Political Animal


June 28, 2011 8:40 AM Bachmann’s unique understanding of history

By Steve Benen

As Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann takes on a higher profile role, I suppose it’s only natural that the media would take a closer look at the frequency with which she says ridiculous things. Take her appearance today on “Good Morning America,” for example.

Host George Stephanopoulos began by noting, “In your announcement you said ‘my voice is part of a movement to take back our country.’ From whom?” Bachmann replied, “Well, from the people all across the nation.”

Maybe she didn’t understand the question.

Stephanopoulos went on to note that Politifact has found that Bachmann has “the worst record of making false statements of any of the leading contenders,” and he wanted to give her a chance to “clear up” some of the misstatements. He mentioned, for example, the right-wing lawmaker’s claim that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly to end slavery.” Stephanopoulos explained, “That’s just not true.”

Bachmann: Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father’s secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery.

Stephanopoulos: He wasn’t one of the Founding Fathers - he was a president, he was a Secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you’re right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?

Bachmann: Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved.

I hate to be a stickler for reality, but when the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Quincy Adams was a nine-year-old boy. To say he was “actively involved” in the Revolutionary War era is awfully silly. To use the possible beliefs of a nine-year-old boy as evidence that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly to end slavery” is simply absurd on its face.

Wouldn’t Bachmann be better off simply acknowledging she misspoke?

Stephanopoulos went on to ask Bachmann to back up her claim that “taking away the minimum wage” could eliminate all unemployment. Bachmann couldn’t provide any evidence — she tried three times to dodge the question — but Bachmann did suggest she would consider eliminating the minimum wage if elected president.

The problem for the congresswoman is that this seems unlikely to go away. If Bachmann is going to be a top-tier candidate for president — yes, of the United States — and an arguable frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses, reporters are probably going to ask about some of her more colorful claims. She’ll struggle to explain them away, as she did this morning, because there are no credible explanations for madness.

Bachmann insists she’s a “serious person.” If that’s put to the test, even a little, the far-right Minnesotan should be prepared for quite a bit of embarrassment.

Bachmann’s fans probably won’t mind — they’re not exactly fact-oriented, and I assume they’ll be touching up John Quincy Adams’ Wikipedia page any minute now — but for the American mainstream, Bachmann’s destined for clown status.

* Updated: Some conservatives are trying to spin history to help Bachmann out on this. They really shouldn’t bother.

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.


Post a comment
  • JW on June 28, 2011 8:47 AM:

    "Bachmann’s fans probably won’t mind — they’re not exactly fact-oriented... but for the American mainstream, Bachmann’s destined for clown status".

    "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do".

    Need I say more?

  • Danp on June 28, 2011 8:48 AM:

    Is Michelle Bachmann a fuggalo?

  • martin on June 28, 2011 8:52 AM:

    I hate to be a stickler for reality, but when the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Quincy Adams was a nine-year-old boy.

    Having in the past been involved in debates with right-wing religious types who get their history from the David Barton's of the world, I can say pretty conclusively the Founding Fathers are everyone from Columbus to Lincoln who ever said or did (or allegedly said or did) anything that will support the rightwingers view of history.

  • slappy magoo on June 28, 2011 8:53 AM:

    Founding Fathers & slavery. Pollution. Minimum wage. Madrassas. Patriotic purity tests. Dozes of documented lies. None of it matters. Her statements don't have to be true, they just need to be MADE. Her base and the media will make it all true soon enough, and if they can't, they'll just accuse anyone who points it out of being shrill and unpatriotic.

  • PTate in MN on June 28, 2011 8:54 AM:

    Bachmann is deeply serious, you have to give her that. She's delusional--by which I mean she holds fixed ideas that have no basis in reality--but she is very serious. There is no contradiction between being serious and being delusional.

    But most Republicans seem to be serious and delusional right now; Bachmann differs only in degree, not kind. For me, the only question is whether or not the news media will finally start challenging Republicans on their false beliefs and claims.

