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Tilting at Windmills

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March 30, 2010

BACHMANN ACCUSES AFRICAN-AMERICAN LAWMAKERS OF LYING.... Oh, Michele Bachmann, is there anything you won't say out loud?

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told a crowd at a Duluth, Minn., rally over the weekend that there is no evidence that several black lawmakers were harassed by conservative protesters on Capitol Hill in the days leading up to the health care reform vote.

Black lawmakers, including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), reported that they had been spat on and slurred by protesters demonstrating against the health reform bill last week.

"Democrats said that they were called the 'N word,' which of course would be wrong and inappropriate. But no one has any record of it. No witness saw it, it's not on camera, it's not on audio," she said. "They said that they were spat upon. No one saw it."

She went on, "There's a $10,000 reward right now for anyone who can produce a video or an audio. Don't you think we would have seen a video or an audio by now if there was something out there?"

I see. So, Michele Bachmann would have us believe that John Lewis is a liar. John Lewis, who has demonstrated more integrity, honesty, and courage in his career than Bachmann's limited intellect can even fathom, is deserving of mistrust, because he heard racial slurs and talked about it. Got it.

Here are a few details for the right-wing Minnesotan to consider.

1. When Bachmann's buddies began hurling bigoted slurs at her Democratic colleagues, there were plenty of witnesses, many of them journalists who reported on them. "No witness saw it"? That' s backwards.

2. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) not only claims to have been spat on, there's a video of the incident. Moreover, the right-wing activist who did the spitting was arrested. "Don't you think we would have seen a video"? Michele, we have seen a video. (I'll take that $10,000 reward now, please.)

3. A wide variety of Democratic lawmakers, many of them African American, including Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) have received faxes with images of nooses on gallows. The faxes have been given to law enforcement officials. If Bachmann wants to see them, I'm sure that can be arranged.

It's easy to expect garden-variety stupidity from Michele Bachmann, but these remarks question the integrity of her colleagues, who've been harassed by Bachmann's unhinged friends. The sooner she apologizes, the better.

Steve Benen 1:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Comments

Just wanted to know who is putting up the $10,000 reward? Is it her money? Will she issue a public statement saying she was wrong if somebody claims the reward?

Posted by: Jerry on March 30, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

It pains me to admit this, but I saw about four minutes of faux news last night and this is pretty much what Brit Hume said. He also questioned whether allegations of racism were germane now that we have an African American president.

Expect to hear a lot more of this.

Posted by: pParkerT on March 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Bachmann---YOU LIE!!!

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 30, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, You're right always, but keep in mind: these are people who boast about "making our own reality." Facts, schmacts. In their world a fact is an opinion, and in their opinion some facts don't happen. Also some laws don't apply, as well as some provisions of the Bill of Rights. Etc.

Posted by: SF on March 30, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

In this specific instance, I have yet to see any unambiguous link of the name-calling and spitting.

I have NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that they occurred but before running to the presss and accuse someone of yelling the N-word, it would be good to have evidence.

A skeptical public rightly will say that in this age of YouTube and the Internet why isn't there any evidence.

Bachmann is not wrong on this point.

The video linked in the post is laughable.

All I saw was someone yelling at the congressman and obviously some stuff came out of his mouth. I didn't see a "spit" in the meaning of the word when someone accuses people of calling them racist names and intentionally spitting.

Most people who are not Democratic party activists would also *not* see an intentional "spit" in this video.

It also DOES NOT HELP if the person arrested was not charged because Cleaver didn't want charges pressed. Most reasonable people will look at the video and say, "no kidding he dropped the charges."


Posted by: Observer on March 30, 2010 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Can't members of Congress be censured for comments like this? If not, what would it take? Actually being the spitter? DNA evidence of spit? Maybe she's reinventing the magic loogie? Wheres Kramer? Someone get Newman's take on this.

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on March 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I love your blog. It's an excellent aggregator of news and links, and you write very well in a clear, concise style.

But I have to ask...

You frequently end posts about stupid, hypocritical, and offensive things said by Republicans by saying something along the lines of "they really ought to be ashamed" or in this case "the sooner she apologizes, the better."

Given that Bachmann is so far down the rabbit hole that she might surface in China any day now, it's safe to say that she's more likely to kill and eat a cute puppy on live tv than apologize.

