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June 23, 2011 8:54 AM   Subscribe


 
And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman. What is wrong with this country?
posted by haley_joel_osteen at 9:01 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was going to link to this article in the santorum thread earlier. Bachman, and the Right wing that support her, don't appreciate the mockery they so deserve. It only serves to reinforce their cultural persecution complex, and alienates them.

That being said, these people are beyond redemption, policy wise. You can't reason a person out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

This is why they need to be crushed, utterly defeated, politically.
posted by Xoebe at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


What is wrong with this country?

90% of evangelicals.

I can only hope that people read through this woman and don't elect her. My real fear is that she makes it far, and probably will.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that this is the first political piece to use the Far Out Space Nuts analogy for a possible bid at the White House. A San Pedro Beach Bums comparison can't be far behind.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:03 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Matt Taibbi's writing. He's got to be the most entertaining journalist going these days.
posted by Dasein at 9:03 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman. What is wrong with this country?

You mean what is wrong with evangelicals. And I can tell you: A demonstrated willingness (to say the least) to accept Received Wisdom From On High rather than think for themselves.
posted by DU at 9:04 AM on June 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Surely this...
posted by thescientificmethhead at 9:05 AM on June 23, 2011


You can't reason a person out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

Like most internet wisdom, this is not true. At all. Just because sometimes (or even most of the time), people with unreasonable beliefs don't listen to reason does not make this an immutable law.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:05 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Taibbi is entirely too earnest and excitable about his issues. I prefer the more sedate, considered approach of Greenwald et al. Incidentally, I am renaming this account to good_centrist
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She is another Palin in training; those who vote for her do so primarily due to her physical attractiveness; those who support her financially do so because in the end she is just a useful tool for their ends and they can coat themselves in a veneer of progressive attitude since they are supporting a woman. American conservatives are petrified at the thought of women with actual ideas and strength (like Hillary Clinton) and would rather prop up Barbie dolls and Cheerleaders; once the ravages of menopause and age set in, the Palins and Bachmanns of the world will be moved off the stage into the obscurity they rightly deserve. In brief, a female conservate candidate only needs two attributes, neither of which include intelligence or character.
posted by Renoroc at 9:07 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Matt Taibbi seems to have built an entire career our of leering at weirdos.
posted by koeselitz at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]



I can only hope that people read through this woman and don't elect her. My real fear is that she makes it far, and probably will.


Actually, I hope she will make it far. All the GOP candidates will have to shift right to appear conservative because of her.

That shift right will hopefully drive away the independent votes, just like Palin.
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2011


And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman.

I won't quibble that she has a lot of evangelical support, but on the other hand I know a lot of evangelicals and I've only ever heard her mentioned by liberals (as opposed to Palin, whom I heard a great deal about from evangelicals in 2008-09).
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, I hope she will make it far. All the GOP candidates will have to shift right to appear conservative because of her.

And all the Dem candidates will shift right to appear serious.
posted by DU at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2011 [54 favorites]


As the Insane Fool, she makes Romney far more electable than Selfish Fool Palin, herself also a tool in the "one sane person in the nuthouse" strategy. Also look at the chin on that guy. He's got it clinched.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The best thing that could come from a Bachmann candidacy would be for her to win the nomination, then ramp up the crazy so far that even the most partisan members of the big money republican wing are forced to abandon her in terror of her actually winning. If she did well enough to completely capture the Theocratic Dominionist vote, but came too close to actually bringing about the 1000 Year Fourth Reich, perhaps it would be enough to seperate the Christian right from the Republicans who actually want to have a country left to rule over.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2011


She seems to have gotten Tabbi a little unhinged; rather than his usual professional tone he seems to be ranting and raving in this one.
posted by caddis at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]






Um... I am really not ready to believe that 90% of evangelicals will vote for her - 17% voted for Obama, including 1/3 of those under 25.

If all they know about her is that she's antii-abortion and had lots of foster kids, evangelicals who feel very strongly about abortion will respond well to her in polls. Once more about her gets out, support will go down, in favor of other socially conservative (but more sane) candidates. At the end of the day, I'd guess that 90% of evangelicals will vote Republican in November 2012, but hardly believe that that proportion will vote for Bachman in the primaries, or that she has a real shot at the nomination.
posted by Wylla at 9:11 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman. What is wrong with this country?

Uh... cite?
posted by Jahaza at 9:12 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She is another Palin in training

Michele Bachmann is far more dangerous than Sarah Palin because she actually means to serve. It doesn't appear that she just wants fame and attention; she seems to actually want to be an elected official.
posted by padraigin at 9:12 AM on June 23, 2011 [25 favorites]


Imagine Joe McCarthy dragging Cabinet members into hearings and demanding that they publicly disavow the works of Groucho Marx, and you get a rough idea of the general style of Bachmannian politics.

Okay, that's pretty funny.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [23 favorites]


Surely, all of the frothing with anger at the liberal media tea partiers will read this article when the next Rolling Stone is delivered to them via their subscriptions and then turn against her.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, that was depressing.
posted by svenni at 9:14 AM on June 23, 2011


adamdschneider: "Like most internet wisdom, this is not true. At all."

Haha, yes, that may be correct, but you'll never convince Xoebe.
posted by boo_radley at 9:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I prefer the more sedate, considered approach of Greenwald et al.

Greenwald is sedate?
posted by blucevalo at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Did you read the article haley_joel_osteen? Basically, Tabbi lays out the theory that people who vote for Bachman are basically saying "fuck you atheist liberal elitist."

I think that oversimplifies the motivations of a lot of Bachman supporters, and of Tea Party conservatives in general, but it certainly plays a big role, and it's something worth noting.

Remember all how Donald Trump had a lot of support in the polls a couple of months ago? No one really knew, or seemed to care, what his policy positions were, but they knew he pissed off Democrats and that amorphous group known as the elitists. Supporting Trump was basically saying "fuck you" to everyone you didn't like.

I'd qualify this by saying that most people who vote do so to vote against someone, something, or some ideology--at least at some level. But the level of "fuck you-ness" among the current crop of Republican voters is scary.
posted by mcmile at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Shallow 'Rolling Stone' Hit Piece is Just What Michele Bachmann Needed

This is good news for the McCain campaign.
posted by verb at 9:16 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


riding that attention to an easy conquest of an overeducated cultural elite from both parties that is far too full of itself to understand the price of its contemptuous laughter.

show em up, move'em on, rollin over to her song....rawhideeee
posted by clavdivs at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2011


And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman. What is wrong with this country?

He tells you what's wrong at the end of the article.

All of those people out there aren't voting for Michele Bachmann. They're voting against us. And to them, it turns out, we suck enough to make anyone a contender.
posted by delfin at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The best thing that could come from a Bachmann candidacy would be for her to win the nomination, then ramp up the crazy so far that even the most partisan members of the big money republican wing are forced to abandon her in terror of her actually winning.

Or, after winning the nomination, she could move to the center.
posted by Trurl at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Better Bachman-Turner Overdrive joke--'Takin' Care of Business,' or 'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet'?
posted by box at 9:17 AM on June 23, 2011


I love Matt Taibbi's writing. He's got to be the most entertaining journalist going these days.

The problem is Mr. Taibbi's writing is all about Mr. Taibbi's writing. It's clear that he thinks he's really funny and who he likes and dislikes, and that his fans agree. But that's it.
posted by nangar at 9:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman. What is wrong with this country?

I doubt it's that high, but why is the evangelical right in love with Bachmann in general? Ironically, part of is it articles like Taibbi's. That is not to say he shouldn't write them. He absolutely should and I'm glad he did. But as has oft been noted, there is one prime directive the further and further to the right you move politically: does it piss off liberals?

It really is that stupid, petty, juvenile and above all, simply mean, but that's it. They loved Palin because she pissed off liberals. They love Bachmann because she pisses off liberals. They got tired of Bush when he couldn't piss off liberals anymore and we were just anxiously waiting for him to leave. They hated Huckabee when he suggested not grinding Mexicans into mortar for a border wall because he wasn't pissing off liberals enough. Find a single article about Palin that doesn't have a right-wing comment salivating and bragging "I love how much she drives those liberals crazy!" It doesn't matter that she "pisses off" liberals and generally smart and/or compassionate people in general because she says things that are stupid and mean and awful and hateful because it's not about policy; it's about we won! That proves all the people who said we're ignorant assholes wrong! Hahahahahaha!

Evangelicals? Sort of big on the whole persecuted messiah thing. Hard-core right wingers, especially the more religious ones, are the tried and true descendants of dogmatic fervor. They're don't want a revival; they want an inquisition and a Torquemada who will be the best at deliciously torturing those who are Not Of The One True God.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [49 favorites]


Remember all how Donald Trump had a lot of support in the polls a couple of months ago? No one really knew, or seemed to care, what his policy positions were, but they knew he pissed off Democrats and that amorphous group known as the elitists. Supporting Trump was basically saying "fuck you" to everyone you didn't like.

But I also think that there's a big difference between how people answer in polls like the ones you mention (especially this early in the election cycle) because they enjoy seeing their political enemies get pissed off and how they'd actually vote. I don't think Trump would have gotten anywhere near the amount of support in terms of votes that he had in poll numbers.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frothing Liberal journalist dislikes frothing Conservative politician. Story erroneously posted on site purporting to celebrate "Best of the Web."
posted by critzer at 9:18 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


box: Better Bachman-Turner Overdrive joke--'Takin' Care of Business,' or 'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet'?

For the sake of the country I'm hoping for "My Wheels Won't Turn"
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let me get the prediction in now: sooner or later, Taibbi is going to totally go Chris Hitchens.
posted by box at 9:20 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]



As the Insane Fool, she makes Romney far more electable than Selfish Fool Palin, herself also a tool in the "one sane person in the nuthouse" strategy. Also look at the chin on that guy. He's got it clinched.


Good point. He still has that Mormon thing to deal with.

I was surprised at the amount of public distrust of Mormons in the last presidential election.

People had no qualms saying in interviews, that they didn't consider Mormons Christians and they didn't trust them in general.
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog did a fantastic piece examining her claims that Democrats want to "replace your Medicare with Obamacare."

The conclusion? We have no f--ing idea what she's ranting about, but the bits that do make sense are all blatant lies.

Stay classy, Michelle.
posted by schmod at 9:23 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Man, what a hateful and obnoxious article. Ugh. Remind me never to read anything by this sick fuck Matt Taibbi ever again.
posted by koeselitz at 9:23 AM on June 23, 2011


Can we just say "Politics of Resentment" and be done with it?

(And I guess I'm the only one bothered that Chuck McCann was omitted from the Far Out Space Nuts mention. Because Denver was really a one-hit wonder, while McCann did yeoman's work in an incredible number of shows.)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:23 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


My favorite quotes from this article:
(Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn't born of professional jealousy.)
and
The public has become acquainted with some of Bachmann's other excellent qualities as a politician — her TV-ready looks, her easy confidence in public speaking, her quick command of a mountainous
database of (frequently bogus) facts — but often overlooked is her greatest quality, the gigantic set of burnished titanium Terminator-testicles swinging under her skirt.

