Political Animal


June 18, 2011 8:50 AM Bachmann’s latest conspiracy theory is a doozy

By Steve Benen

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) creativity is unrivaled in contemporary politics. Consider her remarks yesterday to a gathering of the Republican Leadership Conference.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the latest candidate to join the Republican presidential campaign, suggested Friday that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in the new national health care law.

“This hasn’t been talked about very much — the president’s plan for senior citizens is Obamacare,” Ms. Bachmann told party activists here. She added, “I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens.”

Bachmann’s principal problem is that she combines the worst of two important traits: she’s strikingly ignorant about public policy and she’s paranoid to the point of delusion.

It’s these qualities that lead Bachmann to come up with such odd theories. In this case, the unhinged Minnesotan believes President Obama is secretly trying to eliminate Medicare, forcing seniors into the Affordable Care Act. Is there any evidence at all to support this? Of course not, but that’s not important right now.

In practical terms, Bachmann apparently thinks the president is secretly right-wing — she believes Obama wants to end the existing system of socialized medicine for seniors, and force these millions of seniors into the private insurance market.

Of course, there is a group of people who actually support such an approach. They’re called “House Republicans.” Indeed, the House GOP budget plan — written by Paul Ryan and endorsed by none other than Michele Bachmann — seeks to end Medicare and convert the program into an ACA-style system. Bachmann’s conspiracy theory is that Obama secretly agrees with her far-right colleagues.

This isn’t just wrong; it’s mad-as-a-hatter crazy.

Bachmann’s ability to come up with remarkable conspiracy theories has always impressed me. Remember the time the right-wing presidential candidate argued that the U.S. Census may lead to “internment camps”? How about when she warned of a “one-world currency” because she got confused about what a global reserve currency is? Or maybe the time she thought the “Lion King” was secretly gay propaganda? How about the time she said a bipartisan national service bill could lead to “re-education camps”?

This new one, though, is probably my favorite to date. Anytime a right-wing lawmaker talks to a right-wing audience and thinks it’s wise to attack President Obama as secretly on their side, it deserves some kind of award.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • c u n d gulag on June 18, 2011 9:00 AM:


    That dementia would be considered by Conservatives to be a positive attribute when running for President?

    And Bachmann's NOT a one-hit-wonder, either.

    If insanity were music, she'd be The Beatles.

  • jon on June 18, 2011 9:28 AM:

    I'm thinking more Hall and Oates, myself.

    This is a fine line the Republicans are running on: Medicare is going to bankrupt the county, but it must be preserved for the current old people and the young people still have to support it but not get anything out of the system and have to be shamed into expecting nothing from this thing they've been paying for as long as they've worked. That their plans don't actually help the current old people stay on Medicare should be ignored, but the shame thing seems popular with a large subset of younger people of limited cognitive means.

  • berttheclock on June 18, 2011 9:28 AM:

    "Beatles"? More akin to Anita Bryant singing her way around Florida orange groves.

    Funny thing seeing Mike Huckabee trying to convince oldster military types in his plea for "Repeal the ACA" ads running on "The Military Channel". Most veterans enjoy the benefits of either Tri-Care or the VA system. But, Mike wants their help in convincing "four more Senators" to repeal the ACA.

  • stormskies on June 18, 2011 9:36 AM:

    If she keeps going like this she will win the Repiglican nomination hands down. They all live in a world of utter delusion yet for them those delusions are in fact 'reality'. And they need those delusions reinforced now only by Fox propaganda, but of course by those that they elect who reinforce their delusions.

    They are bat shit crazy and want to stay that way. That's fine except they also want to make their world of crazy the reality for the entire country. And they have many, many enablers in the form of the Corporate Media who serve as megaphones for their delusions. They allow all their lies and deceptions to stand unchallenged. And they allow these lies and deceptions to be repeated over and over and over in the intent to make those lies and deceptions reality for everyone because of the repetition.

    Like the former communications director for President Bush said: "Reality is what we say it is". This is of course why corporate cum sluts like Brian Williams, et-al, are paid 15 million a year. This corporate cum slut gets driven to work in limousines wearing million dollar suites and ties. He has he doors opened for him, and he gets to live in a gated community that has it's own shopping centers, clubs, and a security force. He gets his corporate asshole wiped by servants. Whose interests do you think he reflects ? Delusional buffoons like Bachmann's = the corporations or the common good ?

