A mostly left, feminist perspective of current events.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A review of Michele Bachmann

I've been seeing a lot of the Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann in the news lately. Without taking too deep a look, I saw yet another "Michelle/Michele" entering the political fray & a lot of comparison to Sarah Palin. But after she was called out to a history debate by a 16 yr old, and she refused to address the challenge or the persons threatening to rape and murder this poor girl, I had to find out more about this Representative of my state. I am embarrassed for my state that its most known Representatives are of this new breed of Republican that misconstrues history and science to fit its holier than thou purposes. I also am angry on behalf of my President, historians, school teachers, and everyday Christians whom she bad mouths or represents falsely with her words everyday.

Let me show you what I've seen...

Bachmann: "Not All Cultures Are Equal" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nP4hYkfwuTY

Selections from "Bachmann's Unrivaled Extremism" from The Daily Beast by Michelle Goldberg

But in Minnesota, even those who don't like her politics say she shouldn't be underestimated. "The fact that she's not a heavy lifter, the fact that she's relatively unconcerned about the substance of legislation, does not mean that she's not crafty, that she's not intelligent and she's not fast," says former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican. Her ideological radicalism should not be mistaken for stupidity.


A key moment in her political evolution, as for many of her generation, a was the film series "How Should We Then Live" by the theologian Francis Schaeffer, who is widely credited for mobilizing evangelicals against abortion, an issue most had previously ignored. A Presbyterian minister, Schaeffer argued that our entire perception of reality depends on our worldview, and that only those with the right one can understand the true nature of things. Christianity, he argued, is "a whole system of truth, and this system is the only system that will stand up to all the questions that are presented to us as we face the reality of existence." Theories or assertions from outside this system—evolution, for example—can be dismissed as the product of mistaken premises.

This accounts for some of the bafflement that occasionally greets Bachmann's statements. "Michele Bachmann says certain things that sound crazy to the general public," says author Frank Schaeffer, Francis Schaeffer's son and former collaborator. "But to anybody raised in the environment of the evangelical right wing, what she says makes perfect sense."


Bachmann often says she has "raised" 23 foster children. That may be a bit of a stretch. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Bachmann's license, which she had for 7 1/2 years, allowed her to care for up to three children at a time. According to Kris Harvieux, a former senior social worker in the foster care system in Bachmann's county, some placements were almost certainly short term. "Some of them you have for a week. Some of them you have for three years, some you have for six months," says Harvieux, who also served as a foster parent herself. "She makes it sound like she got them at birth and raised them to adulthood, but that's not true."


In the statehouse, Bachmann made opposition to gay marriage her signature issue. Both she and her husband, by all accounts her most trusted political adviser, believe that homosexuality can be cured. Speaking to a Christian radio station about gay teenagers last year, Marcus Bachmann, who treats gay people in his counseling practice, said, "Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined, and just because someone feels this or thinks this, doesn't mean that we're supposed to go down that road."


In 2004, Bachmann gave a speech warning that gay marriage would lead to schoolchildren being indoctrinated into homosexuality. She wanted everyone to know, though, that she doesn't hate gay people. "Any of you who have members of your family in the lifestyle, we have a member of our family that is," she said. "This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay."

She was clearly talking about her 51-year-old stepsister, Helen LaFave, who had lived with her partner, Nia Wronski, for more than 15 years.


In a Star Tribune story headlined "Bachmann, stepsister hold opposing views," Bachmann claimed that she'd polled her siblings and stepsiblings, and that six of the nine agreed with her. Her stepbrother Mike LaFave was horrified. "The reality was she hadn't taken a family vote count, nor would my family ever do such a thing," he says. "I just find it terrible that when Michele was taken by surprise by a question she wasn't prepared for, the first thing she did was throw not only my sister but her whole family under the bus."

Bachmann, then a state senator, had already been caught hiding in the bushes of a gay rights event and campaigned against gay marriage. But she refused to talk about the issue at a constituent forum, and when said ex-nun and lesbian constituent came into the bathroom to politely take it up with her, she lost it:

Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. "Help!" she screamed. "Help! I'm being held against my will!"

Arnold, who is just over 5 feet tall, was stunned, and hurried to open the door. Bachmann bolted out and fled, crying, to an SUV outside. Then she called the police, saying, according to the police report, that she was "absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her." The Washington County attorney, however, declined to press charges, writing in a memo, "It seems clear from the statements given by both women that they simply wanted to discuss certain issues further with Ms. Bachmann."
Before Republicans or the media start treating Bachmann like a mainstream candidate, though, it's useful to review this handy list of the craziest things she's ever said. Our pick: The time she singled out the Lion King as an opportunity for gay brainwashing. "A teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?' The message is: I'm better at what I do, because I'm gay."