So is this closing comment intended purely as ironic commentary on the fact that we all know Bachmann isn't going to apologize or feel any shame? Is it just there to pay tribute to the professional ethics of the political system you *wish* we lived in? Or do you genuinely hold out hope that Michelle Bachmann is going to have a moment of epiphany and suddenly feel remorse for her behavior?

Posted by: LaFollette Progressive on March 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I just can't figure out whom I should believe here. Gosh, that's a toughie.

Posted by: ed on March 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Please can we get rid of this woman, the very mention of her name makes my teeth hurt.

Posted by: JS on March 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jerry @ 1:32. It's Breitbart.

Posted by: jmc on March 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

actually, breitbart upped it to $100k @ 30 sec(ish)

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201003290055

Posted by: bkny on March 30, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wow what a psycho...not only are they incapable of admitting mistakes and self-reflection, they are so bitter about racial equality that they will go to any length to discredit people most Americans consider to be heroes. To Bachmann the civil rights movement was a tragedy and guys like Lewis have been using their oppression for cheap political gains, which the rest of us consider to be an oppressed population fighting for their rights, leading to the major civil rights achievements of the past 50 years.

Posted by: Ari Rutenberg on March 30, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

She won't apologize. Her specialty is throwing these types of verbal Molotov Cocktails to feed the base and the sensationalism of it draws media attention where it's repeated and (some) people then tend to believe there's something to it. This MO also brings in campaign money. The crazier the claim the better. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. She's made herself a national figure just with this practice with no legislative achievements to speak of.

Posted by: P.S. on March 30, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

once again I find myself asking the question "how do you NOT make a campaign ad out of this?"

Posted by: mcc on March 30, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is obvious to all that the single part of the Bill of Rights that is of importance to the reich wing is the 2nd Amendment.

Patriot's Day falls on the 3rd Monday of April each year. This year that is April 19th. On that day there will be a 'Second Amendment March' on Washington, DC. I have heard numerous persons declare that Patriot's Day should be permanently changed to the 19th of April.

As the reich wing counts upon a complete lack of memory or history from the Amerikan Sheeple, it is probably appropriate in their minds to have Patriot's Day each year on April 19th and to have gun owners rights marches that day.

For those reading who are included in the institutional memory loss suffered by the Amerikan Sheeple, April 19th is the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City. Patriot's Day, anyone!

Posted by: LessThanAmusedOldVet on March 30, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

This seems to be more big lie goodness .

Posted by: FRP on March 30, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Riddle me this - is Michele Bachmann actually good at ANYTHING? I mean, if you could point to her and say, "Yes, she's a right-wing asshole, but she sure can balance that budget/unite the workers/inspire schoolchildren to achieve better results/stamp out minor revolts by the unions..." I might be able to understand why the people of Minnesota let her continue holding office. But I'm damned if I can see a single positive quality about her from reading, and the one time I saw her in person (on TV, I mean, on The Daily Show), she came off as such a scatterbrain that it's hard to imagine her getting hired to bag groceries at Applebee's.

Blogs have accomplished more challenging things than getting Michele Bachmann sacked. Betcha you could do it if you tried.

Posted by: Mark on March 30, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Keep calling her out on the reward, Steve, and then donate it to the charity that you think will most make her head spin on its axis.

Posted by: dr. bloor on March 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Re - the right wing militia case in Michigan, after all Michelle Bachman did say she wanted them armed and dangerous. They were obeying orders.

Posted by: Joan on March 30, 2010 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Zimbabwization of Arizona

Well Sarah Palin did get loud cheers when she said the media mischaracterized the "common sense" conservative movement. Expect to hear more of this.

Meanwhile. Some kind rich corporation (not me as I am not rich nor a corporation, although I am corporeal unlike a corporation) needs to start taking out the weird repubs. Why? Well, what corporations need most is stability political stability. And the Republicans AKA Tea Party represents the opposite of stability -- example teh AZ state legislature cut its state parks budget 80% over the past 3 years. So state parks are either closing or taken over by volunteers and county governments.

They also cut az version of medicade so that 310,000 will be without health insurance in FY 10/11. Plus they cancelled the state program for health insurance for poor kids thus costing the state $2 billion in revenue.

Oh and Phoenix has added a tax on food.

It's tragic. To cripple a perfectly good functioning stable government well we know what happens ... look at Zimbabwe.