    And then we wonder why our country has become sadly what it has become.

  • Texas Aggie on June 18, 2011 9:45 AM:

    So somehow bring it to the attention of the world that Bachmann believes that Obama is a republican. She'll get no argument from me. It's just a matter of degree of how republican we believe he is. She thinks he's practically a Bircher. I think he's more George H W Bush.

  • MattF on June 18, 2011 9:51 AM:

    Bachmann is aiming to be the winger candidate, and she may succeed-- Palin is fading, Newt is imploding, and Cain is, y'know, blackety-black.

  • FRP on June 18, 2011 9:56 AM:

    The gifts of the Minnesotan representative are so expansive that in a perfect world they would prove , no doubt , to be a spare poetry . This lingering image of gaunt reason fashioned after El Greco's stretched imaginings , contesting the legitimacy of such radical beliefs that , if it can be believed , gaining value for two as being one , and one again , fashioned after Miguel de Cervantes florid imaginings .
    The combatants with only honor and virtue on , would after the fashion of Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech , Marquis de Púbol , or plain old Salvador Dali , be engaged in a sudden death contest of which no issue could follow beholden to the previous established issue . Thus queens pawn to queens pawn four would create an opening for concise hot air kayaking , or bowling performed by the migration of Canadian geese by costumed penguins rebelling against a southern pattern . Of course this will be understood as a statement condemning the abuse individuals selected not for their immigration , but for their citizenship . Targeted for the unholy pooling of poor money with rich money these savage institutions undermine the market by placing gloves on the invisible hands which once seen spoil the once sacred view from Cape Cod Wind farms , into a pro union hoi polloi improvisational street theater also .

  • berttheclock on June 18, 2011 9:58 AM:

    Hmmm? Illinois-Republican connection.

    Abe Lincoln for starters - St Ronny was born in Illinois - The late great Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen - Barack Obama

    I must remember to shop at Walgreen's today, as well. St Ronny was ever so thrilled to be invited to anything at the Walgreen mansion, when, he was a mere lad.

  • Mr Serf Man on June 18, 2011 9:58 AM:

    but..but...she's a serious candidate doncha know ...at least this is what my teevee tells me.
    The discussion last night on Bill Maher said that they could see her winning the nomination.
    She could as long as she sticks to Faux Nooze for all interviews.

  • Gandalf on June 18, 2011 10:18 AM:

    Oh you also missed the part in the same meeting where she said that intelligent design dhould be taught at schools because all sides of a scientific controversy should be presented so the students can decide for themselves whats true and whats not. There's so much wrong with that on all levels that I really don't know where to begin to tear it down.Tide comes in,tide goes out. Pray for rain. God hates trailer parks.And so on and so on and so on.

    Captcha says Reforming otheterr

  • c u n d gulag on June 18, 2011 10:41 AM:

    There is no such thing as Intelligent Design!

    I offer as proof Michele Bachmann.

    Would a wise and loving God design such a stupid creature?

    She may prove, however, that Darwin might have missed out on one thing devolution (reverse evolution).

    I offer, again, as proof Michele Bachmann, and other Conservatives.
    The Devolution of the Species.
    The Reagan Devolution.

    I rest my case.

  • stevio on June 18, 2011 10:44 AM:

    I see her "music" more like "Dire Straights" , in literal interpretation.

    Nauseating on numerous levels...

  • Gandalf on June 18, 2011 10:49 AM:

    Please see the movie Idiocracy. The closeness of whats going on today is startling.

  • CDW on June 18, 2011 10:57 AM:

    I think Bachmann, Palin, and the rest of the radical right dingbats are being fed their lines from luntz and/or rove, maybe not word for word, but to the point of "this is how we're going to bend the curve of reality". luntz uses Orwellian newspeak and rove creates his own reality that furthers the cons' political empowerment.

