Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2011

BACHMANN DRAWS HOLOCAUST-DEBT PARALLEL.... In general, the rhetoric from prospective Republican presidential candidates starts off as mildly offensive, and grows increasingly ridiculous as the process unfolds.

If this is what we're hearing from Michele Bachmann in April, I can only imagine what we'll hear in December.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Saturday described the loss of "economic liberty" that young Americans face today as a "flash point of history" in which the younger generation will ask what their elders did to stop it.

In a speech to New Hampshire Republicans, Bachmann recounted learning about a horrific time in history as a child -- the Holocaust -- and wondering if her mother did anything to stop it. She said she was shocked to hear that many Americans weren't aware that millions of Jews had died until after World War II ended.

Bachmann said the next generation will ask similar questions about what their elders did to prevent them from facing a huge tax burden.

"I tell you this story because I think in our day and time, there is no analogy to that horrific action," she said, referring to the Holocaust. "But only to say, we are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to."

I don't imagine the right-wing Minnesotan will understand this, but when one says "there is no analogy," and then makes the analogy anyway, the first half doesn't automatically negate the second half.

I'm tempted to respond to the comments with some kind of substantive analysis, but honestly, I'm not even sure what she was trying to say. Bachmann thinks, at some point, taxes will go up to pay for the debt her own party was largely responsible for, and that this future tax burden will be "a similar death" to the Nazi Holocaust?

Bachmann's ideas are frequently hopelessly insane, but these are the kind of remarks that make me wonder if she's some sort of performance artist, and the rest of us just aren't in on the joke.

If the congressman was sincere, and her comments yesterday weren't intended as a plot to make conservatives look ridiculous, Bachmann's presence as an elected lawmaker in the United States Congress is a national embarrassment.

Postscript: There was a related piece on this on Politico, which ran this headline: "Bachmann compares debt crisis to Holocaust." For the record, there is no debt crisis, and when the media pretends there is, it only contributes to national confusion and a counter-productive debate.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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What can you expect? I hear she was born in Canada, you know.

Posted by: DK on May 1, 2011 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann was groupy eyed hsnging on to Bush as the GOP majority congress helped create 3 trillion in debt in six years.

She is the very elder she now castigates.

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 1, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

The only Holocaust I'm aware of is the ten million First Americans put to the sword in the name of the jew dog. On Turtle Island (North "America") alone. Some twenty-five million across the "Western Hemisphere". Deny that.

Posted by: Ten Bears on May 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

In order to be a elected as dogcatcher, you have to at least be a little bit smarter than the dogs.

Unfortunately, there's no such requirement to be a US Congressperson.


Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 1, 2011 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ten Bears, this pagan finds the term "jew dog" unnecessarily offensive which takes away from your point. Unfortunately, throughout history there have been many genocides. Wonder how many there were that we don't know about because there's no one left to tell the tale? I have a problem with some people thinking they own not only the word "Holocaust" but also "holocaust." Big H was huge and organized (and included groups other than Jews), but people have been killed just as dead in little h's.

BTW, this taxation=Holocaust was pioneered by Grover Norquist on Fresh Air with Terry Gross a few years ago.

Posted by: greennotGreen on May 1, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann recounted learning about a horrific time in history as a child -- the Holocaust -- and wondering if her mother did anything to stop it.

My mother was 11.
She didn't do a whole helluva lot.

When America lost its mind and endorsed torture, illegal searches and seizures, wiretapping without a warrant, and dismissed habeus corpus what will Bachmann tell her kids she did to stop the Patriot Act?

"Di you know it was happening, Mom?"

The analogy is still inadequate, but a damn sight better than hers.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 1, 2011 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Let's not get too 'deconstructive' on Bachmann. She was merely expanding upon something she heard as child, at the dinner table, when Daddy said, "The only thing sure in life is Death and Taxes."

She didn't understand it then, and doesn't now.

Posted by: DAY on May 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Like anything else emotional content is a necessary component in an honest reflection of beliefs . Anger is also useful , and necessary , in a healthy balance just like smoke is a part fire . When one of the tools used in pouring out your heartfelt motivations is also making you blind , shame on you .
toowearyforoutrage I was enjoying the thought of the lil' ole' Lady from Fargone Minnesota responding with as much kindness and sympathy as she dotes upon her courageous stream of "conscience" kindness and sympathy for slime slandering anything allied to Christ's clearly formulated sympathy and kindness towards the poor .

Posted by: FRP on May 1, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there's a neat formula that would reveal the truth (T) by turning every statement (S) any given zany Republican uttered (Z) on its head.

Posted by: Goldilocks on May 1, 2011 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, if anyone, (anyone including those among us who would be in the canyons of their minds, our holy president), expresses such dissonance in uttered language between terror-history and today's circumstances, well that person needs to be intellectually examined for mental deficiencies! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 1, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Is this woman still receiving massive farm subsidies?

Posted by: j on May 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Today -- May 1 -- is Holocaust Memorial Day.

Interesting timing. Probably unintentional.

Rep. Bachmann isn't sensitive enough to know today is Holocaust Memorial Day.

Find an event in your community and attend, or just observe a moment of silence sometime today.

Posted by: jpeckjr on May 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

And why wouldn't the Republican disinformation project, "The Politico," take up Republican talking points?

Posted by: TCinLA on May 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

And if any Democrat responds to the 'crazy' they will have hurt their feelings...the GOP of today is truly despicable.

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't underestimate performance art as a "joke." Philanthropists throw millions of dollars at it every year. And lots of people are throwing lots of money at Bachmann's schtick as well.

Posted by: chi res on May 1, 2011 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann's right about one thing. Her children and grandchildren will ask what did she did, but the question will be what did she do to reduce the effects of climate change.

Posted by: CDW on May 1, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So... I'm having trouble working out the analogy. Since Republican policies caused the massive deficits, are the Republicans the Weimar Republic? Or perhaps the Treaty of Versailles?


Posted by: Redshift on May 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"For the record, there is no debt crisis..."

There is potential crisis brewing, just not in the manner in which Republicans are claiming.

The crisis is that we have a major political party which is determined to continue to cut taxes for the ultra-wealthy and which refuses to consider even modest tax increases. Add to that the increased spending (often off the books) which the same party supported out of office, and the high probability that they will continue to spend on credit if back in power.

Posted by: Ron Chusid on May 1, 2011 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachman is actually an unused canister of zyklon b.

Posted by: Trollop on May 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann's mother was born in 1932. I can't imagine why she would not have been able to prevent the Holocaust.

Posted by: tamiasmin on May 1, 2011 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The question for Bachmann should be, if you are worried about the size of the tax bill that your children will have to pay, don't you think that you ought to raise taxes now and pay them yourself? After all, you're the one who voted to put the expenditures on the credit card.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on May 2, 2011 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK
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