Posted by: Kurt on March 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

The right's efforts to subvert objective evidence get more and more ridiculous. Photos and videos have been considered good proof for accusations, but now the Repubs are trying to flip this into the absence of video is proof that it didn't happen. Remember the old saw, "Absence of proof is not proof of absence."
They claim that there are so many cellphones around that someone should have a picture. These incidents occur very quickly and anyone who has ever tried action photography knows how hard it is to be pointed and focused at exactly the right spot at the right moment. Good photos of dramatic events are very rare.
Also, most of the people at the scene were teabaggers. They will not be coming forward with their photos. Others were using their phones to talk to people. So the number of cellphones present is not a strong argument for the Repos to be using.
This claim that there is no evidence because there are no videos is absurd and needs to be loudly mocked.
oldswede

Posted by: oldswede on March 30, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK
Patriot's Day falls on the 3rd Monday of April each year. This year that is April 19th. On that day there will be a 'Second Amendment March' on Washington, DC. I have heard numerous persons declare that Patriot's Day should be permanently changed to the 19th of April.

The irony here is that the wingnuts now hold the same philosophy as Chairman Mao: "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on March 30, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

During the Bush hegemony Cheney said, "Deficits don't matter."

The new Republican meme is , "Facts don't matter."

Posted by: DAY on March 30, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If you ignore facts and reality, you can believe anything. She knows a video exists- but in her crazy Cylon brain that data is corrupt.

Posted by: johnnymags on March 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

@ Observer- I guess you missed also, the photo evidence of the head Tea Party Mad Hatter with the "NIGGAR" sign. It would be irresponsible not to speculate on your skewed estimation of the facts embedded in this discussion.

Sorry, but if a civil rights figure/no representative says someone called him the N word I'm pretty sure he heard it. Not the first time in his life,sadly. the mics on these cell phone cameras aren't that great and won't pick up from 10 feet away.

Posted by: johnnymags on March 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, she will never apologize. Never. Secondly, she is only spouting the current talking points of the right. Breitbart of Big Hollywood went even further and said that it was racist of the black congresspeople to walk through the crowds of white teabaggers trying to incite the crowd to do exactly what they did. This is part and parcel of the new dogma of the right. When you think of it, what else do they have?

Michele Bachmann is a disgrace to my state, and so are her constituents. Thankfully, I can comfort myself with Betty McCollum (my rep), Keith Ellison, and Al Franken.

Posted by: asiangrrlMN on March 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

But, the scariest part of Michelle B, is that she made a very good living for years doing taxes for others. Audits, anyone?

However, considering their actions, surprised the April 19 folk don't sleep over for the birthday celebration of their patron saint on the 20th. That being good ole Adlolf. They do smear the brave folk who stood very tall on the first April 19th in question.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 30, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the $10,000 reward is coming from the tens of thousands of dollars Bachmann has taken from convicted money-launderer and cocaine-and-gun-runner Frank vennes Jr.:

http://tinyurl.com/6ddkst


Posted by: Karl on March 30, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/3/25/850840/-Spock-with-a-Beard:-The-Sequel

Posted by: VaLiberal on March 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, until she apologizes, my universe will be all out of whack.

Posted by: norbizness on March 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Observer--are you really suggesting that Cleaver would be unable to differentiate between spittle from an enraged zealot and being spat upon? Seriously? I won't even address the rest of your blame the victim nonsense...

Posted by: Mike Lamb on March 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

So is this closing comment intended purely as ironic commentary on the fact that we all know Bachmann isn't going to apologize or feel any shame?

I'm guessing a bit of all three, since Steve seems to have an optimistic nature. The political system we have today, where the likes of Michelle Bachmann have power and all the uncontested air time they need on the national media, is harming this nation and rendering it ungovernable.

Ultimately, the only way to deter erratic, dishonest behavior is through social sanction. Thirty years ago, oddballs and habitual liars like Bachmann were around, even in congress, but they weren't the leadership cadre. The parties and the media valued common sense and honesty just enough to keep better people in the spotlight. Standards are lower these days, and the ability to draw TV audiences is the only requirement for becoming a political star. Competence and integrity make you boring and you don't get to be on TV.

Posted by: Midland on March 30, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

This from the same person who thinks the Obama administration is building re-education camps for America's youth.


Posted by: 2Manchu on March 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachmann was the type of student who would ask for extra credit for breathing, while she tried to talk her fellow students to hold their breaths! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 30, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Observer is such an illiterate moron, he or she missed the point that the Capitol police arrested the spitter. Cleaver refused to press charges because he has more class in his little finger than Michelle Bachman can ever dream of containing from head to toe.