  • Kathryn on June 18, 2011 10:57 AM:

    Chis Matthews who has highlighted her insane pronouncements in the past (media should investigate which congresspeople are loyal to America and which are not) is now saying (on Bill Maher and his own show) that she's the candidate to watch, could win it all). He and others have given zero attention and no commentary on her insane comments at the "debate". Question, what the heck in wrong with him (and others)? Is he so in love with the game that content doesn't matter? When did it become acceptable, the norm really, to ignore content totally and go 100% on image, style, whatever you want to call it?

    I saw a report that her upside down worldview was formed by Francis Shaefer who I believe is the father of the far right wing religious, political positions, heavy on historical revisionism and lots of other crazy positions (virulently anti gay, for instance). His son is Frank Shaefer who has completely rejected this world after been deeply enmeshed for years. He is an author who wrote a book on the subject(title?) and many opeds exposing the tactics and Dad's group. He use to write for The Huffington Post. Where is he now and will he expose her, don't know? I haven't seen anything about him for months. He once made occasional appearances on MSNBC. Keep your eyes open for him.

    Back to Matthews, he was 100% convinced Guiliani would win in 08. Seriously, what is wrong with him?

  • Kathryn on June 18, 2011 11:29 AM:

    Okay googled Frank Schaeffer, he is author of Crazy for God, Patience With God, Keeping Faith, Faith of Our Son and most recently Sex, Mom and God. Be interested in seeing if he comments on Bachmann as time goes on. To my knowledge, while still religious, he has rejected and exposed the lies/tricks of his Dad's organization, very intense and direct guy.

  • berttheclock on June 18, 2011 11:42 AM:

    @Kathryn, but, was not his son the one who pushed him into using politics to stop abortion? His views on political action against abortion has been touted by Terry Randall of Operation Rescue and Tim LaHaye. One of Bachmann's main themes is stopping abortion.

    Not surprised to read that Schaeffer was a disciple of Rev. Carl McIntyre out of Collingwood, NJ. Rev Carl screamed for years on radio that the Pope was evil, that the Fairness Doctrine must be stopped and, he was a heavy supporter of Ian Paisley. Both McIntyre and Schaeffer were part of the break away movements in the Presbyterian Church.

  • CK MacLeod on June 18, 2011 12:12 PM:

    I think maybe that Mr Benen and most commenters here are burdened by too much understanding of what ACA, the legislation, concretely is and isn't. Bachmann and her audience have already concluded for themselves that "Obamacare" will lead inevitably to the ULTIMATE HORROR OF SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. So, in a way, she and her followers agree with every progressive who envisions a day that ACA eventually gives way to a rationalized, comprehensive system. The main differences are that righties believe that that's always been the plan, that it's well under way, and that it would be the end of America and all that's holy (pretty much the same thing).

  • thebewilderness on June 18, 2011 1:27 PM:

    I think Republicans have won enough elections by claiming their opponent wants to do what they themselves intend to do that it is past time to take the tactic seriously.

  • FRP on June 18, 2011 1:38 PM:

    The comment thebewilderness made at 1:27 sums up the chilly perception that every thing is rosy in the Soviet style right wing group thunk .

  • Kathryn on June 18, 2011 8:56 PM:

    @berttheclock, just finished reading Frank Schaeffer's blog which links to Daily Beast article by Michele Goldberg about Michele Bachmann. Don't know if Frank Schaeffer convinced his father to use politics to stop abortion, imagine that is possible. He was in the thick of it for years. Now he seems intent on explaining the "Reconstructionist" movement of his father and somebody Rushdooney as a dangerous extremist right wing religious movement akin to extreme Islam and Sharia Law, Christian version. He is no longer part of that group. You can find this info by googling Frank Schaeffer blog. If I am understanding him correctly, he is warning the rest of us of the dangers of this group which counts Michelle Bachmann and Ralph Reed as members and active propagandists of this movement.

    Chris Matthews had Daily Beast writer on (Michele Goldberg) the other night. A closer look a this group is called for. Bachmann is, as we know, bat shit crazy, but she's not alone and they're organized. The whole group is bat shit crazy and they have some power behind them.

  • labman57 on June 19, 2011 12:59 PM:

    And how does she know this to be true?

    a) the voices in her head told her so

    b) she read it in a thread posted on a right wing blog

    c) God told her so ... nope, same as option "a'"

    The more Michele talks, the easier it becomes to convince the vast majority of the voting populace that she has no business making or influencing national policy decisions.