  1. BACHMANN WARNED ‘THE LION KING’ WAS GAY PROPAGANDA: At the November 2004 EdWatch National Education Conference, Bachmann said the “normalization” of homosexuality would lead to “desensitization”: “Very effective way to do this with a bunch of second graders, is take a picture of ‘The Lion King’ for instance, and a teacher might say, ‘Do you know that the music for this movie was written by a gay man?’ The message is: I’m better at what I do, because I’m gay.”
  2. BACHMANN CLAIMED ABOLISHING THE MINIMUM WAGE WOULD CREATE JOBS: While testifying in front of the Minnesota Senate in 2005, Bachmann said, “Literally, if we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” This isn’t remotely true. Even simply reducing the minimum wage would, as Paul Krugman noted, “at best do nothing for employment; more likely it would actually be contractionary.”
  3. BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT SCIENTISTS ARE SUPPORTERS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: During a 2006 debate, Bachmann said, “There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” This was, and is, not true.
  4. BACHMANN CLAIMED TERRI SCHIAVO WAS ‘HEALTHY’: Not long after Terri Schiavo died, Bachmann said she would have voted for the Palm Sunday Compromise because Schiavo “was healthy. She had brain damage — there was brain damage, there was no question. But from a health point of view, she was not terminally ill.” An autopsy found that Schiavo had suffered irreversible brain damage and her brain, said the medical examiner, was “profoundly atrophied.”
  5. BACHMANN LIKENED VISITING IRAQ TO VISITING MALL OF AMERICA: In 2007, Bachmann returned from a junket to Iraq and told her colleagues, “[T]here’s a commonality with the Mall of America, in that it’s on that proportion. There’s marble everywhere. The other thing I remarked about was there is water everywhere.” As ThinkProgress documented at the time, the comparison was preposterous.
  6. BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT CARBON DIOXIDE IS ‘HARMLESS’: In 2008, a Stanford scientist revealed “direct links” between increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and “increases in human mortality” — globally, he found that as many as “20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.” The next year, Bachmann, who is not a scientist, said that “carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
  7. BACHMANN CALLED FOR A CONGRESSIONAL WITCH HUNT: Pivoting off the news of Barack Obama’s alleged relationship to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bachmann accused the candidate of having “anti-American views.” She then suggested that Congressional liberals — including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — ought to be subject to “an exposé” by the media because of their views. “I think people would love to see like that,” she told a stunned Chris Matthews.
  8. BACHMANN SUGGESTED GAY SINGER SHOULD REPENT AFTER GETTING CANCER: Bachmann saw Melissa Etheridge’s cancer as a teachable moment: “Unfortunately she is now suffering from breast cancer, so keep her in your prayers,” she said in November 2004. “This may be an opportunity for her now to be open to some spiritual things, now that she is suffering with that physical disease. She is a lesbian.”
  9. BACHMANN BOASTED ABOUT BREAKING THE LAW: In advance of the 2010 national Census, Bachmann told The Washington Times that she would break the law by not completing the forms. “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
  10. BACHMANN CLAIMED THAT GLENN BECK COULD SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS: During a February trip to South Carolina, Bachmann told a South Carolina audience, “I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this [the national debt].”

Bachmann, speaking on the floor Wednesday evening:

"[T]he bill orders that these clinics protect patient privacy and student records. What does that mean? It means that parents will never know what kind of counsel and treatment that their children are receiving. And as a matter of fact, the bill goes on to say what's going to go on — comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor acute medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty care — is that abortion? Does that mean that someone's 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and Dad are never the wiser."

"Our Peace Prize-winning president is very busy bowing these days to kings. He is bending down to dictators, and he is brown-nosing the elites that are in Europe, and he's babying the jihadists who are following Sharia-compliant terrorism. He is callow and confused and inconsistent in his response to the Egyptian crisis, and to the uprisings in Iran, and to the terrorist threats. And he's accomplishing something nobody thought even possible: He's making Jimmy Carter look like a Rambo tough-guy."

-- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by tpartanburg Herald Journal during a visit to South Carolina.

16-year-old high school student says she is facing online threats after calling into question Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's knowledge of the Constitution.

What started as a harmless -- if cheeky -- way of pointing out Bachmann's historical mistakes has turned darker for New Jersey high school sophomore Amy Meyers.

"I have found quite a few of your statements regarding the Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted," Myers wrote.

"As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere."

Several media outlets reported on Myers' challenge. As a result, she said, people have threatened violence against her and threatened to publish her address online, the Courier Post reports. Myers' high school has also reportedly received inquiries regarding Myers' letter.

"A lot of them are calling me a whore," Myers said of the online remarks against her. Added her father Wayne Myers: "I personally did not think there would be a reaction like actual stalking and the vitriol that's coming out."

Bachmann's office has said it would not respond to the debate challenge.

"But Bachmann was just as wrong with her happy talk that economic or immigration status never mattered, that "we were all the same." Even white men weren't all the same in early U.S. history: Many colonies and states only allowed property-owners to vote; universal white male suffrage wasn't achieved until 1830. Those happy immigrants? Nativists were attacking Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, throughout much of the 19th century, burning down churches, convents and homes. The Chinese exclusion act lasted from 1882 to 1943. We know the history of Japanese internment. Certainly Indians and native Mexicans who were here first weren't "all the same." The story of America is the struggle to expand more rights to more people, and it's required fighting the forces of reaction like Bachmann since its founding. I love my country, but that's our history."

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann told Chris Matthews on Hardball that she wishes the "American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America," implying that all liberals are some level of anti-American. In the wake of what turned out to be a flood of donations for her opponent, she'd like to take it all back. Actually, she'd like us to know that she never actually said it in the first place and that down is up and back is forth.

Instead of apologizing, she just blames it all on other people. "Despite the way the blogs and the Democratic Party are spinning it, I never called all liberals anti-American, I never questioned Barack Obama’s patriotism, and I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress," said Bachmann. We can go back to the tape, but she called his views and associations un-American, implied strongly that all liberals are anti-American (some more than others) and, indeed, called for an "exposé" into which of her Congressional colleagues held un-American views.

And lastly, this...

"Michele Bachmann Glitterbomed" from Jezebel byErin Gloria Ryan

Republican Presidential hopeful/crazy-eyed nutjob Michele Bachmann is the latest conservative to have her life glitterized on Saturday. Bachmann was speaking at a right wing political event when gay rights activist Rachel E. B. Lang flung two fistfuls of the sparkly stuff at the Congresswoman. Undaunted, Bachmann continued walking through the glitter confetti rain toward the people with whom she was going to greet, like an unstoppable robot hell-bent on rights destruction.

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