Metafilter: The gigantic set of burnished titanium Terminator-testicles swinging under her skirt.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 9:24 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


People had no qualms saying in interviews, that they didn't consider Mormons Christians and they didn't trust them in general.

I'm fine with Mormons describing themselves as Christians, but I think that Mormon theology differs markedly enough from the commonalities of Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox Christianity that I consider it to be a separate belief system.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Denver was really a one-hit wonder

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
posted by Trurl at 9:26 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


After reading Tabbi's profile of Bachmann, I'm reminded of a rare moment of honesty from 'Big Jim' Rennie, the corrupt, viscous, fundamentalist Selectman of the town of Chester's Mill in Stephen King's Under the Dome:

Son, never give a politician the opportunity to pray.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:27 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


box: "Let me get the prediction in now: sooner or later, Taibbi is going to totally go Chris Hitchens."

Or P.J. O'Rourke.
posted by Splunge at 9:27 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]




What is wrong with this country?

All y'all pay far too much attention to TV.
posted by flabdablet at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


>>>>And yet 90% of evangelicals in the U.S. are frothing at the mouth to vote for this woman.
>>Uh... cite?
Not intended to be a factual statement.
posted by allelopath at 9:31 AM on June 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Let me get the prediction in now: sooner or later, Taibbi is going to totally go Chris Hitchens.

You never go full Hitchens!
posted by adamdschneider at 9:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


People had no qualms saying in interviews, that they didn't consider Mormons Christians and they didn't trust them in general.

I seem to recall a similar situation...

"I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me."

Seemed to get Kennedy elected.
posted by Talez at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2011


The method of taking things to their logical extreme to examine them is as old as Plato's Republic, where he blew man up to the size of a city to find out what good was.

We don't have to do that in the case of evangelical Christianity - people like Bachmann have already taken it to its logical extreme so we can find out what evil is.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2011


I read these kind of articles the way I watched horror movies as a kid...compulsively, but through my fingers covering my eyes. But then I get to the end, and I want an answer. A solution. How do we un-crazy America? Or are there more of them than us? What's going to happen to liberals, atheists, gays, anyone outside of their narrow definition of "Good American" if they somehow manage to get control of things?

I've always been a believer in check and balances, that the system wouldn't let things go too far. But I'm scared.

I think I need a walk and a tall glass of soda and perspective...
posted by JoanArkham at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


My column from today: Bachmann in the arts.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:35 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Realtalk, blucevalo: Taibbi has some problems-- I can't completely refute these predictions of his breakdown-- and is maybe more entertaining than substantial, but one can't help but wonder if the ire directed at him is in part due to how gauche and shameful it's considered to display earnest and visible sentiment in some circles.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2011 [19 favorites]


Personally I hope she runs long enough to scuttle her chances of popping back in and taking her house seat back (she can't run for both simultaneously).

Some people out there think she has a decent shot at the VP nom slot. Rom/Bac.


All her attention right now kind of reminds me of the frenzy that Palin got right after McCain announced unleashed her. Give it a few months, if she's still running strong in Nov/Dec then we need to take it seriously.
posted by edgeways at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2011


Find a single article about Palin that doesn't have a right-wing comment salivating and bragging "I love how much she drives those liberals crazy!"

Yes, as the parent of a toddler I recognize this kind of behaviour well.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:38 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



People had no qualms saying in interviews, that they didn't consider Mormons Christians and they didn't trust them in general.

I seem to recall a similar situation...

"I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me."

Seemed to get Kennedy elected.


Yep, I know. I'm not convinced those analogous situations. Nobody said Kennedy wasn't a Christian, just that he might be talking orders from the Vatican.
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:39 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly I can't imagine the money wing of the Republican party, you know the one that actually pays to get people elected, gelling behind Bachmann. Even if she excites the tea party and evangelicals, that isn't a big enough coalition to actually get elected in the general election.

The powers that be know this and if they have to they will sink her in order to get a halfway electable candidate they will do it.

Keep in mind that all of the hot button issues that drive the base wild aren't necessarily things that the money guys want passed. They are just pretty baubles used every 2 and 4 years to get the pro-business guys elected.
posted by vuron at 9:40 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"That's not what Bachmann's thing is."

I'm sorry but this is just the worst fucking sentence.
posted by griphus at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2011


Alternately, they may have given up on this election -- it may be that elections are won in broad strokes, and Obama's got "I killed bin Laden," while all the right has is "You didn't completely fix the economy, but, jeez, we retook congress and didn't really either."

So all the viable candidates are staying the hell away, and the Repubs don't really care who dumps this one, as they are getting ready for the next one.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:43 AM on June 23, 2011


kennedy had that extra special quality about him, namely that he was a kennedy. it's the only non-protestant president we've elected. i don't see a mormon elected to the presidency in my lifetime. there's a lot of distrust there. i had kids in my 3rd grade class who weren't allowed to talk to me. i've had adults ask me about sacrificing babies at the temples. this was the 90s. if anything, their image has been damaged even more since then. with prop 8 they showed a willingness to engage in politics in a way that i think will damage romney.

besides the mormon problem, he has the healthcare problem. he's a little liberal for his base, even if he tries to cover it up.

as for bachmann - hiding in bushes and accusing lesbians and nuns of kidnapping her in a bathroom - that woman has got some deep seated issues and i can't wait for the skeletons to come out to play.

but really, these are all distractions to keep everyone talking and to keep focus off of whoever is actually being vetted for the seat. as democrats, we can only hope that the republicans actually go with a romney, or palin, or bachmann - those are the candidates that will get dem voters off their couches to make sure obama gets his next term.
posted by nadawi at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2011


I can't wait for November, 2012 so I can chose between a sitting president who has betrayed most of the principles he campaigned on or a fundamentalist Christian nutjob who wouldn't know the truth if it bit her in the ass. Fuck.
posted by tommasz at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


fleetmouse: “Yes, as the parent of a toddler I recognize this kind of behaviour well.”

I'm not a toddler, but I'd be damned proud of myself if Matt Taibbi hated me enough to write an article like this about me. And it's only because I know a bit more about Bachmann that I can't say that an enemy of Matt Taibbi's is a friend of mine.

This, of course, alludes to you: “Taibbi has some problems-- I can't completely refute these predictions of his breakdown-- and is maybe more entertaining than substantial, but one can't help but wonder if the ire directed at him is in part due to how gauche and shameful it's considered to display earnest and visible sentiment in some circles.”

No. The ire directed at Matt Taibbi is due entirely to the fact that he's utterly unable to discuss issues of importance without resorting to personal insults based on a person's physical appearance. It's execrable, and it should be beneath us. And it is entirely understandable that conservatives see it as a badge of honor to be insulted by someone who acts so boorish and childish.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just finished reading former Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield's book Between a Rock and a Hard Place (1976). He was an evangelical Christian and a Republican. I haven't checked his actual voting record, but in the book he comes across as the equivalent of a modern-day liberal.
posted by perhapses at 9:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Carter was an Evangelic Christian. He basically brought them into modern politics, and then they rejected him. Bachmann campaigned and voted for Carter.

They've come a long way since the 1970s.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:47 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do we un-crazy America? Or are there more of them than us?

There have always been more sane people in America than crazies. The difference is motivation.

A typical person will not be roused to political action unless one of two things is true:
1) He/she stands to benefit directly or be hurt directly (usually in the wallet) by the political action under consideration.
2) Things in the culture and society and economy are really, really, REALLY bad off beyond his/her capability to look past them.

Do you view things like gay marriage, abortion rights, valuing common welfare over individual profits, governmental safety nets for the poor and unfortunate, or Christian beliefs not being sufficient reason to justify legislation as evidence of #2?

Most don't. The crazies do. They are moved to act more often, and when enough of the other side doesn't show up to oppose them, sometimes they win.
posted by delfin at 9:48 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, Bachmann did (sort of) hide in the bushes, but I'm not sure about the "light bulbs killing our dogs and cats" bit. The best I could find are her comments on government mandates to switch to energy-efficient bulbs, which she tried to make a bill not once, but twice.

Do you know what I hope for? That Palin and Bachmann get together and live a happy life in a quaint town somewhere, and leave everyone else alone. They're perfect for each-other. Bachmann can read the paper to Palin, and they can laugh about the crazy things happening in the world, and be happy that they have each other.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Who doesn't hate light bulbs?
posted by Mister_A at 9:51 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There only thing Palin and Bachmann have in common is that they are both women, Republicans, and bad with the facts. Palin is an opportunist. Bachmann is a true believer. If Palin thought she could move ahead by declaring herself a Democrat, she'd do it tomorrow. Bachmann would literally shoot herself in the face rather than have that happen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:51 AM on June 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


Did anybody actually read the link that Citrus posted? It's better than the article this awful post is based on.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've always been a believer in check and balances, that the system wouldn't let things go too far.

The system only works as long as people enforce it. Ultimately, that system works if we all work together with the very basic social contract understanding "We all have to live together and these rules need to apply equally to everyone involved". There's a level of maturity that has to go with that idea, the idea that you have to live with people you don't like and you can't always have your way.

All of that really disappeared over the last 10 years when it came to the right wing. They got 9/11, pulled the Patriot Act, and now basically everything is up for grabs. And because a black man got elected, the crazy is out in full force- Obama is pretty middle ground on everything, but they don't see that - they see "those people" have taken power, and now they're going to go all out.

The lip service to the greatness of America and freedom only lasts until it's actually put into practice, then it's a fucking panic because the rest of us should have "known our place".

And Bachmann's lunacy is the result of this - they're so wrapped up in self-deception and defensive rationalizations ("We're not scared of the brown people, we just want to Take Our Country Back", "We're not hating women, we're saving lives by closing medical clinics!"), that this is the perfect kind of candidate- someone who can spew the dog whistles and rationales without having to think or address points.

Basically, she's a dog-whistle blasting through a bullhorn and the message is, "We want everything our way, how dare you think of yourself as human, get back you (women, brown people, scary queers)!"
posted by yeloson at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Can we leave the sexist, cheerleader, menopause, "only vote for her cuz she's hot" comments out of here, please? That doesn't help anyone's cause and it only seems to fuel the fire that these could be the only reasons why a woman would be elected.

I have friends who want to vote for her. I have friends who HAVE voted for her (she is my US Representative, after all). They see a strong, educated woman who is anti-tax and pro-religion. They see an outspoken, conservative role model who protects family values and is promising bigger paychecks to the taxpayers. These are people who also like to watch TMZ and hear all of the celebrity gossip and get all of the sensational dirt. And that is what Rep. Bachmann is good at doing. She can sensationalize the big topics. She talks big, looks big, and is out in the media constantly. It isn't hard to understand why people like her.

I see someone who is more eager to make big speeches than to fact check. I see someone who is more mis-educated than educated and someone who has a very narrow world view. I have not voted for her and I will not vote for her. But that's ok, because she doesn't want my vote. (I'm no Christian.) She doesn't need my vote - or my money. I also see someone who knows how to work her demographic, knows how to work the media, and knows how to ride the wave.

