of religion in America. Speaks volumes about her concept of religion, doesn't it?

Posted by: Danp on April 29, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

And, and, the flu in the 70s had a secretary named Kennedy! and this flu has a secretary named... oh wait, that was something else.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 29, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Verrrry EEnteresting.....but stupid!

Posted by: In What Respect, Charlie? on April 29, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

The same blank look in her eyes, the same rictus grin...where's Arkham Asylum when you need it.


Posted by: Saint Zak on April 29, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

I find it an interesting coincidence that when Michele Bachmann speaks in public stupid things are said! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 29, 2009 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

What a nutbag.

If I lived a few miles north, she'd be my Representative...

Posted by: terraformer on April 29, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

You know what this means, don't you? Isn't the significance obvious?

I think the Yankees won the Pennant those years, which explains everything, or nothing at all. You decide.

Red Sox fan/

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on April 29, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

So, why do you want tax accountants to know history, when they're supposed to be cooking your books, er preparing your tax returns?

Posted by: berttheclock on April 29, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

You couldn't hear her dog whistle? She was obviously referring to this being retribution from God.

Posted by: DR on April 29, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

"You know what this means, don't you?"

a) The lady is too lazy to do the most elementary of homework, or
b) she just doesn't care whatever it is that gets her into the news, or
c) she's a stark raving lunatic.

Personally, I think it's a combination of the three.

Posted by: SRW1 on April 29, 2009 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

At first I just found her funny in a nutty way, but now I'm starting to get a little concerned. I've seen a number of her interviews and video clips recently, and I am in no way joking when I say that I think we're actually watching her degrade into some kind of insanity.

Posted by: Kris on April 29, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Have you noticed that all the flu epidemics in modern history have begun on days ending with the letter "y" and there was a sitting US president at the time?

Wow, something's up with that. Call Rep. Bachman and get her take.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on April 29, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Quit stealing my Headlines and stories...now where is my tinfoil hat

Posted by: The Onion on April 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Kinda ironic that someone questioning the historical knowledge of the MS Wildmann, then says the Yankees won the 1918 World Series. Any true Red Sox fan would know that the Babe was with the Sox, when they won in 1918. Please read Dennis Lehane's tome "The Given Day" for his writing, not only about the Babe and Sox, but, the first flu stricken troops arriving from Europe in Boston Harbor to be taken to, then, Camp Devon.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

The Brits have a nice phrase for it: Barking Mad.

Posted by: MattF on April 29, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

I think DR is right: the flu is a pestilence sent by God to punish us for electing....democrats.

I wish someone could get her to explain this and what she was getting at. It might be extremely funny.

Posted by: MR Bill on April 29, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

'a sitting President" - was that after one of them slipping and falling?

Posted by: berttheclock on April 29, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's a fascinating coincidence that Michele Bachmann is a representative of the same state that elected Jesse Ventura governor. I'm not saying there's something in the water in all those lakes up there, but it is interesting. And weird.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on April 29, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, so we now have Democrat Flu, to go along with Bob Dole's famous Democrat Wars?

Posted by: Eeyore on April 29, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

I got the flu in 1957. It sucked, and so does Rep. Bachman.

Posted by: Jim B on April 29, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Tracing Bachmann's idea-virus

Bachmann just didn't find this psuedo pattern on her own. She's not bright enough to be that dumb on her own. No, she read this somewhere, or heard this somewhere.

Which means...

Anyone so interested can now do an epidemiological study on which pig sty Bachmann catches her main ideas from. That would prove fascinating....

Posted by: koreyel on April 29, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

God, I hope she's never defeated. There isn't enough popcorn in the world.

Posted by: jprichva on April 29, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

@Kris And the sad part is the crazy bitch continues to get full press coverage as if she were a rational person.

Posted by: John R on April 29, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Palin/Bachmann 2012, because conservatism is hot and Obama is not!

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on April 29, 2009 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Ford was a RINO.

Posted by: art hackett on April 29, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

But she was talking about the the SWINE flu -- isn't it intersting that when the party of pork is in office the flu virus mutates from swine to a human to human variation?

She really is nuts.

Posted by: Barbara on April 29, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

She's not bright enough to be that dumb -koreyel

That's priceless and accurate. I like it as much as I like "I'd have to get better to die".

Bachman is a stark-raving lunatic.

If people didn't actually listen to her and give her airtime, it would be even funnier. Although, if she spewed this lunacy on a street corner, she would quickly find herself being sedated and "under observation".


Posted by: GreyGuy on April 29, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

All of those standing under the Big Tent of Freedom will be inoculated from the swing flu, by the sheer power of collective freedom. I find that very interesting.

Posted by: RollaMO on April 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Well, each year has a 9 in it! Now that is significant. We should be safe (after this one) until 2019.

Posted by: tomj on April 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't she getting all --and I do mean all -- her info from winger radio, then breathlessly repeating shreds of it on the House floor and in front of random microphones? That is to say: of course she's batshit crazy, but I don't think she comes up with the crazy all by her little self.

Posted by: shortstop on April 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I was seriously considering moving to Minnesota but with Bachmann and Coleman being major politicians there I've reconsidered and think for my own personal safety and the safety of my family I should stay away from there.

Posted by: Gandalf on April 29, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't there actually have to be a break-out before she can draw conclusions. Right now we have 60 some cases which is hardly enough to make conclusions about anything.