Posted by: lou on March 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I've watched the video of the "spitting" incident a couple of times, and it clearly looks like the man charged was shouting at the time that Rep. Cleaver got his face splattered. In my experience, it's hard to scream and spit simultaneously. While it may be that the man arrested would have liked to spit on the Representative, I have to agree with Observer that this particular incident looks more like the unitentional projection of spittle than what I would commonly think of when someone's accused of "spitting" on someone. Verifiable instances of right-wing looniness abound. Inflating events such as this one into something that it probably wasn't only gives the right an excuse to dismiss valid instances of incivility and thuggery as left wing b.s.

Posted by: wheresthebeef on March 30, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Can we please stop subjecting Michelle Bachmann to inaccurate name-calling?
She is not stupid. She is not insane.

She is a rotten shit-head.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 30, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I usually limit myself to one response per article, but as I have thought about this latest Bachmannism, I couldn't help but focus on the one retort that may, if repeated over and over with each absurd utterance, frame Michelle Bachmann for good. It's a simple Monty Python reply: She's loony!

Every utterance Bachmann makes should be rejoined by a chorus of "She's loony!" Now, get out there and practice it: "She's loony!" "She's loony!" -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 30, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Riddle me this - is Michele Bachmann actually good at ANYTHING?

Yes. She's very good at mendacity.

Posted by: ckelly on March 30, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachman = the new Ann Coulter

Posted by: Dolly Dagger on March 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

"The sooner she apologizes, the better".

No. The sooner she's better, she'll apologize. Fortunately, in recent decades psychiatry has made tremendous strides in the treatment of loons.

Posted by: JW on March 30, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, part of this is Representative Cleaveland's fault. If he had pressed charges against the person who spit on him, it would be harder for Bachman to deny that it happened. You cannot win a fight when you refuse to fight.

Posted by: Bill on March 30, 2010 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Michelle Bachmann is stupid. She's an attorney afterall. But she is most assuredly a propagandist and that is infinitely more dangerous than being stupid.

Posted by: Robert Abbott on March 30, 2010 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

From: Hells Littlest Angel - "Can we please stop subjecting Michelle Bachmann to inaccurate name-calling? She is not stupid. She is not insane. She is a rotten shit-head."

To the point and perfectly accurate. No need for anything further. Brilliant!

Posted by: Mekales on March 30, 2010 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bill, his name is Cleaver, and he's a minister. I can see your point, but a minister is going to turn the other cheek.

Besides, he's got better things to do with his time. The only people who are going to buy into this horseshit are the crazies.

These incidents were reported as they happened, and most people heard about them a week ago. These clownholes coming back a week later and saying they didn't happen aren't convincing anyone other than their own cadre of fact-challenged 20-percenters.

I'd like to see Bachmann try to bring that bullshit to the House floor, because that could result in some kind of sanction for lying about her colleagues.

Posted by: hamletta on March 30, 2010 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hi, When Bachmann's buddies began hurling bigoted slurs at her Democratic colleagues, there were plenty of witnesses, many of them journalists who reported on them. "No witness saw it"? That' s backwards.
iedge

Posted by: smithmaria61 on March 31, 2010 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Typical of this idiot! I'm wondering if the people of her district have had enough of being a laughing stock due to this moron's idiocy? Hey folks it's that time..time to turn her out and elect someone with brains and integrity. You do remember what those are right?

Posted by: rebar on March 31, 2010 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

"I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything." -- Bart Simpson

Underachievers say the darnedest things.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 31, 2010 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares what Michelle Bachmann says? She's one of the most disgustingly stupid people within the Beltway. Her and Sally Kern are probably two of the dumbest people to win seats. Their districts should be utterly embarrassed.

And for her to question John Lewis...she doesn't even deserve to follow ten steps behind him and call him "sir" if he asks her a question. She's an awful person, an awful and stupid person.

So let her yammer away. She only comes off more ridiculous every time. The only people that could actually be swayed by her are the bobbleheads that believe in this embarrassing tea bag idiocy. No one else cares nor listens to her. We should stop giving her press. It is why she says things like this. Some people are more enamored with seeing their name in print than doing anything good.

Posted by: Bart on March 31, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Karl Bremer a/k/a Karl, stcroix, still riding a dead mule and too dumb to know the difference.

Posted by: Jimmy on July 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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