I couldn't finish the article, to be honest. The language was too fluffy and insulting. Not an intelligent argument, really, on the first page at least. Calling someone "batshit crazy" (which I admit I've done - even referring to Rep. Bachmann) does nothing for the debate against her. It really just makes us a bunch of name-callers and negates any valuable arguments he may make later in the article.
posted by jillithd at 9:54 AM on June 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


I thought a lot of this suffered from Tabbi sensationalism. He uses the fat that Jesse Ventura is sort of nuts to indicate that criticism coming from him is particularly bad rather than less meaningful, but then I got to this line which is a really excellent joke:

(on Bachman's inquest regarding a conspiracy where America adopts Chinese currency)Imagine Joe McCarthy dragging Cabinet members into hearings and demanding that they publicly disavow the works of Groucho Marx, and you get a rough idea of the general style of Bachmannian politics.
posted by I Foody at 9:57 AM on June 23, 2011


I'm fine with Mormons describing themselves as Christians, but I think that Mormon theology differs markedly enough from the commonalities of Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox Christianity that I consider it to be a separate belief system.

Doesn't the word "Christian" specifically mean Protestant in American identity politics, with Catholics being seen as a separate, though related, religion?
posted by acb at 9:57 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


A demonstrated willingness (to say the least) to accept Received Wisdom From On High rather than think for themselves.

This, exactly. And remember, kids, in this respect Government can also be a religion.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:58 AM on June 23, 2011


There's gotta be a better way to expose Bachmann et al. than a Taibbi article, and the current way of criticizing the nutty tea party types. A way that doesn't play into their persecution complex, a way that doesn't give them ammo to say "hey, you're taking low blows, that's why we take low blows," a way that doesn't just play into their stereotypes of liberals, and a way that isn't, I guess, so ad hominem. Because the current method just isn't working, not at all.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:00 AM on June 23, 2011


Doesn't the word "Christian" specifically mean Protestant in American identity politics, with Catholics being seen as a separate, though related, religion?

Probably in Evangelical circles, not so for other Protestants. There also seems to be no real acknowledgement that Orthodox Christianity even exists.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:01 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the word "Christian" specifically mean Protestant in American identity politics, with Catholics being seen as a separate, though related, religion?

No, most Republican evangelicals I know say that Catholics are Christian, but they just believe a lot of extra stuff. Which displays a total ignorance of church history, but that's a separate issue.
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 10:03 AM on June 23, 2011


fwiw...

"sane" is not a word that means "someone I agree with". nor is "insane" a word that means "I disagree with this person vehemently".
posted by edgeways at 10:05 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Matt Taibbi seems to have built an entire career our of leering at weirdos.

Man, what a hateful and obnoxious article. Ugh. Remind me never to read anything by this sick fuck Matt Taibbi ever again.

I'm not a toddler, but I'd be damned proud of myself if Matt Taibbi hated me enough to write an article like this about me. And it's only because I know a bit more about Bachmann that I can't say that an enemy of Matt Taibbi's is a friend of mine.

No. The ire directed at Matt Taibbi is due entirely to the fact that he's utterly unable to discuss issues of importance without resorting to personal insults based on a person's physical appearance. It's execrable, and it should be beneath us. And it is entirely understandable that conservatives see it as a badge of honor to be insulted by someone who acts so boorish and childish.

Did anybody actually read the link that Citrus posted? It's better than the article this awful post is based on.

Jesus man, we get it. You don't like Taibbi and you think the post sucks. FIAMO.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [32 favorites]


I can't imagine that 90% of evangelicals would vote for Bachmann (or Palin) for president, based on the simple, sad fact that many evangelical churches believe that women are incapable of being leaders and that it is biblically offensive for them to be in charge of men.
posted by lantius at 10:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is what happens when one political extreme spends decades building up radio, television, book, newspaper, magazine, blogger and think-tank media sources that all reinforce the same message (which is generally WE TELL YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT HOW "THEY" ARE SCREWING YOU, AND ALL OTHER MEDIA ARE LYING AND PART OF "THEM"), and the rest of the political spectrum doesn't build a comparable empire or actively and loudly and repeatedly call them out on their bullshit.

The American divide isn't Union / Confederacy or North / South or East / West, it's Right-Wing / Everybody Else. If you're looking for a middle ground, keep looking.
posted by delfin at 10:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


i grew up in the south in a (many flavors of) baptist town. acb describes what i ran into - there where christians, catholics, jehovah witnesses, mormons, and jews. catholics, mormons, and jehovah witnesses weren't christians.
posted by nadawi at 10:07 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know that the tone of this article is an issue. We're dealing with a group of people who will treat any criticism as persecution, and dismiss it. The whole thing could be written in classical Latin is sentences unbended by opinion and unsullied by a sense of humor and Bachmann and her supporters would still claim they are being fed to lions.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Pretty much that. The simple rule of thumb is "if Jack Chick hates them, they're not True Christians[tm]."
posted by delfin at 10:09 AM on June 23, 2011


I want her to be the next president. (Of course, I was also rooting for the apocalypse.) I just think that what this country really needs is one, final nail in the dumb, crazy coffin. Bush got us close enough to elect Obama. Now we need one final proof that voting for your rabid, dimbulb friends to lead the country is never, ever a good idea. I think Bachmann might just be the kind of proof that not even evangelicals will be able to refute once she drags us down to crazytown. GO MICHELE! BREAK US OF OUR ADDICTION TO REALITY SHOW POLITICS!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Probably in Evangelical circles, not so for other Protestants. There also seems to be no real acknowledgement that Orthodox Christianity even exists.

In the words of the Internet's funniest defunct LiveJournal of theological humor:
For many years, American scholars believed the Orthodox were, like leprechauns, unicorns, and Eskimos, purely the product of the fanciful imaginations of medieval writers. Recent evidence leads us to tentatively conclude, however, that Eastern Orthodoxy may have somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 million adherents. Protestants tend to see the Orthodox as "Catholics with beards," while Catholics confess to a haunting sense that they are simply "Orthodox without beards."
posted by Copronymus at 10:09 AM on June 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


It would...interesting if Bachman won the Republican nomination. The entertainment value would be immense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:10 AM on June 23, 2011


I am already sick of this Bachmann-Taibbi Overkill.
posted by Mister_A at 10:12 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think Romney's Mormon beliefs are going to cost him the nomination. The primaries are more about the hard core base than the general election is, and the hard core Republican base is predominantly fundamentalist Christian and they will not vote to put a Mormon into office.

Despite his poor showing in the first debate I'm still betting on Pawlenty. He's bland, but he doesn't have any major groups hating him. Romney loses due to the religious right, and the Tea Party will hate him due to all the stuff he did while governor of Massachusetts. Bachmann loses due to the money right. It isn't so much a matter of who supports who, but rather who pisses off who. And Pawlenty doesn't piss off anyone.

As for Bachmann, I fear not so much her success, but how much she will shift the Overton window while failing. I don't think she's got a chance of winning the primary, but just think how far to the right the winner will have to run just to stay in the game with Bachmann in?

That will then determine the new center. We only thought Obama was too right wing to please us from '08-'12. Once the center he so desperately chases moves to the right due to Bachmann's influence who can guess what will happen? I'm not guessing it'll be anything good.

KaizenSoze Actually plenty of people said he wasn't Christian back then. These days the Right has made a move to embrace Catholicism, I suspect mostly due to the anti-choice aspect, but even so I personally know at least three people in my own hometown who publicly and frequently say that Catholics are not Christians, and dozens more who agree but don't say it out loud.
posted by sotonohito at 10:12 AM on June 23, 2011


There's gotta be a better way to expose Bachmann et al. than a Taibbi article, and the current way of criticizing the nutty tea party types. A way that doesn't play into their persecution complex, a way that doesn't give them ammo to say "hey, you're taking low blows, that's why we take low blows," a way that doesn't just play into their stereotypes of liberals, and a way that isn't, I guess, so ad hominem. Because the current method just isn't working, not at all.

I'm with Astro Zombie on this one. Calmly pointing out inconsistencies in their position really hasn't gotten us very far. They're the ones who have mastered mockery as politics, and I think that's a pretty significant reason that they're the ones moving the overton window. Well, that and all the loose money.

We need to make MORE fun of them, not less.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


he doesn't have any major groups hating him

Except Minnesotans.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Off to go read. In the meantime, I suggest a quick read of Mencken's obituary for William Jennings Bryan (perhaps linked before on the blue?):

"What animated him from end to end of his grotesque career was simply ambition--the ambition of a common man to get his hand upon the collar of his superiors, or, failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born with a roaring voice, and it had the trick of inflaming half-wits against their betters, that he himself might shine. His last battle will be grossly misunderstood if it is thought of as a mere exercise in fanaticism--that is, if Bryan the Fundamentalist Pope is mistaken for one of the bucolic Fundamentalists. There was much more in it than that, as everyone knows who saw him on the field. What moved him, at bottom, was simply hatred of city men who had laughed at him so long, and brought him at last to so tatterdemalion an estate. He lusted for revenge upon them. He yearned to lead the anthropoid rabble against them, to set Homo neandertalensis upon them, to punish them for the execution they had done upon him by attacking the very vitals of their civilization."
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


So all the viable candidates are staying the hell away, and the Repubs don't really care who dumps this one, as they are getting ready for the next one.

I doubt the Republicans have forgotten the lesson of 1992 quite so quickly. Think of their politics what you will, but their electioneering staffs are still pretty good at what they do.
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2011


i also think that "christian" has, in the circles we're discussing, come to be shorthand for "born-again christian" which some see as a shorthand for evangelical christian, but i think it's a broader pool than many liberals give it credit for.
posted by nadawi at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2011


Astro Zombie: “I don't know that the tone of this article is an issue. We're dealing with a group of people who will treat any criticism as persecution, and dismiss it. The whole thing could be written in classical Latin is sentences unbended by opinion and unsullied by a sense of humor and Bachmann and her supporters would still claim they are being fed to lions.”

So it's not a big deal because they'd react the same either way? That seems ridiculous to me.

Besides, people don't seem to be understanding this from the conservative angle. Like I said, I'd be damned proud if Matt Taibbi chose to write an article like this about me. It just proves that your enemies are boorish, childish jerks.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 AM on June 23, 2011


Like I said, I'd be damned proud if Matt Taibbi chose to write an article like this about me. It just proves that your enemies are boorish, childish jerks.

Yeah, we heard you.
posted by hermitosis at 10:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists: “I'm with Astro Zombie on this one. Calmly pointing out inconsistencies in their position really hasn't gotten us very far. They're the ones who have mastered mockery as politics, and I think that's a pretty significant reason that they're the ones moving the overton window. Well, that and all the loose money. We need to make MORE fun of them, not less.”

Absolutely. Being different from far-right conservatives just hasn't worked. We should try to be the same.
posted by koeselitz at 10:15 AM on June 23, 2011


he doesn't have any major groups hating him

Except Minnesotans.
posted by Astro Zombie


The worst thing about T-Paw is that, after grotesquely fucking the state of Minnesota to prep for his run, he's not even doing a very good job of it. Like, if you're going to screw us, Timmy, at least accomplish something.
posted by COBRA! at 10:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Despite his poor showing in the first debate I'm still betting on Pawlenty. He's bland, but he doesn't have any major groups hating him.

Yeah I feel like the Republicans are basically in a John Kerry-in-2004-equivalent year.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:16 AM on June 23, 2011


Like I said, I'd be damned proud if Matt Taibbi chose to write an article like this about me.