Posted by: ScottW on April 29, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

You're right. There's nothing significant. However, Bachmann is another gift that keeps on giving. Personally she seems to be more entertaining than Sarah Palin. You gotta love watching her make a fool of herself.

Posted by: ctrenta on April 29, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK


You obviously haven't been hanging around with enough right-wing conspiracy theorists. Here's what this is about.

In response to the 1976 swine flu, Jimmy Carter mandated (in 1977) that the US armed forces must be vaccinated for the flu. In the end, no one in the Armed Forces died from the flu but maybe half a dozen died from the vaccine and some additional number were sickened by the vaccine (there is always a possibility of a bad reaction to vaccines in a tiny % of the population - for the record this is NOT a support for the autism hoax). There was great unhappiness in the military over this.

Fast forward to the 1980s where it was an article of faith among the nutjobs that AIDS was a bio-warfare agent that got loose from a secret lab in Africa (I'm not making this up) followed by a big cover-up. (Ironically there is support for this in the some extreme parts of the African-American community with the idea that it was a plot to kill Africans/African-Americans.)

Now Bachmann, who definitely listens to the fringe elements, is using code words to suggest that this is a release of a virus created by a secret government lab, no doubt to further the ultimate goal of US government/World Government (as if!) to declare martial law and herd people into camps as a "quarantine" measure. Their "proof" will be that there is no way (despite lots of science showing otherwise) that a virus that is part bird, part pig and part human could naturally occur.

Look for them to go berserk if someone creates a vaccine for this version of the swine flu (they are actively working on it) and tries to start an active vaccination program. Particularly if they require military personnel, who could be called out in a true pandemic, to be vaccinated.

Posted by: MichMan on April 29, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that every major recession and depression has occurred under a Republican president.

Posted by: gradysu on April 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

"Anyone so interested can now do an epidemiological study on which pig sty Bachmann catches her main ideas from. "

It's called "church".

These folks need an apocalypse to justify teh crazy. Even if all the germs, bombs, churchs, politicians, commie liberals ceased to exist, the assholes will always manufacture yet another reason to squeal like rutting swine.

Posted by: MissMudd on April 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The presidency was captured by the opposition party in the next election every time.

Posted by: aretino on April 29, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I think Steve King has given up the contest, and has conceded the championship to Our Michelle. Why, he didn't even co-sign the "Parental Rights Amendment" that darling of "Bible-based baby beaters." Maybe he actually deciding to be sane for a while.

Naaah, no way, but hopefully Zeit will keep an eye on him for us. He's got a long way to go to get back in the race.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on April 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Great, wait until Bachman hears about Three Mile Island.

She'll say it was a Carter/liberal plot to make nuclear power look bad.

Posted by: 2Manchu on April 29, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Dumb? Demagogue? Or both?
At this point I'd vote for the last option.

Posted by: reidmc on April 29, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

For those of us who were around at the time of the previous swine flu scare -- and I'm not even a senior citizen yet, so there must be lots of us -- it's amazing someone could bungle the basic fact that Ford was president during it, because he became associated with it. The campaign to vaccinate people was seen as a fiasco because someone died after receiving the shot -- a completely random event, but one highlighted by an already-pathetic national press -- and pundits cited this "failure" as bookend to the "WIN button" (standing for Whip Inflation Now) campaign of Ford's first year...all of which tied in with Chevy Chase's falling-down lampoon to cement the image of Ford as a hopeless buffoon not up to the demands of the presidency.

It's astounding to me sometimes how little basic knowledge exists among the people who get paid to explain things to us.

Posted by: demtom on April 29, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

It's called "church".

Game. Set. And match. To MissMudd.

Posted by: chrenson on April 29, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"Hoot-Smalley" was enacted by FDR. It killed the Coolidge economy of the "roaring 20's".

Pass it on.

Posted by: Bethie on April 29, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Bethie, must have been all of that party-hardying of FDR beating Al Smith in the '28 primaries and roaring into the Presidency. Yeah, 1928 was such a big year for FDR. Now, tell us more about, then, Governor Coolidge refusing to send in the troops on the first night of the Boston police strike, but, sending them in late and blaming that first night on the Boston Mayor. Yeah, ole' Cal broke the Police Union and catapulted himself into Presidential consideration. No wonder St Ronny had his picture on the Oval Office wall, as he believed in breaking unions, also.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 29, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

As I recall, the swine flu epidemic of 1976 never happened. There was a local outbreak at Fort Dix, one young man died, and that triggered quite a panic. But it never became an epidemic, let alone a pandemic. It was the Y2K bug of American medicine. Now as for the panicky political over-reaction, Gerald Ford can take full blame for that.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 29, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans, ladies and gentlemen. Both insane and incorrect, as always.

Posted by: DH Walker on April 29, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if one of the voices in her head is Jerry Falwell?

Posted by: OXYMORON on April 29, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK


The good news is after we survive this, all we have to do is keep electing dems and we're safe.

Posted by: eric l on April 29, 2009 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Significance? That Michelle Bachmann is exhibiting signs of a intelligence deficit disorder (IDD)

Posted by: Greytdog Δ on April 29, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it would be kind for one of these TV hosts to tell Bachmann she is full of it, like Cheddar Cheese used to do for Emily Litella.

Posted by: qwerty on April 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK



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