  • edb on June 28, 2011 8:54 AM:

    I think Bachmann can be elected president. If the economy tanks, Obama is gone. If she's the nominee, she'll be the last one standing. As president she'd be GW Bush with half his IQ. Others would run the show - and that would work out just fine for them. This is why the Republican party is trying to destroy the recovery.

  • troglodyte on June 28, 2011 8:57 AM:

    To JW,

    Ronald Reagan's assertion was not entirely fantasy. Trees exude volatile organic compounds that are one component of everyday smog. The pollution associated with trees is mainly the part that is visible, not the corrosive oxides of nitrogen and ozone that come from auto exhaust. Reagan's assertion was a half truth. Bachman's assertion was a 0.0001% truth.

    It is troubling to have a prominent candidate for pres exhibiting the double-down habit with demonstrable falsehoods. With the base, assertion creates reality. Very dangerous.

  • c u n d gulag on June 28, 2011 8:57 AM:

    Right on!

    Also, too, from St. Ronnie - "Ketchup is a vegetable."

    And I would bet money on the fact that if there was a contest, that she actually knows history better than Little Boots Bush.
    Or, could at least come closer to reality...
    Nah, who am I kidding?
    They're both ignorant morons.

    She needs better handlers than Beavis and Butthead.
    Maybe get Bill and Ted after they come back from their excellent adventure.

    And I'd bet, if she really does become a serious candidate, which she very well might if you look at where the first primaries are, they'll call out the political propaganda firm of 'Rove and Luntz' to polish that MN turd.

    And, no matter what stupid things she says, they will only endear her to the base, who care only about anyone and anything that pisses off Democrats and Liberals.
    She could claim that all of the Founding Fathers were Republicans, and she would receive a rousing cheers from the idiot base.

  • Ron Byers on June 28, 2011 9:00 AM:

    The problem for Bachmann is video tape. Populist politicians have a long tradition of telling the rubes what they want to hear even if it isn't grounded in fact.

    Unlike Palin, she is very well educated. In addtion to being a lawyer she has a masters in Tax Law from a pretty good school. That she made it out of college as profoundly ignorate of history as she seems is unlikely. She has either dumbed down after school or she is putting on an act for the tea party crowd. If she is putting on an act, she will try to walk back some. If she has simply slipped a cog then there is no walking back. The problem is video tape. She is being killed by video tape of her past performances that were designed to endear her to the tea party crowd.

    I think Chris Matthews is wrong. I don't think she is a true believer. She is just another pandering Republican along the lines of Romney.

  • del on June 28, 2011 9:04 AM:

    Take back the country from all the people across the country? Did she really hear herself say that? So if you take the country back from everyone, who are you serving? That only leaves the corporations since it is not whom you are taking the country back from. This is how serious she is!!!

  • MikeBoyScout on June 28, 2011 9:04 AM:

    Our Founding Children?

  • DAY on June 28, 2011 9:05 AM:

    You missed the last part of the "interview":

    Bachmann: "George, you are attacking me. Why do you hate America?"

  • davidp on June 28, 2011 9:08 AM:

    "Take back the country from whom?" The fact that Bachmann fudged this question shows that it was a good one. Reporters need to keep asking it, both of Bachmann and others who use the same meme.

  • hell's littlest angel on June 28, 2011 9:10 AM:

    Republicans want to take their country back from the people. Sounds about right to me.

  • Josef K on June 28, 2011 9:15 AM:

    Jennifer Lawless has an op-ed this morning that suggests we should keep the 'glass ceiling' intact if it means letting a lunatic like Congresswoman Bachmann run for - and possibly win - the Presidency.


    There's an old addage: every country gets the leader it deserves. I'm not sure how we screwed up as a country so badly we deserve Bachmann, but it should be a wake-up call for those of us who believe in something better than the dross she spews.

  • TR on June 28, 2011 9:16 AM:

    I keep seeing her insist that she must be serious because she has a law degree.

    Which she got from O.W. Coburn School of Law, a part of Oral Roberts University, in 1986 -- five years after the ABA had revoked its accreditation temporarily and the same year that Coburn closed down and donated all of its library to Pat Robertson's equally qualified Regent University.