So? It makes Republicans happy because it proves to themselves they're right. You know what else Republicans use to convince themselves they are right?

Pretty much everything in the world.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:17 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Taibbi said nothing I disagreed with. But I do wonder if his invective might get him sued for defamation.

That Awl analysis is excellent. Thanks for posting it, Citrus.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2011


True. They're just like liberals that way.
posted by koeselitz at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2011


BREAKING: koeselitz disagrees with you and dislikes this article, also too.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Astro Zombie: “So? It makes Republicans happy because it proves to themselves they're right. You know what else Republicans use to convince themselves they are right? Pretty much everything in the world.”

So you're saying that, just because Republicans will assume that anything will prove them right, we shouldn't worry when Matt Taibbi actually proves them right?
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2011


Why are we fighting?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


joe lisboa: “BREAKING: koeselitz disagrees with you and dislikes this article, also too.”

What else is there to talk about? We all dislike Michelle Bachmann. That isn't exactly a useful thing to discuss.
posted by koeselitz at 10:22 AM on June 23, 2011


They're just like liberals that way.

Which explains why liberals have been moving further and further to the right, and react to every criticism from the right like they just caught us doing something very naughty.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:22 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah come on — we ALL hate the Romans.
posted by Mister_A at 10:22 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


we shouldn't worry when Matt Taibbi actually proves them right?

Proves them right about what? That he's mocking Bachmann? He's mocking Bachmann. She deserves to be mocked. She's a joke. She's ridiculous. And just because it feeds their persecution complex doesn't mean we should not be free to make fun of something so patently ridiculous, especially as, whatever we do, they'll treat it like we're mocking them anyway.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


Just because sometimes (or even most of the time), people with unreasonable beliefs don't listen to reason does not make this an immutable law.

I don't think that was ever meant as an immutable rule so much as a rule of thumb. You can appeal to reason with anyone, if you can also effectively appeal to the heart at the same time.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2011


Absolutely. Being different from far-right conservatives just hasn't worked. We should try to be the same.

I'm sick of losing. I'm suggesting that we start becoming boorish left-wing assholes for a while and let's see if that works. Lets elect obstructionist pricks who'll filibuster every proposed bill until they get some real discussion about enacting a single payer system. Let's elect a few more Frankens, Weiners and Sanders. Being friendly and bi-partisan stopped working.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2011 [27 favorites]


i also think that "christian" has, in the circles we're discussing, come to be shorthand for "born-again christian" which some see as a shorthand for evangelical christian

One of the down-the-rabbit-hole features of US politics is the extent to which religion has become the exclusive constituency of the right wing in the past generation. While there are certainly religious reactionary groups in Canada, religion, in the Jimmy Carter vein, has often been a source for social justice. The United Church (merger of Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists) and the Anglican church in particular, have been strong advocates for left wing politics. The first gay marriage in Canada was done in an Anglican church using an ancient loophole in marriage law, for example.

It's odd how the religious voices on the left seem to be so absent from American politics now.
posted by bonehead at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm suggesting that we start becoming boorish left-wing assholes for a while and let's see if that works.

It works for me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:26 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Astro Zombie: “Proves them right about what?”

That liberals are boorish jerks.

thsmchnekllsfascists: “I'm sick of losing.”

The only winning move is...
posted by koeselitz at 10:26 AM on June 23, 2011


It's odd how the religious voices on the left seem to be so absent from American politics now.

Like Keith Ellison?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:26 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The only winning move is...

Checkmate.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


That liberals are boorish jerks.

Anyone who takes a story by Tabbi and extrapolates it to every other liberal everywhere is always going to be able to find a single liberal to confirm their suspicions.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:28 AM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


On the other hand: Anyone who takes a story by Glenn Beck and extrapolates it to every other conservative everywhere is always going to be able to find millions of conservatives to confirm their suspicions.

Scary shit.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:30 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


One is too many.
posted by koeselitz at 10:30 AM on June 23, 2011


Why are we fighting?

When do we ever do anything else?
posted by Aizkolari at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's not get all tingly at the notion of 'the left' finding religion just yet. Religious voices on the left are only a good thing if they're _actually voicing leftist concerns and issues_, and not just trying to appeal to the same old-time-religion voter bloc that's in the Republicans' pocket.

I'm not the only one who voted for Nader in 2000 largely because of Joe Lieberman.
posted by delfin at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


One is too many

So true. Let's make sure to pass every single author who can be interpreted as liberal before koeselitz beforehand to make sure he thinks it takes the proper tone, or, dear god, some conservative somewhere might decide all liberals are assholes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is there a name for the opposite of the Overton window, where a psychopathic politician will taint the side they're on so badly that they push the acceptable discussion in the other direction? Bachmann Overdrive?

For those who are getting a little nervous about the idea of Bachmann getting the nomination, chant the following until your mind is calm:

"She claimed that lesbians held her hostage in a bathroom.
She claimed that lesbians held her hostage in a bathroom.
She claimed that lesbians held her hostage in a bathroom."
posted by stavrogin at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think what koeselitz may be trying to say is, "You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [13 favorites]




I think people are more likely to be politically active if they feel frightened or threatened (rightly or wrongly) than if they're relatively content. A lot of conservative, fundamentalist Christians are scared of all the changes that are occurring in our society, from having a Black man as President to allowing gay people to marry. Their fear is motivating them into political action. The rest of us, on the other hand, are able to handle the upheaval and content to let things go as is. All it takes are enough frightened people in a few large states and, well, you know.
posted by tommasz at 10:34 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


AZ, koeselitz, maybe take it outside?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:37 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that the article sucks, especially after reading the Awl piece that points out that several of those key quotes were pulled unattributed from a previous story. Whether it's Tabbi's fault or his editor's, the article sucks.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2011


The religion of "the left" tends to be quieter because of t the nature of "the left"(whatever that is). There are lots and lots and lots of progressive folks who have religion. It is not (by and large) the screaming multi-thousand megachurch / hour-of-power institutions and so it is easy for most media to ignore it, unless it is a church that a candidate is from that has an outspoken ex-minister.
posted by edgeways at 10:39 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


On lack of preview, I don't think it's wrong anywhere, per se, just that I personally didn't like the writing, and that the cribbing of others' material sucks.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:39 AM on June 23, 2011


She's not getting stronger. She's just getting louder.

I was quoting Matt Taibbi from the article.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:40 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like Keith Ellison?

That's the first time I've ever encountered that particular name.

I'm not arguing that there aren't people of faith on the left side of US politics. I'm saying that the Dr. Kings and Jimmy Carters, that arguments rooted in faith are not prominent on the left any more. Obama's had problems with seeming credible on faith himself. That lack of connection, I think this apparent lack is one of the problems the Democrats have in connecting to what could be their voters.

It helps explain the popularity of the Buchannans. The religious look at the two options and don't see themselves on the left at all.
posted by bonehead at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2011


It's only a moderate district if the moderates are as likely to come out and vote in a given election as the wackadoos.
posted by delfin at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2011


BuchannansBachmanns (though that works too).
posted by bonehead at 10:45 AM on June 23, 2011


That's the first time I've ever encountered that particular name.

He's also from Minnesota, represents a much larger district than Bachmann, has an actual record of Congressional accomplishment, is a Muslim, and gets plenty of press. Don't mistake your own lack of knowledge of a lack of religious people on the left engaged in politics.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on June 23, 2011


[Comments removed. AZ, koeselitz, maybe take it outside? Please? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:47 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


me: “Well, I guess I've never been to Minnesota, but several people have taken issue with the implication that Minnesota in general and Stillwater specifically are rotten hives of Republican villainy with nary a liberal in sight.”

Astro Zombie: “He explicitly says she won in a district that is relatively moderate.”

Dark Messiah: “To be fair, he didn't read it, he just intuitively knows it sucks.”

Where exactly was that? When I said that, I was looking at this paragraph:

from article: “Moving back to Minnesota, she and Marcus settled in Stillwater, a town of 18,000 near St. Paul, where they raised their five children and took in 23 foster kids. Stillwater is a Midwestern version of a Currier & Ives set piece, complete with cozy homes, antique stores — and no black people. In short, the perfect launching pad for a political career built on Bachmann's retro-Stepford image. Stillwater's congressional district is the whitest district in Minnesota (95 percent) and one of the wealthiest in America (with a median income $16,000 above the national average).”
posted by koeselitz at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2011


SHE SAID TAKE IT OUTSIDE.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:49 AM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


That lack of connection, I think this apparent lack is one of the problems the Democrats have in connecting to what could be their voters.

I think part of this is that a decent section of the hard left is atheist and possibly even anti-theist, and are already uncomfortable with the thin amount of religion that Obama allows himself.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:49 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


[sorry, didn't preview. I'm done.]
posted by koeselitz at 10:51 AM on June 23, 2011


[Comments removed. AZ, koeselitz, maybe take it outside? Please? Thank you.]

You copied me!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:52 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, Koestelitz, Talibi made his career doing both excellent investigative journalism and remarkably amusing/purile (YMMV) pranks as a reporter for the Exile in Russia. That was ballsy stuff; whatever you think of his current stuff, he has the front to report in places where that might get him killed.

Also, no matter how immature this article is, it is nothing compared to pieing a NYT foreign correspondent with a cream pie partly made of horse semen to punish him for making up sources. The Exile was the gonzo paper made flesh.
posted by jaduncan at 10:53 AM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Except Minnesotans."

he said "major"
posted by Eideteker at 10:58 AM on June 23, 2011


Astro Zombie: I don't know that the tone of this article is an issue. We're dealing with a group of people who will treat any criticism as persecution, and dismiss it.

But does it help to start an article by asking the reader to not laugh at how ridiculous it will become? And then calling her "a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions" really makes it clear that this isn't criticism, this is a circus.

There are dull facts, and there are engaging tall tales, and there is a lot of ground between.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2011


Again, on behalf of all Minnesotans, I'm really sorry about Michelle Bachmann. We're really not all like that.

I lived in her district for a while but I lived in the weird little eastern arm that wraps around the eastern side of the Twin Cities metro area where her opponents supporters live. Most of her voters are in larger rural area around St. Cloud. Every time she ran for anything I kept discounting her thinking that there was no way anyone in this state would elect that crazy idiot (Tabbi's characterization of her is not an exaggeration) but she just kept on winning elections.

My in-laws live around St. Cloud and visit them often. It is really scary how many of the people up there support her and others like her.
posted by VTX at 11:01 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being nice and respectful and calm is the preferred way, no doubt. The problem is that doesn't stop the crazies, it just eggs them on. Michelle Bachmann is a steaming pile of hate for liberals and the gays. Respect is a two way street. She won't give it, and she deserves none in return.

Just a few of her choice comments:


"Gay marriage is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in the last, at least, thirty years. I am not understating that."

"And what a bizarre time we're in, when a judge will say to little children that you can't say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it."

"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."

"I don't know where they're going to get all this money because we're running out of rich people in this country."

"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?"

"This [taxation] is slavery, it's nothing more than slavery. The Constitution provides freedom."

About Melissa Etheridge's breast cancer:“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.”


