“I would love to give the White house fits. I would, because, you know, I would love to stir it up even more…” So says Michele Bachmann, the fastest rising female star in Conservativeland as well as the leader of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. At a recent New Orleans rally, the U.S. Representative from Minnesota said, “President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want.” Her fierce campaign against compact fluorescent lights comes from the belief that the energy-saving bulbs contain mercury, posing a “very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens.”
Two years ago, Bachmann kept insisting that she would refuse to cooperate with the 2010 census despite the fact that this would be illegal. “I’m just not comfortable with the way this census is being handled,” she said, continuing that it was in part because Americans are “compelled” to answer the census. According to Bachmann, the census is used to drive people into internment camps. Before the actual census was taken a year after that, her arguments against it faded, perhaps because someone told her that her position was dependent on the number of people in her district. Maybe someone also told her that the census requirement is in the Constitution.
Bachmann has also warned the country about the danger of Obama-proposed “re-education camps” where they would be forced to absorb the philosophy of the Democratic parties. Her reference was to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, expanding AmeriCorps and increasing volunteer opportunities around the world. Bachmann warned that a “Democrat colleague” had proposed to make it mandatory. A couple of months after that ranting, her son, Harrison, joined Teach for America (TFA), a member of AmeriCorps.
In a recent piece of paranoia, she claims that President Obama secretly wants Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in his new national health care law, forcing them into the private insurance market. (Which seems to be what the Republicans want, not Obama!)
Paranoia also runs rampant in her claim about Iran and Iraq: In what she describes as an “agreement made” between Iraq and Iran, “they are going to get half of Iraq, and that is going to be a terrorist safe-haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more attacks in the Middle East, and come against the United States.”
Other of her statements are equally wacky. “I think if we give Glenn Beck the numbers, he can solve this [the national debt],” she said to a South Carolina audience. Bachmann compared Iraq after a 2007 trip to the Mall of America with its marble and abundance of water. Her claim that Terri Schiavo,Florida woman caught in a political tug-of-war about forgoing further life-prolonging procedures or life support treatment, was “healthy” came after an autopsy showing that Schiavo’s brain was “profoundly atrophied.”
Sometimes her statements are as cruel as they are stupid, for example when she said that Melissa Etheridge should repent after her diagnosis of cancer. “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.”
Claiming to have 23 children (18 of them in short-term foster care as teenagers), Bachmann takes a laissez-faire approach toward their education: Doubting evolution, she said that she would require schools to teach intelligent design. “What I support is putting all science on the table and letting students decide.” She also claimed that “there are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.” Not true.
Abortion: Believes right to life extends to the born and unborn, as do all the far-right wingnuts; co-sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal dollars; and signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.
Environment: Called global warming “a hoax” and would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, created during Richard Nixon’s presidency. Also claimed that carbon dioxide is “harmless” despite the scientific finding from a Stanford scientist that as many as “20,000 air-pollution-related deaths per year per degree Celsius may be due to this greenhouse gas.” Pro-Second Amendment, she warned her constituents to be “armed and dangerous” in their resistance to cap-and-trade limits.
Fiscal Issues: Would “zero out” capital gains tax, Alternative Minimum Tax, and estate tax; cut the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 9 percent; scrap the U.S. tax code; and adopt a national consumption tax. Also maintained that eradicating the minimum wage would wipe out unemployment “because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.” (Noted economist Paul Krugman strenuously disagrees.) Her tax changes would take 23,000 millionaires off the income tax rolls saving them about $11 billion, adding the same sum to the U.S. deficit. The deficit would skyrocket even more because more than 200,000 households that make $1 million or more would get an average tax cut of $100,000—about $10 billion, according to my calculations.
LGBT Issues: Wants a Constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. Claimed that showing a picture of The Lion King to second graders and telling them that the music for the movie was written by a gay may would lead to “desensitization” toward same-sex marriage. Equates pedophiles with LGBT people: A “pedophile, someone who considers themselves gay, someone who considers themselves transgender, someone who considers themselves a cross-dresser? That is who is protected.” Describes same-sex marriage as dangerous: “It is our children who are the prize for this community, they are specifically targeting our children.” [Note: Bachmann’s stepsister Helen LaFave has been with her same-sex partner for 22 years.]
