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Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2011

WHY DEMOCRATS ARE THE ONLY ONES HAPPY ABOUT BACHMANN'S RESPONSE.... It quickly became apparent that something was amiss. When CNN, for reasons that don't make sense, began airing Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) response to the State of the Union, it appeared that she was speaking to someone, but it wasn't viewers.

As it turns out, there were two cameras in the room with her. Bachmann looked directly into the Tea Party Express camera, so the national television audience saw her from the wrong angle.

While that was distracting, it was the least of Bachmann's problems -- the right-wing Minnesotan clearly isn't well.

Insisting that she was not upstaging the official GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) offered a combative and highly misleading speech of her own following the president's address. In her "Tea Party Response," Bachmann repeated a litany of false right-wing talking points about everything from the Recovery Act and job losses to the debt and "16,500 IRS agents."

Watching the nearly seven minutes of blistering stupidity, it was hard to avoid the fact that Bachmann has created some bizarro world for herself, detached from the reality the rest of us live in.

But here's the funny part: substantively, Bachmann's nonsense was roughly identical to the foolishness repeated by Paul Ryan in the official Republican SOTU response. Note Media Matters' fact-check of Ryan's speech and then check Media Matters' fact-check of Bachmann's speech. The similarities are striking -- with a few exceptions, they had the exact same message.

The importance of this is that Republicans seemed more than a little annoyed yesterday that Bachmann was muddling their message and making the GOP look bad with her wild-eyed craziness. Their concerns are understandable, but they're missing the more important point: Paul and Bachmann struck different tones, but they were making the same argument, and both were equally ridiculous.

Steve Benen 10:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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"Ridiculous" from the point of view of Democrats, or when considering facts or history, perhaps.

But effective from a communications point of view nonetheless: consistent, aligned with tone and with prescriptions, and tuned to the target audience.

And without rebuttal, to the uninformed but unconvinced in the "middle," equally as plausible as what the president said.

Playing well with others is all well and good, and looking like you're trying to play well with others is good politics, but if your playmates are NOT interested in playing well with you, then at some point you've got to push back. Otherwise, the detached viewer sees it as "he said, she said," and you just keep losing ground.

Posted by: bleh on January 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, of course Ryan and Bachmann had the same message they are Libertarians and it was a Libertarian message. David Koch bought his way into the national dialogue with these people and we are seeing the Libertarian "message" replace the Republican "message." As some of you commenters mentioned last year, the purpose of the Tea Party was to launder the reputation of Movement Conservatives stained during the Bush years. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted by: Russell Aboard M/V Sunshine on January 26, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Michele Bachmann, giving her Teabaggers SFTO - State From the “O”nion - because that’s who it seems as if wrote her speech.
While I watched Obama and Ryan, I listened to her on the radio last night.
She sounded like a well meaning, enthusiastic, but not at all bright 7th grader whose turn it is to do an oral report, and wants to impress the handsome and conservative US History and Government teacher who she’s got a crush on, and has filled her notebook with hearts with his name and hers, instead of actually paying attention, and is up there with a few words written on both hands and her jeans, hoping, like, that he, like, smiles at her at the end, because, like, he’s sooooooo dreamy when he smiles, gives her an “A+++++,” and will sweep her off her feet, and, like, talk about waiting to have sex until they’re married, like, because he respects her and the promise she’s made to her Dad, like who’s now no longer the love of her life because, like, he is… Sigh…
Here comes her grade:
“What, a ‘D!’ I thought you LIKED me? I hate you! I hate you!! I HATE YOU!!!”

Michele Bachmann: our ‘go-to’gal coming off the bench for when it’s fourth down and goal at the 1 yard line, time’s running out, and the regular’s haven’t given the kind of crazy that gets your team that touchdown.
What a dope, what a maroon.

And when I looked at the video this morning, I wondered, who taught her to use eye make-up?
A raccoon?
She looked like a nut.
Well, at least this time the camera didn't lie...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Russell has pretty much nailed the phenomenon of the Randian capture of the GOP. Obviously, this didn't just happen. Indeed, part of what enabled this what the shotgun marriage of social conservatives and libertarians in the GOP. Both factions are belief-based even if they believe different things. What libertarians gave the GOP was the possibility of replacing reality-based humdrum with fiery certitude. And with social conservatives already living there, the move to a more ethereal plane of existence was inevitable. Now, pretty much the entire right lives untethered to empirical reality, honesty, or any kind of arguments based on logic. The church itself is raucous and nearly insane but the pews are full.

Posted by: walt on January 26, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Under the title "Bachmann's Stunt" the traditionally conservative Deseret News in Salt Lake City had this to say about Michelle's performance last night.

“But instead of Ryan's well-tuned match to Obama's tone, Bachmann was combative, accusatory and, on issues like corporate tax and regulatory reform, seemingly oblivious to specific proposals made by the president just minutes earlier...
“The tea party's strong signal last night that it is not yet willing to coordinate its efforts with its host Republican Party might help quench the strong ideological thirst of its motivated but small base...
“But flaunting this ideologically-nuanced division within the Republican ranks — especially against the backdrop of the most public display of a newly pragmatic, quietly confident and rhetorically gifted Obama — seems a strategic blunder. Successful long-term solutions to the huge fiscal challenges facing our nation will require disciplined and responsible party governance on both sides of the aisle. Bachmann's stunt did not help the cause of the loyal opposition.”