Respect? Hah. The gloves came off a long time ago.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2011 [24 favorites]


But does it help to start an article by asking the reader to not laugh at how ridiculous it will become? And then calling her "a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions" really makes it clear that this isn't criticism, this is a circus.

In fairness, it reads like an Onion article if you didn't already know that Bachmann IS real and she DOES do all this stuff.

If you want a meaningful political dialogue, you have to be able to call a spade a spade when it comes to fruitcakes who have no business being taken seriously in that context. Some wannabe emperors and empresses DO run around naked. If you walk gingerly around Alan Keyes With Ovaries and her delusional worldview, all you are doing is granting her credibility that she should not have.

Sometimes a Santorum is just santorum. Expose it as such to the masses.
posted by delfin at 11:12 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw a porn film once where santorum was exposed to the masses. Can't recommend it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's play a fun game. Take the Taibbi pieces on Palin and Bachman, switch their names, and see if you can tell the difference.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:16 AM on June 23, 2011


fwiw...

"sane" is not a word that means "someone I agree with". nor is "insane" a word that means "I disagree with this person vehemently".


Conservatives insane like this ... liberals insane like this ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2011


"Being nice and respectful and calm is the preferred way, no doubt. The problem is that doesn't stop the crazies, it just eggs them on."

So does writing screeds against them. That's the problem with crazies of this particular brand; everything fuels them. What you really need is to kill them with kindness. Without the hate and fear, they run out of bluster. Win their trust, lure them out into the open with concrete positions (really have to nail them down), then calmly, sanely disassemble those. An adage comes to mind: "...enough rope to hang themselves with." You won't win the crazies; you'll never win the crazies. Instead of focusing on that tiny but vocal minority, you need to focus on the 50%+ of voters who never show up at the polls.
posted by Eideteker at 11:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Again, on behalf of all Minnesotans, I'm really sorry about Michelle Bachmann.

As a former resident Minnesotan, how about one for the halcyon years of Jesse Ventura.
posted by clavdivs at 11:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those who associate Bachmann with Stillwater, well, you obviously aren't familiar with the Taboo Goddess:

Taylor has advertised her services as a dominatrix on a website that remained published Wednesday. It promoted various domination services such as spanking, flogging, paddling, caning, restraint by chains and bondage with rope, handcuffs and ankle cuffs to help men achieve sexual pleasure.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2011


everything fuels them

ok, this is the point no?
Why do "we" need to fuel "them" any longer.
posted by clavdivs at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2011


Listen. No one is voting for Bachmann. Bachmann is a decoy. She's there to get the attention from you lot and to represent the lunatic fringe in the big tent. She is not a viable candidate. She draws fire away from the real candidates and makes them look ordinary and passable in comparison. If metafilter is as many believe populated by left-wing types, this thread is an example of you taking your eye off the ball.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:29 AM on June 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Thanks for the thumbs-ups, guys. For the record, if you're interested in keeping up with republican shenanigans, and especially in the Big-Ten(12?) states, keep an eye on Abe Sauer's stuff. The man can write, and he's always dead-on balls-accurate.

Abe Sauer's stuff on The Awl
Abe's other stuff
posted by Citrus at 11:32 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Listen. No one is voting for Bachmann. Bachmann is a decoy...

I thought that when she ran for the state legislature and then again when she ran for Congress. I've had that same thought any time she has run for any office but she keeps on getting elected.
posted by VTX at 11:33 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


A tea party candidate is going to make a serious run at the nomination. She is as likely as the rest of them to be that person. In that case, we would a major Mitt meltdown away from a win for her.

It's definitely on the unlikely side, but way to early to pronounce anything.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:38 AM on June 23, 2011


It's like Bachmann is a decoy, but then the ducks actually took the decoy home with them, and hang out with the decoy, and the decoy tells the ducks to do things, and the ducks do them, and now the gay ducks can't get married.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:38 AM on June 23, 2011 [41 favorites]


Also, too early.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:38 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting that nobody's yet mentioned the New York Times piece Tuesday about the "roots of Bachmann's ambition" that was basically as close to a puff piece about a politician of her ilk as the Gray lady gets. It was her role as a mother of 23 foster children and her incandescent rage at the Commie Public Schools that got her propelled into politics, not her oversized self-entitlement and her certitude that the voice of God inside her head is telling her to save America from the pushy aggressive lesbians that stalked her into a women's bathroom and tried to kidnap her in Scandia, MN.
posted by blucevalo at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Carter was an Evangelic Christian. He basically brought them into modern politics, and then they rejected him. Bachmann campaigned and voted for Carter.

They've come a long way since the 1970s.


Just today on my daily stroll through the Minneapolis skyway, I saw a fellow wearing a hat with the message "Gabriel said: Jimmy Carter is the Antichrist."
posted by nickmark at 11:43 AM on June 23, 2011


Listen. No one is voting for Bachmann. Bachmann is a decoy. She's there to get the attention from you lot and to represent the lunatic fringe in the big tent. She is not a viable candidate. She draws fire away from the real candidates and makes them look ordinary and passable in comparison.

She is not the most viable candidate, and is probably third or fourth in my own order of likelihood of winning the nomination. If she does win the nomination, she will be slaughtered in the general election unless Obama is caught buggering a dead Iraqi billy goat on the White House lawn.

But, strictly in Republican nomination terms, she is not to be underestimated strictly because the 'establishment' candidates all have visible weaknesses. Romney is loathed by the far right, flaps in the political breeze like a windsock and is Mormon. Pawlenty is a nonentity. Huntsman is an Obama appointee, has zero name recognition and is Mormon. Among the dingbat candidate set, Bachmann is the frontrunner and has the conservative media machine in love with her. She's getting measurable poll numbers and is pouring all kinds of effort into winning Iowa. She may be coming from an outside gate, but she's very much in the race.
posted by delfin at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


So if, as Bachmann is quoted as saying in the article, she is bound to be totally obedient to her husband even in the professional arena, shouldn't we really be talking to him?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love Matt Taibbi's writing. He's got to be the most entertaining journalist going these days.

The problem is Mr. Taibbi's writing is all about Mr. Taibbi's writing. It's clear that he thinks he's really funny and who he likes and dislikes, and that his fans agree. But that's it.


And a further problem is that your criticism about Matt Taibbi is all about your (unsupported) criticism. It's clear that you don't like the man's work, and that some people agree with you. But that's it.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:08 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man ... wish Hunter S. Thompson had been around to write this; would've been a lot funnier.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Further, look at who it is that mostly support people like Bachmann, Palin, etc. - these are people who most dearly swallowed the "American Dream" myth in one big gulp, *in addition to* being "true believer" types (see Eric Hoffer). If you disappoint someone like that, they are going to get very reactive, because their true believer propensities compel them to act as if they can "bring back what they had".

This kind of reactive behavior (it's very predictable, but not easily contained) will continue among this kind of believer until some critical mass of their group starts to adapt to different alternatives and potential scenarios. This will take some time to wash out - expect even more extreme versions of the "Palin/Bachmann" type as things continue on a less-than-acceptable course for these types.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:15 PM on June 23, 2011


wish Hunter S. Thompson had been around to write this; would've been a lot funnier.

No fooling. Taibbi is the awful, deformed love child of Thompson and Sean Hannity.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2011


"My Wife is Running!" by Torvald Helmer.
posted by clavdivs at 12:23 PM on June 23, 2011


It's been said before, but it's worth repeating: Bachmann is far more dangerous than Palin. Palin is stupid, an opportunist, and is not in it for anything beyond her own ego and ambition. Bachmann is a true believer, and she's smart enough to get three advanced degrees and run a sophisticated political machine.
posted by norm at 12:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Treating Bachmann as a decoy risks running afoul of the "Wykehamist fallacy" (I learned about this today). This is a characteristic ascribed to British foreign-service officers who would often act under the assumption that their opponents had relatively the same motivations as themselves (that is, as someone with a public school education). We have no guarantee that the Republicans will act in the way that we might if we were in their position, or that their assessment of the situation in any way reflects our own.

I think what we are seeing now is that the Republican party, or at least the Tea Party faction, is becoming the party of magical thinking. The New Republic article that Trurl posted up thread is a good example of this. Here is a party where words have been emptied of any conventional signification and simply made into objects of unequivocal, unanimous celebration or condemnation, depending on the circumstances of any given week. We are dealing with a group of people (the mobilized, ideological core that actually turns out for the various nomination events) who think that if they believe hard enough, if they are committed enough to their ideology, that they can win the election, that the economy will recover, that climate change will go away. It is magical thinking in a very American millenarian sort of way.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


He's also from Minnesota, represents a much larger district than Bachmann, has an actual record of Congressional accomplishment, is a Muslim, and gets plenty of press. Don't mistake your own lack of knowledge of a lack of religious people on the left engaged in politics.

AZ, you would do well to keep in mind that none of what you relate amounts to coverage outside the U.S. You're also being unnecessarily rude.

Like it or not, it's been a very long time since the words "American", "politics" and "religion" have together meant anything to the world at large other than evangelical right-wing politicians and their often bizarre agendas.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sort of met Michelle Bachmann. She holds the distinction of being the only person I have run into as an adult who literally elbowed her way in front of me in a line (yeah, I know, I lead a sheltered life). My sister and I were outside the San Francisco airport signing in with the shuttle bus guy. He was joking around with us while checking our names off his list, when I saw a diminutive, dark haired, woman steaming down the sidewalk. Suddenly, she was abreast of me, planting her elbow squarely in my chest, declaring, "I am Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, and I need to get on that bus." The bus guy said, "I'll be right with you sweetie, as soon as I'm done with these ladies."

On the bus (a fully occupied 8 seater) Ms. Bachmann was seated in front of my sister and I. All around us all were a family of Australians who'd been following their daughter on an international dance tour. They were friendly and chatty, telling about where they'd been and where they were going, asking us where we were from and where we were going, etc. Ms. Bachmann sat plum in the middle of the van talking loudly on her cell phone, trying to arrange fund raisers for herself while she was in the city. (At one point she was heatedly correcting her conversation partner on Norm Coleman's ability to win the recount against Al Franken.)

I'd seen Bachmann's infamous appearance on the Chris Matthews show some months before where she was advocating an investigation into congress member's loyalty to America. So, I was deeply curious about her. I'd have loved to introduce myself and talk to her . . . but, honestly there was no opening. She was very focused on her phone calls. All I can tell you, after riding behind her from the airport to the Moscone Center, is that she has gorgeous hair - not a split end in sight. And, what I took away from this was the fleeting impression of a tiny, pretty, prickly, pushy woman, with laser focus.
posted by Euphorbia at 12:45 PM on June 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


You're also being unnecessarily rude.

I beg your pardon, but pointing out that somebody is lacking knowledge isn't rude. If somebody cares enough to opine on the religious left in America, whether or not they are from here, it is entirely fair to ask them to familiarize themselves with the topic beyond a headline linked in an FPP.

As to Ellison getting covered in the international press, well, yes, he gets covered all the time. It's no small potatoes to be the first Muslim elected to congress.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:46 PM on June 23, 2011


she's smart enough to get three advanced degrees

Surely the source of those degrees is one of the most important parts of the article. I agree with the scary true believer part, though. Possibly all that is lacking in the Bachmann package is that she could be a better dog whistler. For now, you still can't win with just the fringe.
posted by Trochanter at 12:48 PM on June 23, 2011


> If she does win the nomination, she will be slaughtered in the general election unless
> Obama is caught buggering a dead Iraqi billy goat on the White House lawn.