Politics: Accused Obama (at that time a U.S. senator) of having “anti-American views” and wanted “an exposé” of other legislators, such as then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid, by the media because of their views.
Religion: Believes support for Israel is handed down by God and that the U.S. will cease to exist if it pulls back its support; defends National Day of Prayer; and gives God credit for her decision to run for president.
Bachmann definitely suffers from a fuzzy history syndrome. In Manchester she praised New Hampshire for being the state where the Revolutionary War began. The “shot heard round the world” was actually 50 miles south in another Concord—this one inMassachusetts. She deserves credit for perseverance, however; she repeated that story twice more in other fundraisers. “She makes Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich,” tweeted longtime GOP consultant Mike Murphy.
Speaking to an Iowa anti-tax group, Bachmann praised the Founding Fathers for ending slavery. “The very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” she said. Some were against slavery, others were opposed, but slavery wasn’t abolished until Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation 87 years later.
Bachmann praised John Quincy Adams because he “would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.” The sixth president of the U.S. did campaign against slavery. But he was eight years old when the Declaration was signed and died in 1848, almost 20 years before the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery.
Even current events seem to escape Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. During an appearance on Meet the Press, she suggested that President Obama should defer to Gen. David Petraeus on the Libya crisis. At that time Petraeus, commander of American forces in Afghanistan, was not involved in Libyan military decisions.
Her use of tax-payer funds to help the Tea Party may lead to problems for Bachmann on her path to the presidential candidacy. After she asked thousands of tea partyers to the Capitol to rage against the pending health care bill in late 2009, she and three other conservative GOP colleagues — Reps. Tom Price (GS), Steve King (IA) and Todd Akin (MO) — each paid $3,407.50, a total of $13,630, for the sound system used at the rally, out of their taxpayer-funded office accounts. House rules prohibit the use of these funds for political activities, but Bachmann’s office insists the the event was a “press conference,” which can be funded from official accounts. No questions were taken from the press.
Her use of other tax-payer monies seems also questionable. After she gave an alternate response to President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address in tandem with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), she paid Oval office Writers a $5,000 fee for “speechwriting.” A year ago she hired Guy Short as “senior adviser,” paying him $5,000 for the month. During the same month, Short established C&M Strategies in Colorado. After Short quit, Bachmann’s campaign paid C&M Strategies for fundraising consulting services. Its CPA filed papers with the Federal Election Commission creating Bachmann’s leadership PAC, Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere. Since then, MICHELEPAC and the campaign committee have paid C&M Strategies about $150,000 for fundraising consulting.
Asked about Short’s duties in the Congressional office, Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben said in an email, “With six years of hill experience as a Chief of Staff, Guy Short worked with every member of the Congresswoman’s staff to ensure that they worked as effectively as possible to serve the constituents of Minnesota’s sixth district.”
Other Bachmann staffers received regular checks from her campaign while serving on her Congressional payroll—which is permissible as long as the employees make a clear separation between the time they spend working on the campaign and the hours they are working for the Congressional office.
She also used her Congressional office account to cover travel costs for television appearances—not barred by House rules but strange. All these expenses are covered, according to Bachmann, by the need for “communication.” Other Members who appear on television have the costs covered by the networks, and those costs are reported to the House Ethics Committee as “gift travel.”
Her blend of Evangelicalism and the belief that globalism is a force for evil began the star’s rise spanning the time of George W. Bush’s reign and moving into that of President Obama. In 1999, she laid the foundation for her political career by railing against the Profile of Learning, a state curriculum standard that she and her allies argued was leading the nation toward a pantheistic, pro-abortion, one-world society. The Profile, initially created by former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, established 10 basic “learning areas” that students were required to pass—like reading, writing, and mathematics. Bachmann argued that public schools, in collaboration with business interests, would use these “learning areas” to funnel children into specific careers through a program called School to Work.
The world would be better if Michele Bachmann moved from a political career into writing fiction, but her insane comments seem to do nothing other than bring her more money.