I'm thinking (hoping) that the Tea Party, and especially it's whacky leader, are losing their steam.

Posted by: Vandal on January 26, 2011 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "... Bachmann has created some bizarro world for herself, detached from the reality the rest of us live in."

The pathetic Bachmann hasn't "created" anything. She's just another bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge reading from a script.

The bizarro world of the Ditto-Head Tea Party cult-for-hire is the creation of a generation-long campaign of corporate-funded, Madison Avenue-scripted, focus-group-tested, talk-radio-programmed pseudo-ideological propaganda.

Bachmann is just one of the current tools of that campaign.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 26, 2011 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

What's more, not even the entire Tea-Potty was happy with her, even before she opened her pouty mouth. You don't speak for me, madam :)
http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/25/bachmann-speech-criticized/

Posted by: exlibra on January 26, 2011 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

David Koch bought his way into the national dialogue with these people [...] -- Russell Aboard M/V Sunshine, @10:32

You mean the erst-while Teabaggers have now become Kochsuckers? (not my own idea; though wish it were)

Posted by: exlibra on January 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

She's just another bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge reading from a script.

You know, if that IS the case, why wouldn't they get someone who could do the job better? They seem to be capable of doing a much better job when selling commercial products on television. Bachmann's definitely created a "bizarro world," and yours doesn't seem much less bizarre.

Posted by: chi res on January 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

One of these days, some smart scribe or blogger will write a piece that John Boehner does not have control of his caucus. He will be compared to New and Tom Delay but he should really be compared to Tip O’Neill, who is the last Speaker to have the President and Senate from the other party.

The comparisons will not be nice for poor John.

Note: Tom “the Hammer” Delay was never Speaker but he ran the show.

Posted by: BigRed on January 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Niether of the three speeches touched on rivising the gun-munitions laws, which has been very much needed for a long time. The guns-munitions industry the their front organization the NRA, control much of what the lawmakers work on and for. So as their profits grow the more they can swell the coffers of friendly politicans. The current gun laws put only the most unsavory elements in a win-win position. Who is going to stand up and prevent the 2nd admendment solution form being a reality?

Posted by: Ted76 on January 26, 2011 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag, you are SMOKIN', on fire hot in your commentary lately. Bravo!

Posted by: MsJoanne on January 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

MsJoanne,
Thank you so much. :-)
I try.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Secular animist: reading from a script

Speaking of which, your readership might increase and your message be stronger if you varied yours once in a blue moon.

Posted by: The original Frank on January 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

@The original Frank: Speaking of which, your readership might increase and your message be stronger if you varied yours once in a blue moon.

Somebody twisting your arm to read this site, Frank?

Posted by: a different phil on January 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I enjoy reading this site and I even agree with a a lot of Secular Animist's comments.

But you have to admit that a lot of her responses, including the one above, are almost Pavlovian in their predictable appearance and consistent content.

Posted by: tanstaafl on January 26, 2011 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

But you have to admit that a lot of her responses, including the one above, are almost Pavlovian in their predictable appearance and consistent content.

Woof! And drool!

Posted by: The original Frank on January 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

She rose to a position of national importance for one reason: she made an ass of herself on Hardball. I'm still mystified why making a fool of yourself in a brief appearance on a cable news show should put a person on the fast track to national prominence. She's a clown, plain and simple. She's a side show attraction. It's a sad state of affairs when our politics and news media has become so saturated with a Real Housewives of Wherever mentality that a baffoon like Bachmann becomes a major figure in our national discourse.

Posted by: SaintZak on January 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Blistering stupiidity - Man I like that phrase- covers the MO of the Teabaggers perfectly

Posted by: John R on January 26, 2011 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Chris Matthews on Hardball last night was incredulous about the speech. She ignored the entire question of slavery, declaring that our "founding fathers" worked to rid the country of slavery, and ignored the Civil War, and the reason why the Republican party was founded. I agree with Matthews that she is incredibly uninformed and a liability to whatever group she pretends to represent.

Posted by: Gracious on January 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sen Mike Enzi told the same "16,000 new IRS agents" lie on the floor of the Senate while I was sitting in the gallery on Sept 14. These people (the Rs) are shameless. (Would have loved to have yelled out "you lie" but I didn't want to be kicked out.)

Posted by: Hannah on January 26, 2011 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Another lie: Bachmann's claim that we have "the world's best healthcare." Every time someone says this (Boehner says it repeatedly too), I want to ask them "By what metric?" There's no study I know of that backs up their claim, and most studies have us way down among our peer group. Most of our peer countries get just as good if not better outcomes than we do, and they cover everyone. The one category in which we are unquestionably #1 is cost.