Or if unemployment is still 9-10%
posted by jfuller at 12:51 PM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


So if, as Bachmann is quoted as saying in the article, she is bound to be totally obedient to her husband even in the professional arena, shouldn't we really be talking to him?

People tried that line of reasoning against Phyllis Schlafly ("You're saying the ladies should stay home and be obedient to their husbands - so please do so...") 30 years ago and it didn't go anywhere then, either.
posted by aught at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2011


"I don't know where they're going to get all this money because we're running out of rich people in this country."

Well, she has this one correct, in a way: the bulk of the country's wealth is being concentrated into the accounts of fewer and fewer people as the years go by.
posted by aught at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Her eyes terrify me. That's all I have to add.
posted by angrycat at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bachmann would be the first to tell you she's doing the work of God, the Ultimate Husband.
posted by emjaybee at 1:00 PM on June 23, 2011


Hmmm. Looks like she got her masters at William and Mary. That's where I have trouble with Taibbi. I love the tone, but I worry that he plays fast and loose sometimes.
posted by Trochanter at 1:02 PM on June 23, 2011


As to Ellison getting covered in the international press, well, yes, he gets covered all the time.

Honestly, I find far more stores about Keith Ellison, the linebacker for Buffalo, than about Keith Ellison the congressman in our media. The first hit for me is about a judge of the same name. The congressman isn't even on the first page of results.

Anyway, sorry for the derail.
posted by bonehead at 1:05 PM on June 23, 2011


I'd have loved to introduce myself and talk to her . . .

It's for the best. She would have started screaming you were a lesbian trying to abduct her, no doubt.
posted by aught at 1:06 PM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


They are telling you their impression based on their knowledge (which presumably extends beyond "a headline linked in an FPP", your implication there also being rude BTW) and your response is hey, here's this one guy, and when their response to that one example is a very reasonable 'I haven't heard of him' (I hadn't either), you then suggest they have a "lack of knowledge" as though this negates the opinion they've arrived at on their own.

bonehead: I'm not arguing that there aren't people of faith on the left side of US politics. I'm saying that the Dr. Kings and Jimmy Carters, that arguments rooted in faith are not prominent on the left any more.

QFT. I'm glad a Muslim politician was finally elected to U.S. Congress but this fact doesn't change what bonehead is saying.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:07 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Her eyes terrify me. That's all I have to add.

She has creepy dead shark eyes that I believe accurately reflect her thirst for human blood.
posted by elizardbits at 1:08 PM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Lesbians never try to abduct me :(
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:25 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did she say lesbians abducted her? She meant aliens.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those lining up to criticize Taibbi for his tone should take a beat to consider his role as the first, foremost, and at times only non-fringe journo doing serious well-sourced(?) pieces about the ongoing naked fraud at the big banks, particularly Goldman. The Bachmann piece is low-hanging fruit, but he's done a lot of heavy lifting these last couple of years. (His book Griftopia is a fine recent collection of that work.)

Bitch if you want about incivility, koeselitz et al., but it doesn't make him a bad journalist. Quite the contrary: pretending to objectivity where world-economy-crippling fraud and democracy-threatening politics are concerned would make him not just a bad journalist but a fucking contemptible human being. His Goldman pieces have been pilloried for their tone - but no one's going after them on the merits, near as I can tell.

Kudos to him.
posted by waxbanks at 1:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


I don't remember if this part was mentioned in the Taibbi article (it definitely was in the much better Daily Beast article), but the "lesbian abduction" story involves a former nun and long-term partner of famed Arctic explorer Ann Bancroft.
posted by norm at 1:33 PM on June 23, 2011


I loved this line:

"When you laugh at Michele Bachmann for going on MSNBC and blurting out that the moon is made of red communist cheese, these people don't learn that she is wrong. What they learn is that you're a dick, that they hate you more than ever, and that they're even more determined now to support anyone who promises not to laugh at their own visions and fantasies."
posted by gamera at 1:34 PM on June 23, 2011


I once had a lesbian corner me in a restroom and suggest I go home with her and "help raise her kids" but these things happen in the restrooms of New Jersey goth clubs. No biggie. *shrug*
posted by JoanArkham at 1:56 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


-Let me get the prediction in now: sooner or later, Taibbi is going to totally go Chris Hitchens.

-You never go full Hitchens!


Which is actually quite offensive to people familiar with The Full Hitchens as a sexual position.
There is an old Republican saying that “a government strong enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have.” This statement contains an essential truth that liberals have no right to overlook. But it is negated, not amplified, if it comes festooned with racism and superstition. In the recent past, government-sponsored policies of social engineering have led to surprising success in reducing the welfare rolls and the crime figures. This came partly from the adoption by many Democrats of policies that had once been called Republican. But not a word about that from Beck and his followers, because it isn’t exciting and doesn’t present any opportunity for rabble-rousing. Far sexier to say that health care—actually another product of bipartisanship—is a step toward Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ten percent unemployment, on the other hand, is rather a disgrace to a midterm Democratic administration. But does anybody believe that unemployment would have gone down if the hated bailout had not occurred and GM had been permitted to go bankrupt? Why not avoid the question altogether and mutter about a secret plan to proclaim a socialist (or Nazi, or Jew-controlled: take your pick) dictatorship?
-Hitchens takes on this topic.
posted by infinite intimation at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


" I'm suggesting that we start becoming boorish left-wing assholes for a while and let's see if that works."

Yes, thats the strategy that worked in 2008 after all. Oh wait....

The one election where Democrats / etc won overwhelmingly was one _not_ based on those kind of politics. I've seen no evidence that it works for left/center politicians. More of their potential voters are turned off by it than right-wing voters are, which is why it works asymmetrically.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think Bachmann is a real threat to win the GOP presidential nomination, but she is very useful as a VP candidate. She'll serve two purposes - The first will be to bring home the winger flock when the presidential nominee turns out to be halfways sane/moderate. The second will be to serve as an insurance policy for whoever does get the nomination, a bit like Cheney did for Bush. No one will dare attempt to remove Rick Perry from office under threat of Bachmann ascending to the presidency. He'll be utterly safe from any serious intrigue.

So, yeah, Perry/Bachmann -- there's your ticket, and if Obama doesn't cause some sort of economic miracle, it's going to be a close race.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:23 PM on June 23, 2011


Yes, thats the strategy that worked in 2008 after all. Oh wait....

And being friendly kept working in 2009, right? What about 2010?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:25 PM on June 23, 2011


Bachmann's obsession with gay culture led her to bizarre behavioral extremes. In April 2005, after the State Senate refused to even vote on her constitutional amendment, she hid in the bushes outside the State Capitol during a gay-rights rally. A photo shows Bachmann, only the top of her Stepford head visible, crouched alone in an extreme catcher's squat behind the Capitol shrubbery. She later insisted she wasn't hiding at all, but resting because her heels hurt.

She is guano insane.
posted by futz at 2:26 PM on June 23, 2011


She'll serve two purposes - The first will be to bring home the winger flock when the presidential nominee turns out to be halfways sane/moderate.

Wait, your sane/moderate candiate is Rick Perry??
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I don't know where they're going to get all this money because we're running out of rich people in this country."

Sorry. You know how you get a craving and just eat the same thing every day?
posted by Splunge at 2:28 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


For all the reasons many mefites are so down on Pres. Obama (and I'm with you on some of these things, being a coastal elite and all, I could spit I'm so angry there's been no torture prosecutions, first and foremost), the President is playing the long game as he always has, and playing it to win.

Upthread somewhere eidetaker said the only strategy alternative to being boorish jerks just like the far right is to kill them with kindness until they run out of bluster or blow themselves up.

David Axelrod's strategy is very clear to me: let the republicans storm and scream and shriek and come apart at the seams. They will destroy themselves by pitting absolutists against absolutists. They will reduce to the lowest common denominator.

The big bet is that there aren't enough of those people -- the teabagger nation -- to beat a well-oiled incumbent machine (one that definitely has some problems with its own former coalition breaking up).

It's a bet, to be sure. If the economy is bad enough or the liberal/centrist/pragmatic business coalition fractures enough, the most aggressive republican demagogue will stand a chance. But it's an interesting long game, and as with everything Axelrod and Plouffe have done in the past, it depends on an exquisite sense of timing and execution which could be disrupted by many variables that can't be controlled.

But you gotta know they knew where Osama Bin Laden was for a while before they took him out. They timed that. You gotta know the option of releasing the birth certificate was ready to roll at any point, and they timed that.

Love him or hate him or be disappointed in him, what gives me hope is that our guy is smarter than any of theirs. They may well just bluster themselves into oblivion, scare the crap out of centrists and independents, or dissolve in internecine warfare because they don't have any sense of compromise. Even if they don't, I think the backstop is that the crazier the R candidate is, the bigger a cushion the President has against continued bad economic news.

A whole lot now rides on the debt ceiling crisis approaching fast. If these guys go to the mat and bring the US into default, you might as well throw the whole deck of cards in the air. But my money is on President Obama surviving that and the Rs going down hard, much like Gingrich did.

Meep meep, as Sullivan sometimes puts it.

I think part of the problem is hero worship, the expectation that any president can move mountains in this country. Frustrating as it is, politics is a game of inches in the current era, and every inch you can win is worth it because it's also a zero sum game. The right intends to destroy the left if it can amass enough power to do so.

We need to have the same goal, since they assume we do anyway, but a different strategy. I'm still willing to give President Obama the benefit of the political doubt here. (This is quite apart from my principled criticisms of his policy efforts.) Given that you can't control your opponents' rage, you need to use it against him, or in this case maybe her.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


Bring it, bitch. Obama will destroy you outright. They can't MAKE enough popcorn for me this election season.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 2:31 PM on June 23, 2011


Or what Lipstick Thespian said!
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:34 PM on June 23, 2011


Wait, your sane/moderate candiate is Rick Perry??

Look at the field. He can be made to appear so by comparison, at least by right-wing standards.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:38 PM on June 23, 2011


Snickering readers in New York or Los Angeles might be tempted by all of this to conclude that Bachmann is uniquely crazy.

Hmm. Those of us in "flyover country" aren't capable of snickering about this sham? My snickering has evolved into vomiting. Take that Taibbi, you elitist fuck.
posted by futz at 2:44 PM on June 23, 2011


My reading of that line was that people in flyover country are more aware of the very run-of-the-mill nature of Bachmann's craziness.

That said, though, if you came away from this article thinking 'Taibbi, you elitist fuck,' well, I don't guess you're the only one.
posted by box at 2:51 PM on June 23, 2011


You know, she is not insane. Palin is not insane, GWB is not insane, Beck is not insane, neither of the Pauls are (bat-shit or not) insane.

