Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2009

BACHMANN FEARS CENSUS-DRIVEN INTERNMENT CAMPS.... Last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), solidifying her well-deserved reputation for madness, insisted she will refuse to cooperate with the 2010 census. This happens to be illegal, but the Minnesota Republican has an elaborate conspiracy theory to bolster her position.

Today, Bachmann appeared on Fox News to defend this, and came up with a new argument: "If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps."

Bachmann added, "I'm not saying that that's what the administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps."

When Fox News' Megyn Kelly, who'd been bashing ACORN with Bachmann to this point, noted that members of Congress probably shouldn't deliberately ignore federal law, Bachmann added, "I'm just not comfortable with the way this census is being handled," in part because Americans are "compelled" to answer the census.

It's tempting to note that the census hasn't started and compulsion is kind of the point, but I don't imagine Bachmann would understand.

Ali Frick, showing great patience, fact-checks the Fox News interview, but let's also note, as Eric Kleefeld does, that Bachmann's concerns about census-driven internment camps is consistent with her insane argument that the Obama administration may try to force Americans into "re-education camps."

I'm curious, does one have to work hard to be this crazy, or does it come naturally?

Steve Benen 2:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (65)

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Comments

I bet she is so wild in bed.

Posted by: Bock Man on June 25, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

she does have that "mary tyler moore on hallucinogenics" -- you know, the bad brown acid -- sex appeal about her...

eewww, what am i saying?

Posted by: neill on June 25, 2009 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I want to see her and Katherine Harris bump tacos...

Posted by: citizen_pain on June 25, 2009 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

jesus, guys, dial it back. she's clearly insane.

Posted by: travis on June 25, 2009 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Rep. Bachmann has to work very hard at being crazy. Another rightard suddenly concerned with privacy now that one of their own isn't in the WH. Don't fill out the census, Michelle, you'll make a nice bitch to someone in jail.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on June 25, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Just because she is looney toons does not mean that a substantial portion of the amerikan publik will not believe and agree with her.

Besides that, it will be a census-driven, re-education camp!

Posted by: AngryOldVet on June 25, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't know WWII was still going on in 1947! The stuff you learn on Fox News!

Posted by: Speed on June 25, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just as a consistency check, someone should find out if she answered all the questions in a past census (well, assuming she's more than nine years old).

Posted by: Jim G on June 25, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I never knew "Japanese" was an ethnic category for census purposes.

Posted by: KTinOhio on June 25, 2009 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I say let her go on ranting and as it gets closer start painting all those anti-census nuts as UNPATRIOTIC. If the tabels were turned you know they would be wailing that tune.

Posted by: John R on June 25, 2009 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Steve, how can you impugn the motives and reputation of this well known expert on constitutional law ? I'm shocked.

Posted by: rbe1 on June 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder which question in the census she thinks will cause her to be rounded up. Or anyone she cares about, for that matter.

Posted by: Danp on June 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody know whether this claim is actually true?

I've gotten census records for genealogical research and they ask, among other things, for country or place of birth. I don't remember them asking about race.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Earl Warren could have used the phone book to find Japanese-Americans just as easily.

Posted by: Barbara on June 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

And for the record, I am completely against any effort to send Rep. Bachmann to a re-education camp. Send her to an education camp first.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on June 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The answer is both!

Working hard at teh crazy comes naturally when you're THAT crazy.

But seriously, I wonder how the obsessiveness manifests. Does she have little notepads everywhere for jotting down brilliant political ideas, and overflowing wastebaskets full of screwed-up note paper? Does she alphabetize her baking goods, or stack all her plates in the cupboard with the patterns exactly aligned? Is her muffler polished? (Snerk.) Does she require all her staff to wear the same kind of socks? Does she eat only white foods?

Really, it would be fascinating to have a 24-hour camera on her for several days.

Posted by: bleh on June 25, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

PALIN/BACHMANN 2012!!!!

Posted by: Mike on June 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

We know she's crazy, but how in the world can 46% of the voters in Minnesotas 6th congressional district be as well? I used to think all Minnesotans were pretty common sense. What redeeming value can they possibly see in her, besides the obvious comedic aspect?

Posted by: REN on June 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

citizen_pain wrote

"I want to see her and Katherine Harris bump tacos..."

_________________________________________________

I just about fell out of my chair....LMAO!

Posted by: fred on June 25, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

OK, at the risk of being labeled Bachmann-esque, I actually agree with the tenet that the only information required to be given to census takers is the number of people living in the home.

I have responded to the last two censuses (censi?) this way, giving the questioner the number of adults and children in residence; all that is needed to determine "Representatives and direct taxes." Any other question I believe to be a violation of my privacy.

Posted by: Shantyhag on June 25, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

A little of both. You work at it (being this crazy) AND it comes naturally. They kind of compliment one another and take on a wonderful life of their own.

And boy, is she on a roll...how do these people manage to stay in their positions and get paid for the same? Well, makes for good 'Fox fodder', for starters, I suppose.