    She is a joke, but she's too stupid to know she's a joke.

  • KurtRex1453 on June 28, 2011 9:16 AM:

    you see Steve, when you believe that a "Great Fish" swallowed Jonah, the world was created in a week- 280 hours, the sun stopped in the sky, changing water into wine, raising the dead, etc etc etc... Believing that John Quincy Adams is a Founding Father is nor a far stretch.

    it is this unwillingness to separate fact and fiction by certain Republicans that will do in the country and the sooner the mass media calls them on it, showing them for liars they are, th e better off we will be.

    The fundamentalist Christians have been lieing about everything from Roman History, to Jews, to Hellenism from the first century BC. It is tiime to put a stop to their mass untruths.

  • Biffy on June 28, 2011 9:26 AM:

    Steve! You have to stop this!

    Ya see, I really want Bachmann to secure the GOP nomination. Of course she will probably shoot herself in the foot before it gets too far (not that she hasn't for those of us that pay attention), but Mittens scares me. I think his stupid game is enough to win over enough of the middle uniformed Obama haters to win.

    A Bachmann nomination would be unbelievably entertaining to watch.

  • Ron Byers on June 28, 2011 9:33 AM:


    Yep she was a member of the final law school class at the Coburn School of Law, but she earned her masters from a pretty good school. She is a classic example of the Christian fundamentalist politicians who has swept the old guard out of the GOP across the nation. They start at the bottom and work up. They are relentless. They are full of themselves and completely self assured. They are utterly unreflective and completely willing to destroy anybody who gets in their way. They are organized and hardworking. They just don't stop. They scare the hell out of me.

    They are not ignorant. They just pretend to be ignorant for the Rubes.

  • rchiovoloni on June 28, 2011 9:50 AM:

    This is just a minor observation, but doesn't it seem likely that if the week you officially announce you are running for President, you need to keep repeating that you are a "serious person", you are already pretty deep in the crap?

  • Shalimar on June 28, 2011 9:50 AM:

    Republicans want to take back the country from evil liberal big government types, who they see as a small minority imposing their tyranny on the masses. Give her time to think and she will come up with something similar to that.

  • blondie on June 28, 2011 9:53 AM:

    Josef K -

    You quoted the adage about a country getting the leader it deserves. I counter with "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

    We "deserve" Bachmann because we elected W, and a significant portion of the country is deluding itself into thinking those eight years never happened - everything is Obama's fault.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on June 28, 2011 9:53 AM:

    @ Ron Byers

    According to Daily KOS:

    Michele Bachmann's Campaign Biography page makes the claim:

    "After earning her law degree, she went on to the College of William and Mary to get an LLM in Tax Law"

    Um ... there are TWO huge problems with that lie.

    William and Mary does NOT now and never has offered an LL.M Degree in Tax Law.

    The ONLY LL.M Program that William and Mary offer is for "Foreign Students" ... Non U.S. Lawyers ... William & Mary's ONLY LL.M program is titled: "LL.M in American Law." not Tax Law.

    William & Mary only offers a FEW tax law classes and they do not offer a Degree in Tax Law.


  • navamske on June 28, 2011 9:53 AM:

    Host George Stephanopoulos began by noting, “In your announcement you said ‘my voice is part of a movement to take back our country.’ From whom?” Bachmann replied, “Well, from the people all across the nation.”

    When the Tea Party people say, "We want to take our country back," they mean back to about 1692.

  • jpeckjr on June 28, 2011 9:54 AM:

    @Ron Byers: The "pretty good school" you mention is the College of William and Mary.

    I could be wrong about this, but wasn't it founded by John Quincy Adams before he was born?

  • berttheclock on June 28, 2011 9:56 AM:

    However, to her credit, she does keep up with her roots in Iowa. Why, she praised that fine man who was "born" in Waterloo, as she was. Splendid man and a great patriot, she said. Had the "American Spirit". Wee bit of a problem, though. Marion Morrison was born, not in Waterloo, but, a few counties to the south west. Yes, he did become John Wayne, not to be confused with John Wayne Gacy, who was born in Waterloo.