It is easy and comforting to label them insane as we feel, strongly, that the policies these folks espouse, that the rhetoric they use are wrong, and are dangerous, and idiotic. But these people are not insane. Sane people started the multiple wars we are in, sane people polluted the gulf, drove numerous species to extinction, have denied global warming, enforced slavery, are bigots, beat their wives and kids, the majority of birthers, deathers, 9/11 conspirators are... sane. Sane people have caused more harm then all the people at home with paranoia, depression, BPD, schizophrenia, OCD or any other socially awkward illness you care to name. They have even caused more hard then the abnormalities of such as Dalmer and Gein.

You have more cause to be afraid and mistrustful of the batshit sane people. Just as you have more cause to be worked about being raped or beaten by members of your family or friends then strangers.

Bachmann is a true believer, her passion is real. She plays fast and loose with facts and sometimes looks like she is caught in the headlights. None of these things qualifies her as insane. We are quick to rail against "retarded" being used as pejorative, no one has said "Bachmann is retarded" (she is not), but we are nice and comfortable with loony, insane, wacky, crazy, the crazies, wacko, imbalanced, not right in the head... and you know, those are lazy words. However much we dislike her (and as a Minnesotan I do dislike her vehemently) she is sane. Get use to it. She is one of us, she is not an other except in the political sense which should be enough.

Please... I've head every justification for how, "well I don't mean it literally... there is insane and insane" and so on. Please, I know I have done it in the past. Please, can we retire it as much as possible.

Sorry for the rant, it is something that has been building.
posted by edgeways at 2:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


To my mind, that urge to "copy" the worst ORhetorical backassness and ugly absolutism is one of the more bizarre (but popular) misunderstandings/explanations of "Republican" ideology/popularity... it isn't that they have "more balls" (hate hate hate that construction as it, even when done ironically as Taibbi's terminator [titanium or Coltan?], or are "more boorish"... it is that they speak in the language of those they seek to bring into the tent.
Yes, 'we' think they are just assholes... but our 'asshole' is their truth-spewer!

It isn't that Republicans are turned on by assholes... it is that the assholes are saying what they like, what they want to hear, the message comes out of the medium right? So yeah, 'they' are being assholes, but that isn't why 'they' win (when/if they do win). It is the messages (or interpretations of the messages [dog whistles]) coming from the assholes that turn on Red Team voters.

Who do you think will be "turned on" by being bigger assholes towards "Asshole Rightists"? Not Republicans... not moderates... not undecideds... You cannot win political consensus majority by solely attempting to appeal primarily to those unwilling to compromise, you must get everyone else to compromise, and then work backwards to bring in the least radical of the radicals. And you cannot enact vitally needed progressive political change without said political capital, and consensus majority!

Liberals are not, in the round, enticed by people wagging their 'penis' at them or showering them with rhetorical butt elephant gifs and shit-storms of intemperance. Pushing out the dwindling moderates from the Blue Team seems pretty illogical as a "goal", or a mission.

Rationality, calmness in the face of Tempestuous Teacups, the logical analysis of complex situations, the adherence to nuanced discourse despite the appeals to rhetorical calumny advocated by the radical Right rabble. These are what appeal to middle-roaders. Shouting sexist crap about how "insane" the rube's are... is appealing to a selective audience, not wide-reaching, this is not a wide stance so to speak, it will limit (more than already) the appeal.

I mean, say "Democrats" go full on Taibbi, how/who does this help? Then you have a party that not only doesn't get anything done, but also is as repugnant as the worst factions of the Red party. Or does being an ass suddenly let politicians get something done (for all that we on "the Left" like to hold Bush up as some sort of "decider who 'accomplished his goals'... this is so untrue... he got almost none of his ideas as lasting policies in place... the few things that have lasted, like the patriot act were far from uniquely "his", and only passed due to extenuating circumstances, not his "power".
(I am not talking about what Journalists or pundits do... they should write what makes them happy, or soothes their consciences or they which they think is true... politicians, and political actors advocating a progressive, sweeping and inclusive set of policies, however, gain zero.zero by aping the worst of the worst coming from 'the other side').

"They call gays inhuman"... So that justifies me calling them as inhuman, Eight Right!
-If this doesn't stop it will one day (not unimaginably far away) be as intractable, and unapproachable as I/P issues.
posted by infinite intimation at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found the midterm drubbing to be a particularly exquisite example of long game domination by our chessmaster Democratic leaders.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:56 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the republicans end up owning both a credit default and the threat to end Medicare, it will have been exquisite.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:06 PM on June 23, 2011


infinite intimation, that was eloquent, but completely misses the importance of feeding your base. You don't have to feed us (liberals) hatred--but you should, if you want us to do more than maybe vote at the polls, give us something to vote for. Instead of just always counting on our fear of Bachman et al.

All the consensus-building political gaming is nothing new; and other Democratic presidents have managed to work the system and still get shit done that actually made a difference, and that made it clear they didn't think their most passionate supporters were chumps who had no one else to vote for, so fuck 'em if they didn't like it.

Which is pretty much the typical stance of the Obama administration. Especially to us Uterus Americans out here watching the anti-choice tsunami working its way to the Supreme Court. But hey, who cares about us? We're just 51% of the population.
posted by emjaybee at 3:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Please... I've head every justification for how, "well I don't mean it literally... there is insane and insane" and so on. Please, I know I have done it in the past. Please, can we retire it as much as possible.

We would have also accepted "delusional".
posted by Splunge at 3:19 PM on June 23, 2011


Did she say lesbians abducted her? She meant aliens.

Gay Martians landing on poor farmland just outside Des Moines, Iowa, specifically.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:46 PM on June 23, 2011


Man ... wish Hunter S. Thompson had been around to write this; would've been a lot funnier.

Or Molly Ivins.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


I will try to quit using "insane" when referring to "delusional" (excellent choice, Splunge) people on the Far Right. But only because it's not fair to actually insane people.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:47 PM on June 23, 2011


She's kinda hot.

But I'd never vote for her.
posted by elder18 at 3:50 PM on June 23, 2011


And yeah, there's always been something about Matt Taibbi that's rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by elder18 at 3:51 PM on June 23, 2011


Bush v. Gore was interesting to watch because Bush was just so damn Christian and handwavy (to me, an elitist European). I mean, how could a country want to elect someone who was demonstrably unbrilliant to lead them?

And then the political climate started shifting, radicalizing. Palin, Beck, the Tea Party, the magical Constitution (and other buzzwords devoid of their intended meaning). Yelling.

When Obama won, there were hushed sighs of relief. Maybe now, finally, things will tone down. God knows you needed adept leadership. Everything is fucked on your side of the pond these days.

Now there's Bachmann. Even more magical. No regard for the truth. Little respect for people different from her, and even less understanding. And apparently she might be elected by the GOP, and perhaps then go on to lead the "Free World". With the callous opportunism of Palin, at least there was a glimmer of hope she would back off the crazy and just let the invisible hand keep raping the market; Bachmann could set your country back so far you might never recover your position.

And with the center of gravity shifting, the world will be an interesting place. The economic repercussions are being felt right now, with the EU straining under the weight of non-performing members. China is warily counting its dollars and looking on, blank-faced but worried.

Your current political climate is stranger than fiction. How did it get that out of hand?
posted by flippant at 3:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Man, if they keep playing that amazing twelve dimensional chess game so brilliantly it's hard to see what else they'll be able to lose. Maybe they'll give away the right of women to vote in exchange for a kind word from Roger Ailes, or eliminate citizenship for people from New York in exchange for the privilege of being spat on by the Koch brothers.
posted by winna at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Please be right fourcheesemac, for all our sakes. I've never dreaded election season more.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:07 PM on June 23, 2011


The very smart Nate Silver of 538 ranks the top teir republican candidates (nyt), giving Bachmann a 12% chance of getting the nomination at the moment. Along with some very even handed analysis.
posted by hellojed at 4:08 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


While it's far from even-handed, Tabbibi's take down of the Tea Party seems a little more likely to sway the undecided.

(Maybe I'm just saying that because the business about the motorized wheel chairs has stuck with me.)
posted by jeffen at 4:18 PM on June 23, 2011


Michelle Bachmann is running for the office of President of the United States, and in fact has a sporting chance of getting it. An office that includes the launch codes for several thousand nuclear warheads. Chew on that for a while.
posted by Skeptic at 4:22 PM on June 23, 2011


ok that's really weird -- The Daily Beast reports today that Rick Perry is def. running, will announce later this summer. The same day that Nate S. writes that if Perry had announced today he'd give Perry even chances with Palenty to take the nom.

Also, every time somebody tells me to turn in my manual chair for a motorized wheelchair, I give them a look of scorn that is in part based on the whole "motorized wheelchair teaparty loon" thing. Also because I had Michelle Obama arms before she did.
posted by angrycat at 4:41 PM on June 23, 2011


I don't care if the 10 Commandments are posted in my local courthouse and I don't care if someone says a prayer during my commencement/graduation ceremony. That's cute. But please keep your religious beliefs out of POLICY! Would Jesus vote for her or anyone else from the GOP?

If you HAVE to be a super Christian, Bachmann, heal the sick and feed the poor.

/rhetoric outrage filter
posted by snsranch at 4:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What Would Socialist Jesus Do?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What would a somewhat intelligent, non-racist, with a slight liberal bias Jesus do?
posted by snsranch at 5:01 PM on June 23, 2011


When Obama won, there were hushed sighs of relief. Maybe now, finally, things will tone down. God knows you needed adept leadership.

Would someone please tell me how that worked out for us?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What would a somewhat intelligent, non-racist, with a slight liberal bias Jesus do?

Coke.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:24 PM on June 23, 2011


Doubt it. Valium, I reckon. Lots of Valium.
posted by flabdablet at 5:34 PM on June 23, 2011


"As you know, you go to church with the Jesus you have. He's not the Jesus you might want or wish to have at a later time."
posted by box at 5:35 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kid Jesus. I'm a kidder. Anyone whose blood is made out of wine can take a joke. Just get out of his way when He's had a few. You've heard how he fed an entire village with seven loaves and two small fish? That was nothing!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:43 PM on June 23, 2011


It is easy and comforting to label them insane as we feel, strongly, that the policies these folks espouse, that the rhetoric they use are wrong, and are dangerous, and idiotic. But these people are not insane.

Well, "evil" is pretty judgmental and "hath the brain worms" might require a second opinion.
posted by delfin at 5:55 PM on June 23, 2011


It is easy and comforting to label them insane as we feel, strongly, that the policies these folks espouse, that the rhetoric they use are wrong, and are dangerous, and idiotic. But these people are not insane.

Definition of INSANE
1: mentally disordered : exhibiting insanity
2: used by, typical of, or intended for insane persons
3: absurd
4: extreme
— in·sane·ly adverb
— in·sane·ness noun

By reference to definitions 3 and 4, they are insane. /pedant

However, I appreciate that your point was that such people are not [definition 1] insane. And I agree - one can be highly irrational, illogical, bigoted, and stupid without being mentally disordered.