Posted by: Insanity on June 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Her rhetoric is dangerous especially given that people are obviously listening to her. I can't fathom how irresponsible someone must be to abuse their position of power and not-so-subtly suggest that the very government she works for is planning to round up people based on their census answers.

Posted by: doubtful on June 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bock Man made me bellow with laughter.

And Steve King is getting smoked.

Something tells me that anyone less lazy than I could probably find some instance of Michele Bachmann defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII on "national security" grounds.

Posted by: shortstop on June 25, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Travis on this one. Yes, Bachmann managed to secure a seat on a back bench in the House, but except for that minor fact she is almost entirely irrelevant. And she's completely insane.

Making fun of Bachmann is like making fun of the homeless guys standing outside the Capitol with lengthy manifestos written on posterboard. This woman is not the kind of moral hypocrite or "I already got mine" heartless individualist that we all love to hate. She obviously has a serious mental illness, and it's only compounded by the fact that she is developmentally disabled.

If she acted this way because she was huffing spray paint, you'd take pity on her for struggling with a horrifying addiction. But because she was born this way you all want to make fun of her. Well I won't do it!

Posted by: skeptic on June 25, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Am I alone in thinking that the prospect of right wingers ignoring the census could be a good thing?

Posted by: Ethan on June 25, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

People, please, stop insulting the insane! I used to work in an inpatient psychiatric hospital and, overwhelmingly, most of the patients I met- with the notable exception of some disorganized schizophrenics- were *far* more in touch w/reality than Ms. Bachman.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on June 25, 2009 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann :"If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt."

Um, FDR died on April 12, 1945, so obviously Bachmann not only fears the census, she also fears zombie presidents.

Posted by: MN on June 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

But because she was born this way you all want to make fun of her. Well I won't do it!

Well, I will. People like her ought to be shamed out of office. The GOP is stuffed to the rims with jerks, assholes, douchebags, crooks and loons of all shapes and sizes, but Bachmann truly exists in a class all her own. Therapy won't help; she needs to be removed from office and committed.

Posted by: electrolite on June 25, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

she also fears zombie presidents.

Well I do too! For 8 years, I was deathly afraid of George W Bush.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on June 25, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

bleh at 3:14 PM I think you've got a great idea . New A&E show.. Michelle Bachman.. Wingnut in Action. Follow hher around 7-24 . It would be a more compelling train wreck than Anna Nichole and Ozzie Ozbourn combined. I'd pay to see that .

Posted by: John R on June 25, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

BRRRRAAAAIIIIINNNNNNSSSSSSS!!!!!

(and censuuuuuus dataaaa!!!!!)

Posted by: Zombie FDR on June 25, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I am not that politically correct. I find her hilarious despite her mental instability. It is true that I would probably be more sympathetic if she was not a GOP member of Congress. As to Minnesota remember that they managed to cast as many(almost) votes for Norm Coleman as Al Franken and look how well that has worked out; Minnesotans choose to live in a place where it is 110 and humid in the summer and 40+ below zero in the winter without factoring in the wind; and according to news reports have signed Brett Farve to a contract---as a player. I think Michelle fits in nicely.

Posted by: terry on June 25, 2009 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Does she realize FDR died in '45?

Posted by: Senorita Bonita on June 25, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Congressional Representative Michele Bachmann - blame the voters of her district, and demand they don't ever elect someone so crazy again! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on June 25, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder which question in the census she thinks will cause her to be rounded up.

I'd guess it'll be: Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? Answer no, and you'll spend a night in the box. Additionally, the ACORN census takers will attempt to hand you multiple voter registration cards and if you refuse to sign them, you'll spend a night in the box. And if you complain about your family members being sent to the box, it's a night in the box.

Obama explained all this in detail during the Anti-American Retreat & Stalin Expo last month. Very fascinating. And what Bachmann says, it's true. It's all true. The bogeyman is real and he's living in the Whitehouse.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on June 25, 2009 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Am I alone in thinking that the prospect of right wingers ignoring the census could be a good thing?

Dang, Ethan! I like the way your mind works.

Posted by: Rand Careaga on June 25, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Am I alone in thinking that the prospect of right wingers ignoring the census could be a good thing?

Posted by: Ethan on June 25, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Nope, that was my first thought, too.

In fact, if we play this right, we could snatch several dozen House seats (and Electoral College votes!) away from the red states and keep them safe in blue hands for the next decade.

And if it really is a crime not to answer questions beyond household number, at a minimum, we could get the craziest of the crazies locked up for a while.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on June 25, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Congressional Representative Michele Bachmann - blame the voters of her district, and demand they don't ever elect someone so crazy again!

Chalk it up to third party shenanigans. Jesse Ventura's Independence Party actually endorsed the Dem candidate, but they neglected to force their own candidate to withdraw from the race, giving Bachmann the plurality.

Posted by: Disputo on June 25, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious, does one have to work hard to be this crazy, or does it come naturally?
Could be latent chronic infection, somewhere it could hide, like the abdomen. Does she wince a lot--might be pain and not tics.