    Just another "Oops" moment for Michelle. But, do tell us more about the great history of Waterloo.

  • berttheclock on June 28, 2011 9:59 AM:

    William and Mary Law School

    Ah, Michelle Bachmann and Eric Cantor - Perhaps W&M should stick to football.

  • dSmith on June 28, 2011 9:59 AM:

    John Quincy Adams was a founding son.

  • T2 on June 28, 2011 9:59 AM:

    "Wouldn�t Bachmann be better off simply acknowledging she misspoke?"

    Firstly, "misspoke" is not what she did...misspeaking is saying John Quincy Adams when you meant to say John Abner Adams. What Bachmann did was make up some totally baseless crap on the spot and try to feed it to the American viewing public. She does that a lot. It's not misspeaking, it's simply mindless babbling. Sarah Palin does this too, but much less convincingly....So does Cantor, Boner, McConnell and a host of GOPers. Kudos to Stephanopolos for finally pointing it out. Wallace at FOX started it and now she's fair game.....of course it won't take long until she starts lashing out at the "Lamestream" Media for actually holding her accountable. The Fun will really start when Rick Perry gets in.

    And when she says "take back the country" she means take it back from the black guy who is president.

  • RobSoLF on June 28, 2011 10:01 AM:

    She wouldn't be better off. If you think she would, you don't understand her base. For them, it's better to be wrong even 100% of the time than to admit being wrong even once.

  • Steve M. on June 28, 2011 10:09 AM:

    Wouldn’t Bachmann be better off simply acknowledging she misspoke?

    If you admit error -- on anything, ever -- don't you have to give up your membership in the Republican Party?

    (I think an exception is made for admitting that you weren't right-wing enough on some issue in the past. But that's the only exception.

  • Shadow on June 28, 2011 10:09 AM:

    Host George Stephanopoulos began by noting, �In your announcement you said �my voice is part of a movement to take back our country.� From whom?� Bachmann replied, �Well, from the people all across the nation.�

    Maybe she didn�t understand the question.

    On the contrary. This is a rare moment of candor. She wants to reclaim the country; for the economically privileged and morally elite; from the heathen hordes and unwashed masses.

    Bachmann insists she�s a �serious person.�

    Seriously deranged, perhaps.

  • boatboy_srq on June 28, 2011 10:09 AM:

    It pays to remember that people like Bachmann have their "history" filtered through their church, and that as a result the knowledge is a bit - well, off.

    I had a discussion not all that long ago with a friend and his wife about theatre (she was in a church holiday performance). I was discussing seeing Love's Labours Lost, and how the King of Navarre and his court cloistered themselves for three years to study. The first words out of my friend's wife's mouth were "You mean like Pharisees?" I nearly choked.

    Most of us get our history from reading and studying the actual scholarship. Bachmann and her set get theirs from their pastor and other leaders in their set, who "adjust" the facts to suit the philosophy. It should be no surprise that they get so much of it wrong since the real thing doesn't mesh well with what their authority figures project.

    ... and Captha says "erchat cist."

  • DRF on June 28, 2011 10:25 AM:

    I'm reluctant to make fun of Bachmann, or anyone else, based on the reputation of the college or professional school they went to. I'm sure there were some pretty smart people who went to her law school. And I went to a law school considered to be among the "top 10", and can tell you that there were certainly some students there who just weren't all that sharp.

    Bachmann is 50 years old and deserves to be judged on the basis of her actions and statements over the last 20 or so years, and not on the basis of her academic credentials.

    Of course, on that basis, she fails. "John Quincy Adams" is just about the stupidest answer she could give (not that there really is a good answer here).

    In addition to her extreme right wing views on issues, and the fact that her knowledge of economic issues and other domestic issues doesn't seem to be any deeper than standard Republican talking points, I have three real problems with Bachmann as a potential President:

    1. She seems to be steeped in a Christianist/revisionist understanding of American history, which indicates a real lack of knowledge about, and understanding of, the Constitution as it has been understood and interpreted for decades.