This is why it's so hard to have a discussion with people like Bachmann. If they're not going to admit that our health care system is tremendously flawed, then it's impossible to have a conversation on what needs to be fixed because in their view it doesn't need to be fixed (or only needs tinkering with through tort reform). I don't know whether their refusal to recognize basic facts is a result of posturing or true belief, but either way it's destructive to constructive ideas.

Posted by: dsimon on January 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Looking like the Crazy Aunt who has escaped from the attic, Bachman didn't dissapoint. Quite a performance. She is incredibly uninformed but utterly caught up in her own reality. If only the climatic moment would have arrived when the Mother ship actually beamed her back up. I would have paid to see that.

Posted by: sparrow on January 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann's focus on the non-CNN camera actually served a great purpose: I felt like I was watching a news report ABOUT Michelle Bachmann giving a speech, not just watching Michelle Bachmann giving a speech. It was like a live look-in at the local asylum. That, or an episode of a fictional television show, with an actress playing a character totally off her rocker giving a delusional speech to her facile cult of followers. I wonder if that effect was felt by people not already predisposed to view her as dangerously insane.

Posted by: MCA on January 26, 2011 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Her Cosmopolitan in the 60's hair, children's "play grown-up" make-up job, Dracula's Bride-style eye shadow....impossibly amateur stage presence. I actually had given the thought that she might somehow be a bit professional at least....but no.

Staring off into space (from the televised audience's perspective) made me realize that staring into space is where she basically spends her life. Once I got that.....the Bachmann Story makes perfect sense.

Posted by: T2 on January 26, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

When CNN, for reasons that don't make sense, began airing Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) response to the State of the Union, it appeared that she was speaking to someone, but it wasn't viewers.

As it turns out, there were two cameras in the room with her. Bachmann looked directly into the Tea Party Express camera, so the national television audience saw her from the wrong angle. -- Steve Benen

And, just like that, the whole dastardly "gotcha!" plot is revealed! CNN's reasons were not inexplicable at all; they were evil. That stinking outpost of librul media set her up to look like she had a wrong angle on everything.

Posted by: exlibra on January 26, 2011 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

OK. So the messages from Cantor and Bachmann are essentially identical in substance and differ only in tone. The obvious conclusion from this is that they come from the same central source but are aimed at different audiences.

We can tell who the audiences are, but it is not so clear who the central message controller is. Still, I have little doubt the the Koch brothers are pumping the Bachman - teabagger message, while the more discredited (as Bush-era movement conservatives) money men behind movement conservatives are handing the talking points to Cantor.

One other thought, though. Citizen's United will make it much more difficult to recognize who is pushing these idiotic messages out to people like Cantor and idiots like Bachmann.

Posted by: Rick B on January 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

I missed Russel's comment above. He's got it dead on.

Posted by: Rick B on January 26, 2011 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

She looks like she studied public speaking with Biz-Markie and Flavor-Flav. Make up by Lady Gaga

Posted by: Winkandanod on January 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

SaintZak

Bachmann rose to public notice for exactly the same reason that Florida's Katherine Harris and Alaska's Sarah Palin did. They are all representatives of the R. J. Rushdoony inspired Christian Reconstructionism movement. I suspect that is also true for Texas' Louie Gohmert. It is this same movement (One central funder is A. H. Ahmanson, Jr.) that operates the Discovery Institute and is pushing creationism. They operate with other evangelical Christians and send groups to vote for their own "Christian" candidates. (I'd be interested to know how closely attached to this group the new - "Not our brother" - governor of Alabama is.)

Give a politician a gerrymandered district and a locked-in group of voters like the Christian Reconstructionists and that politician has a real edge in the election. It doesn't hurt that it is against the media rules to even mention the candidate's religion. So this is a stealth process.

Posted by: Rick B on January 26, 2011 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Can't we all just take a moment and re-register to vote as a REPUBLICAN and help get the Tea Party candidate du jour, be it Palin or Bachmann or some other loon, the presidential nomination in 2012?

Posted by: CoffeePartier on January 26, 2011 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann looked Presidential last night if you're talking about the harlot crowd here in America.

Heavy blue eyeshadow, and a plastered on base coat made the lovely Michelle look a bit overbearing. That, combined with the stupid alluded to by Mr. Benen, made the night for my friends and me; as our effort to get drunk accelerated when we took a shot for everything stupid utterance coming from her mouth.

We were smashed 2 minutes into her response! Man I have a headache this morning, but it was worth it, as I think I would have ended up in the hospital had I heard her response sober! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 26, 2011 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Might as well stick this about Bachmann's wacky wild eyes, which look like those of schizophrenics (as I've read and seen pics):
http://www.featherly.com/?p=1620

Posted by: ℏ on January 26, 2011 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the Republicans were upset with Bachmann! She's showing the entire nation the true face of the Republican "base"; uninformed and unintelligible.
That's no way to win elections!

Posted by: Doug on January 26, 2011 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this right - the Tea Party are at pains to point out that they are not seperate from the Republicans and that they are not a party in their own right? So...why did they put out a response to the SOTU address in addition to the official Republican response?

Posted by: Atlanta Roofing on January 27, 2011 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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