Posted by: Hazy on June 25, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I strongly suspect that if Bachmann was around at the time she would have been totally onboard with the internment camp thing. She'd probably even laud the Census Bureau for doing their patriotic duty.

Posted by: raff on June 25, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm curious, does one have to work hard to be this crazy, or does it come naturally?"

I call it the "genes vs. environment" question. Was Michelle born such an asshole, or does she have to practice at it every day?

Posted by: barkleyg on June 25, 2009 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Charles Krauthammer can turn his keen psycho-analytic mind to Bachmann instead of making the most egregious diagnoses of every insignificant Obama statement.

Posted by: Redleg on June 25, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I say fine, and more power to her. I think that fundamentalist white GOP people should be discouraged from being counted. It means more representation for traditionally undercounted groups, and who knows, maybe another congressperson for some blue area.

Posted by: Mimikatz on June 25, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I have a co-worker who hails from Minneapolis- Bachmann's district, MN-6, is directly to the north + west of Minneapolis- and she says that Bachmann, as bat-shit conservative as she may be, is pretty much a perfect representative for her district. OK, perhaps not in the bat-shit part, but in the conservative part, at least.

This could well be an example of a district getting the representation it deserves.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on June 25, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

You all can laugh, but... Was I the only one who thought that Bush might build internment camps for us? Slightly modified Gitmos, "guarded" by "contractors" (Blackwater)? Only, I didn't think he'd get his data from the '00 census except, maybe, for the basics (like, how many guns in your household); the rest would have come from the wiretaps etc...

Posted by: exlibra on June 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the Republican line was that Japanese internment was a good thing. So confusing!

Posted by: aretino on June 25, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

We think she's crazy and she is, but lots of people voted for her. Don't ever forget what that means.

Posted by: N e i l B on June 25, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Could be latent chronic infection... -Hazy

Untreated syphilis can attack the nervous system and cause the patient to go crazy and is especially common in patients with HIV.

How about that, horny commenters up top, now are you ready to jump in the sack with her?

Posted by: doubtful on June 25, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

As a Democrat living in Bachmann's district, I can't help thinking that perhaps if a bunch of Republicans in our district refuse to answer the census, we could get redistricted and wind up with a saner representative. A girl can dream.

Posted by: Susan on June 25, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I agree: Let's encourage conservatives to illegally eschew the census! That'd be good for all of us, including zombie Democratic presidents.

Posted by: pParkerT on June 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just great. When the first poor census worker is shot, will Bachmann feel any responsibility?

Posted by: jrw on June 25, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

We think she's crazy and she is, but lots of people voted for her. Don't ever forget what that means.

I assume that means lots of people are crazy. Not exactly news.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on June 25, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I totally agree with Congresswoman Bachman. I urge her, every one of her supporters in her district, and Republicans across the land to follow her suggestion.

Do NOT comply with the census.

Posted by: Mrs. Myke on June 25, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

I told you the alimony check is in the mail. Now go get a manicure or something and stop inserting yourself into our discussion.

Posted by: Myke K on June 25, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if this has been mentioned upthread, but the census is also mandated by the Constitution, that quaint little parchment that Bachmann swore an oath to uphold.

Posted by: JM-NYC on June 25, 2009 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

I read somewhere today that there is a $5,000 fine for not completing the census forms properly. With that in mind, I hope all the wingnuts that follow her advice will forward their bills to Ms Bachmann so she can pay them. I think it's the least she can do for meddling in others' lives, and encouraging them to break laws.

How I hope she finally gets booted out of the House next time she runs. She really belongs in a lunatic asylum!!

Posted by: mrspeel on June 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Add this to her ever growing list of conspiracy theories. Here's a small sample.

"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under Democrat President Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it is an interesting coincidence." April 28, 2009

"This is their agenda. I know it is hard to believe, it's hard to fathom -- but this is 'mission accomplished' for them. They want Americans to take transit and move to the inner cities. They want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, [and] take light rail to their government jobs. That's their vision for America." August 8, 2008

The tinfoil hat has a queen . . . and her name is Michelle Bachmann.

Posted by: DK on June 25, 2009 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying Bachmann is batsh*t crazy. I'm just saying that her insanity reaches levels previously found only in the guano of flying rodents.

Posted by: Zorro for the Common Good on June 25, 2009 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I was a canvasser in the 2000 census. We were told that people did not have to respond to all the questions on the long form - just the questions regarding number of people in a household. I imagine that is true in next year's census, unless Congress changes the law. And, the only places I visited were those addresses that did not mail in the census form. So, if you don't want to answer all the questions on the long form - you don't have to. If you don't want a door-to-door canvasser visiting, return your census form. I've been thinking that maybe a lot of people fantasizing about how they're going to mess up the Federal government by not responding to any question other than the number of people in a household are going to be mighty disappointed if they don't get the long form!

Posted by: BC on June 26, 2009 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Analyze the message, not the messenger. The govt. has the right to count citizens for the purposes of apportionment and representation.

How many people live in my house is the only information I need to provide.

I wish you wouldn't be so quick to give up YOUR "rights". You are taking away MY civil liberties by doing so.

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