    2. She has a history of very casually making the kind of absurdly false statements that are highlighted in this article, which indicates either a lack of respect for the truth or just a personal recklessness in pursuit of her political agenda. Either way, not a trait I want in my President.

    3. Real simply, she believes that her religion and the Scriptures provide an answer for all public issues and, therefore, would impose her religious views on all of the rest of us. I didn't sign up to live in a theocracy; I'm not a member of her religion, and I don't buy into her views on social issues. That would be ok, except that she doesn't acknowledge the legitimacy of opposing points of view, which is a characteristic of religion, but shouldn't be a characteristic of politics in a pluralistic, democratic society.

  • Kane on June 28, 2011 10:34 AM:

    One thing that Bachmann, Palin, Trump and others all have in common is that their approval ratings among republicans have a tendency to grow most when they are in attack mode. We witnessed this phenomenon in the 2010 mid-term election where candidates who attacked loudest and most often were generally considered to be the most suitable and genuine conservatives.

    It matters little to this crowd that these individuals are often ill-inform­ed and that they shamelessl­y make things up in their attacks. And the lack of knowledge and political experience matters little as well. What matters above all else is the constant personal attacks on President Obama. This is what the right-wing wants and demands of their candidates. Those candidates unwilling to play along fail to gain traction.

    When Bachmann and others are called out for their inflammatory rhetoric, misstatements and questionable policies, the criticism is portrayed as if they are being unfairly persecuted by those with a liberal bias. This narrative of conservative victimization has proved to be effective for conservative candidates and FOX news, as it asks supporters and viewers to suspend reality and accept the notion that all criticism directed at them is unfair and unbalanced.

  • Steve P on June 28, 2011 10:35 AM:

    What so many of us fail to notice is that most Americans have the same understanding of history as Bachmann. They don't know the difference between John and John Quincy Adams, and don't care. I'm not sure they see the distinction between John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy. It's a bit like a lot of Charlie Brown adult babble wrapped about likeable buzzwords--a variation on dog whistle politics.

    The only question that matters is whether Bachmann is sincerely dumb, or another Palin, indifferent to knowledge, who knows that her appeal is critic-proof, and that people like Chris Wallace are like the mean kids in school who make fun of you when you say dumb things. People who grew up saying dumb things and who continue to do so practically define the GOP primary demo.

  • nodak on June 28, 2011 10:35 AM:

    Bachmann and her ilk want to get rid of minimum wage so that their beloved corporations can get reap even more obscene profits and make the rest of this country into nothing more than slaves. This is all at the same time they want to ripe out any safty nets that help those who already cannot make it on the present minium wage. And they call themselves christians. Yea Right! They seem to forget Christ in the word Christian.

  • ET on June 28, 2011 10:41 AM:

    I don't have any doubt that MB is a "serious" person but she just isn't a very smart one. Being the one doesn't necessarily mean being the other.

    Of course I do believe that she isn't near as "smart" as she thinks she is. All this attention on her has left her with an inflated sense of her importance.

  • Jon on June 28, 2011 10:47 AM:

    1) William and Mary's law school did indeed offer a graduate degree in tax law at the time MB claims to have received one; it dropped the program in 1995.

    2) It was very much a practical, not an academic, program.

    3) Unlike W&M's J.D. degree or undergraduate degrees, the criteria for admission for the LLM in Tax Law were not very competitive. All I see is simply being in the top 30% of your law class (probably not a problem for her, coming from Oral Roberts).

    I don't think this degree can really be used to substantiate some claim to intellectual heft on her part. That said, I'm sure she's not as stupid as she sounds, though she clearly sounds poorly educated. Also, there are a considerable number of people with legitimate degrees from Yale, Harvard, etc. (e.g., Pat Robertson) who are as bad or worse than her.

    I guess we'll just have to judge people by what they do. Full credit to her for being a foster mom. But as a politician, she doesn't do much except say crazy things. Her congressional accomplishments are almost non-existent.

  • dbl06 on June 28, 2011 10:50 AM:

    The scariest thing about Michele Bachman is George Bush. With the kind of money in politics today any puppet can be elected president.

  • J.P. Travis on June 28, 2011 11:06 AM:

    If you are going to do a leftwing hit piece, try to get your facts straight. Conflating the age of JQA at the time of the Declaration of Independence with the notion of whether he was involved with the Revolutionary War ignores the fact that the latter ended seven years after the former. SEVEN YEARS LATER. Do you copy? So the relevant age of JQA is 16, not 9 years old. I'm guessing a 16-year-old in 1783, son of John Adams, was not home playing video games and meeting his friends at the mall. Duh.

  • Zorro on June 28, 2011 11:08 AM:

    I agree that much of Bachmann's stupidity is some kind of odd act. Unlike Palin, she isn't an idiot- what she is is batshit crazy.


  • David Martin on June 28, 2011 11:27 AM:

    John Quincy Adams is a favorite of right-wing "history" promoter David Barton, who views him as the ideal virtuous American.

    Barton is popular, so it's a good bet that Bachmann is getting her history from him. Her followers will understand that she's speaking Truth (at least Barton's version) to secular, liberal Power.

  • Ron Byers on June 28, 2011 11:36 AM:

    I have been taking hits for taking Bachmann seriously. Sorry, but out here in the heartland we have watched as election after election has been won by political fundamentalists just like Bachmann. They are often hardworking, dedicated and cocksure opportunists taking advantage of the hardworking folk who show up in the pews every Sunday morning.

    In my part of the country the old time Republicans, unwilling to venture our of their private clubs, have long lost city and county state governments to the Bachmanns of the world. They now control many state legislatures. Democrats, of course, are unfamilar with people like Bachmann because they don't actually want to be associated with suburban fly over America.

    The Bachmanns of the Republican party come out of the same milieu as the builders of the mega churches that dot all of the middle west. The people who built those churches aren't stupid.

    Democrats discount Bachmann at their peril. They are dangerous.

  • Right-wingers don't know history on June 28, 2011 11:36 AM:

    So the relevant age of JQA is 16, not 9 years old. I'm guessing a 16-year-old in 1783, son of John Adams, was not home playing video games and meeting his friends at the mall. Duh.

    From the time he was ten years old until his late teens young John Quincy Adams traveled overseas while the Revolutionary War was waged and ended. He did not fight in it and had nothing at all to do with it, nor the drafting of any Founding documents. He was not even in the country. Therefore, he is not a Founding Father.

    Have you never heard of google? Did you think we would not consult history? Duh. Thank you for proving the point of rightwing stupidity and complete unfamiliarity with history - and worse, the compulsion to just make up shit to protect your own.

  • Bill K. on June 28, 2011 11:49 AM:

    I agree with the comment above. She's probably regurgitating some half remembered Barton. The puzzling thing is it would be easy to give actual examples of Founding Fathers who did work to end slavery. Franklin comes to mind as one that the average American might recognize and it makes for a good story too ("that petition to Congress was the last great act in a great American life...") But to tell the truth would involve acknowledging nuance, such as someone owning slaves but later oposing slavery, that views can evolve on moral issues, and that even the Founders compromised on "core values" for the good of the country.

  • FredW on June 28, 2011 11:51 AM:

    I think Ms Bachmann has a problem with three word names:

    She got "John Wayne" and "John Wayne Gacy" confused and now it appears she got "John Adams" and "John Quincy Adams" confused.

  • berttheclock on June 28, 2011 11:55 AM:

    Mr Byers is correct about the Bible Belt of the Heartland. Bachmann's roots are in the very Conservative wing of her church which was part of a schism in the late '30s. A great deal of both Dr Machen and Dr Carl McIntyre influence that right wing. This is the old Calvinism meets Libertarianism. Her anti-abortion views comes from that group.

    And, much of the Heartland just loves Fire and Brimstone.

  • revchicoucc on June 28, 2011 12:13 PM:

    @Ron Byers 11:36: For what it's worth, I agree with your comments here. I lived in MN 13 years, now in CA in a job move, during the time Rep. Bachmann was ascendant in state politics. At any time, I hoped her constituents would vote her out, but they did not.

    Whether or not she exhibits any intellectual heft, she does exhibit some degree of political courage and savvy, saying things that poke a stick in the eye of educated elites. She does it in the style of an evangelical preacher or Bible teacher -- fast-paced, earnest, and confident -- which increases her appeal among evangelicals.

    To them, she speaks truth to power for they see themselves as persecuted by forces that reinforce their understanding of the world as an ongoing battle between good and evil. The ultimate evil, in their thinking, is anything that keeps them from having more money. Theologically, this thinking is known as "earthly reward / earthy retribution."

    In this theology, God's punishment on America is not cataclysmic destruction as much as it is a gradual erosion of America's economic and military dominance. With the right leader, God will remove his wrath from America.

    I am a liberal, progressive Christian. Let me emphasize this is not my view personally.

    Ridiculing these views dismissively does not help counter them in the culture or defeat them at the ballot box. Non-religious people of any political party routinely underestimate the role of religion the lives of the American people.

  • bandit on June 28, 2011 1:06 PM:

    Talk about ignorant

    " He did not fight in it and had nothing at all to do with it, nor the drafting of any Founding documents. He was not even in the country. Therefore, he is not a Founding Father."

    He served as a diplomatic secretary to his father during the negotiations with France and England to end the Revolutionary War.

  • Anonymous on June 28, 2011 1:17 PM:

    He served as a diplomatic secretary to his father during the negotiations with France and England to end the Revolutionary War

    Yep. He was 15. "Johnny, go fetch me my quill. And while you're at it bring me my pipe."

    He was not in the country - and hadn't been since he was eight. He did not fight. He did not draft documents. His father was involved in diplomacy, he was not, not until his mid-twenties when Washington appointed him. He had nothing to do with the Revolutionary War except be a kid when it happened.

  • bdop4 on June 28, 2011 1:44 PM:

    A journalist could nail a conservative to the wall every time they utter the phrase "job-killing Democratic policies" (or some variant thereof). That begs two questions:

    1. Exactly how do Democratic policies kill jobs?

    2. Exactly how do republican austerity policies create jobs?

    If a interviewer sticks to his/her guns for a real answer, he/she is guaranteed to get an entertaining response.

  • roughdraft on June 28, 2011 2:34 PM:

    I would love to see a good cartoonist depict her in the Oval Office with a list entitled "Launch Codes" and a 'Red Phone' and her finger hovering over a large red 'Launch' button with the caption asking something along the line of, "Do you REALLY want to vote that way?"

  • muffler on June 28, 2011 2:49 PM:

    Step 1)Create air of doubt to science, history and peer reviewed research. Step 2) Introduce the "Controversy" and demand that both views be taught even if yours has not substantiated proof. Step 3) Demonize Academia as left wing and biased 4) Reduce education to a shell 5) Introduce your own education and history. Step 6) Change history to suite your agenda.

  • bobbyd333 on June 28, 2011 2:58 PM:

    Must one be old enough to be a father to be a Founding Father?

  • J.P. Travis on June 28, 2011 10:32 PM:

    From the time he was ten years old until his late teens young John Quincy Adams traveled overseas while the Revolutionary War was waged and ended. He did not fight in it...

    Nobody said he fought in it. I love it when people rebut a point that was never made. Sure sign of a liberal. What he did was accompany his father, who spent time as envoy to France, our main ally in the war. You remember his father, right? The man you claim WAS a founding father? His son was with him. The point being that this isn't about 9-year-old like the hit piece above claims.

  • Cha on June 28, 2011 10:33 PM:

    @ J.P. Travis Steve doesn't do hit pieces. That's the stupid rw like breitbart..you must have gotten them confused.

    Bachmann's mouth does hit pieces on herself. All anyone has to do is report what she regurgiated and her brain challenged dumbass does the rest.