It's just hard to accept that, because it's slightly more palatable to think that someone can't help being so repugnant because they are crazy, rather than to think that they can, but don't want to.

posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:10 PM on June 23, 2011


I'd love to talk to one of her foster children just to see how that turned out.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:19 PM on June 23, 2011


Are we REALLY sure they aren't definition 1 of insane? Because I'm pretty sure paranoia and schizophrenic ideation are hallmarks of definition #1.
posted by dave78981 at 6:24 PM on June 23, 2011


You don't know anyone who suffers from schizophrenia, do you.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:02 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why is it that when we discuss these sorts of matters we never, ever talk about unfavorables? Right-wing evangelicals are numerous, yes, but they are still in a distinct minority, and there are far more Americans out there who would never, ever vote for Bachmann under any circumstances. For instance, basically all liberals, but also sexist Republicans, halfway smart or decent Republicans, and "moderates" who simply won't be able to trust her.

Granted, yes, there is a small chance that she could win the nomination. I imagine it would have to happen in the way Taibbi describes. What then? Looking honestly at Americans, what possible confluence of events could lead her to victory? She's not Bush - remember that his act was a Trojan horse for most people, and we didn't yet know what born-again politics looked like. With her, it's going to be clear from the start, and she will continually be compared to Palin whether the comparison is apt or not, leading more and more to Bachmann being a joke on the national stage.

Taibbi is right about her appeal to her base, with the True Believer absolutism and martyr complex, but that doesn't play outside of her base. At all. Undecided voters don't check the box next to the name of someone who is whining that people are being too hard on her. It inspires the opposite of confidence in her abilities.

And frankly, if you are a Republican with any real political ambitions, you would really, really not want her in the white house. The current GOP is fractured, yes, but it is still built on a system which is more opposed to internal dissent than any we've seen in a long long time. She is a toxic combination of unpredictable, unleadable and unshakable. She would put congressional Republicans in myriad impossible positions.

Anyway, Obama's unfavorables are in the forties. His favorables are in the mid-fifties. He has the opportunity (and mind you that I don't expect to see him do this, but it'd be great) to ignore the Republican candidates entirely and basically campaign by governing. Love, Hate or Disappointment, he's a giant under assault by ants. The GOP will end up nominating Romney or Perry, who will then likely pick Pawlenty or Johnson (or possible Caine) as their VP Candidate, and will be crushed. Bachmann will not be a factor. She will not bring them anything they don't have, and would have the effect of freezing out any undecideds that may have broken their way. Much like, you know, Palin did to McCain.

This election season will be full of fun quips and gaffes, many of them from Bachmann, to be sure, but in terms of excitement it's going to be sort of like watching The Doctor go up against Sontarans - you've already seen him defeat the Daleks. It's hard to make us feel like the world hangs in the balance against these guys.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:07 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Uh oh - I may have pissed Jesus off. My favorites count has been dropping ever since I told that joke.

-----

For the record, I hereby refute my earlier comments about Jesus doing coke. It never happened.

-----

Also, I hereby refute my earlier earlier jokes about Michele Bachmann putting the last nail in the "crazy coffin" and dragging us down to "crazytown." edgeways was absolutely right. Comparing Michele Bachmann to the mentally ill is disrespectful to the mentally ill.

-----

But if Jesus had done coke, Michele Bachmann would totally have been his dealer.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:14 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


@koeselitz et al., I've said it before and I'll say it again: never bring logic to a rhetoric fight.

And, see, that's the main problem with, ultimately, Dominionist apologists: they can't survive a fight based on reason, so they resort to all kinds of rhetorical ninjitsu then go apeshit when the other side has one or two people just as good at this as their carefully groomed, Koch paid for candidates and pundits. They rely on the fourth wall but are all too willing to smash it when it exposes their artifice.

Also Hunter S.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:25 PM on June 23, 2011


edgeways: I appreciate your point. I have worked extensively with schizophrenic clients, and no, Bachmann is nothing like that. But there are different varieties of mental imbalance and exhibits tendencies that I've seen elsewhere, including in friends, which have concerned me about the mental health of those friends. Type-A personality doesn't preclude mental instability.

The reasons that a Michele Bachmann presidency would scare the shit out of me aren't purely political. They are also because I don't think the person hiding behind the bushes spying on the gay rights rally, or screaming in the bathroom because the nun is trying to ask her questions, is capable of running the U.S. Military. If her politics were perfectly in line with my own I still wouldn't think so.

Additionally, for whatever it's worth, I would never call schizophrenics "crazy," because it would just be rude and cruelly dismissive. It doesn't bother me with Bachmann, though. I WANT her to be cruelly dismissed.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:32 PM on June 23, 2011


Hi, It's Raining Florence Henderson, this is Jesus and I'm not offended at all. In fact coke is alright...I would like to ask you though to smite that bitch Bachmann with a rock or something if you ever have the chance. I'm not commanding that of you though, that's something my Dad would do. (Mean old fucker that he is.)
posted by snsranch at 7:47 PM on June 23, 2011


This Onion headline seems more and more prescient than I'm comfortable with. (If you swap out the names, that is.)
posted by wowbobwow at 8:01 PM on June 23, 2011


Tl:dr whole thread.
I know someone who works for her, and I have no idea how this girl wakes up everyday going to work for such a crazy bitch, aka Michelle "batshit" Bachmann.
Then again, her family is well connected.
posted by handbanana at 8:38 PM on June 23, 2011


Michelle "batshit" Bachmann.

It's Michele, with one "L."

Furthermore, I have a Mage character named Aloysius "Batshit" Bellamy, and don't want his good name besmirched by that nickname being applied to Bachmann, thank you.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:56 PM on June 23, 2011


A couple of cocktails, combined with droid 2's keyboard equals spelling/grammar mistakes.


And I am sorry I offended your character, I wouldn't want to soil such a good name.
posted by handbanana at 9:05 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I am sorry I offended your character

I knew you were guano apologise.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:09 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


handbanana just became my favorite mefite for the moment. Who else wants to fight for the honor?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:36 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't know anyone who suffers from schizophrenia, do you.

You're right, I don't know anyone who is schizophrenic. But I do know how to read. Here's a list of symptoms of schizophrenia I can kinda see Bachmann fitting into:

As the illness continues, problems with thinking, emotions and behavior develop, including:

Lack of emotion (flat affect)
Strongly held beliefs that are not based in reality (delusions)
Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
Problems paying attention
Thoughts "jump" between unrelated topics ( “loose associations”)
Bizarre behaviors
Social isolation

Paranoid schizophrenia symptoms may include:

Anxiety
Angry or argumentative
False beliefs that others are trying to harm you or your loved ones.


I guess I was being snarky there, but I don't really care. Describing Bachmann, et al. as "crazy" or "insane" is about describing in shorthand just how far out there their beliefs are. See, it fits because some of her beliefs are clearly delusional, she often talks about how god talks directly to her, she engages in bizarre stunts sometimes, etc etc. It's an analogy designed to discredit her by associating her actions with those of people who society deems unwell.

Are we supposed to limit our descriptions of our opponents to non hurtful words now? Cuz I'm not really down with that.
posted by dave78981 at 9:56 PM on June 23, 2011


In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she's living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she's built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

There but for the grace of Dog go I.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:42 PM on June 23, 2011


"Definition"?
Like in a dictionary? That's not even "wrong", it's fairly far from "right" on the spectrum also though.

Insanity:
A legal term representing the inability to know right from wrong or the inability to understand the consequences of one's actions.

Period.
There are special dictionaries specifically dedicated to parsing these matters.
Using a "dictionary" to define insanity is sort of like if someone told you they could operate on your brain because they were a doctor. Which was true if you squinted at it... only they were a doctor of letters. So it was mostly meaningless, and possibly a dangerous misuse of otherwise useful, perfectly valid "doctor" terminology.

Before moving on though, something worth consideration when choosing the best invective for lobbing towards The Fool and Followers Du Jour, from the handy Wikipedia;
There have been five revisions since it was first published in 1952, gradually including more mental disorders, although some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders, most notably homosexuality.
So, uh, worth considering that "we" really aren't all that removed from when "all" of us would have been homophobes, and it would have been totally justifiable because "modern medicine told us so" -- to deny such a conclusion would be akin to how "we" sneer at anti-vaccers today; and are we so removed from widespread acceptance, even by moderates, and liberal leaning folks of segregation as "normalized"... So yeah, yay "progress", but also, "don't forget that these views are not Münchhausen, they have a long history of normalization, and dissemination. Not from "fringes", racists, or bigots... but medical professionals working earnestly. It is worth considering the company one is keeping when using these ideas , labels and terminology as recreational invectives, as cathartic lamentations, even as in-group signalling, and team motivation (This, I note because I am ALL for creative, productive, well aimed, accurate, or otherwise situationally appropriate anger and subsequent invective lobbing). Even Bigotry has an aetiology. A history. And often it is not rising from the outside, or fringes, where it primarily resides today, but from the centers, from the normal, from the accepted and approved, the so called 'normal' majority.

It is very much like the concoction of "This is ______ (Label)." It is unspecific, it detracts from a positive discussion proceeding, and it alienates people of all sorts of stripes, be they allies, enemies, and in between; it creates indiscriminate 'shrapnel', potential blow-back, and a climate of escalation, such constructions are also loaded beyond belief.

If "the other guys" are "insane", that really and truly, to the minds of many, justifies all manner of ugly human behaviors (and again, it is worth noting that this "insane", "psychotic", "pseudo-psych/Pop-psych/establishment psych" phraseology and labelling was precisely the same method used in targeting of homosexual people throughout the past century (See Alan Turing, and millions of others). No, I am certainly not saying anyone here, nor in my experience is "persecuting Right Wing American views"... I am saying, only to be cautious, for when the power of a label gets turned around, aimed not at opponents, but rather at allies; those are powerful things, potentially dangerous and lasting labels; useful labels when they are used with proper oversight and questioning, and methods, but powerful labels capable of human destruction nonetheless.

I am neither boss, nor arbiter of anything... I am disposable, disregard-able, replaceable, and inconsequential; this is not a rule nor a demand that people use only words I approve... but it seemed worth a little thought on, I really hope this hasn't ruined the great joy anyone had previously gotten from the calling Tighty-Righties 'crazy'. And I guarantee that not everyone will see merit, perhaps no one will even see logic in my point, but maybe one person might find a nugget of reason, and be able to synthesize something more persuasive, or maybe it will inspire a better phrase turn of invective... The "santorum" of political opponent-invective if you will. I guess my whole thought is; only be aware of the company you inadvertently keep when you take "insane", "crazy", Schizophrenic" or similar labels with long histories of meaning, and use them as signifiers of frustration or disapproval. There are better ways, and ways that don't create blow-back, and induce meaninglessness into terms with specific contextual, and diagnostic meaning.

Before I am accused of the attempted ruining of a perfectly acceptable phraseology, or stifling of frustrations; anger is fine, it is valuable, it is good, and powerful, and it has purpose, it is useful; however, since the target has moved from the simply 'wrong' construction of "insane", towards a liberal willingness to throw around amateur diagnosis of "schizophrenia" -- You know what else is a "self-aggrandizing" behavior, a "bizarre behavior", displaying decisions making and definitive set of beliefs based on "loose associations", displays delusions of grandeur, seems both angry, and argumentative, amidst assumptions of total correctness... acting like an individual is capable of delivering a diagnosis which "real Doctors" must be trained to make, must go to medical school (no one in the thread to my reading is a Psychiatrist), and do residencies to even begin to learn... and even then it will take a career of experience to be able to act with confidence when crafting a diagnostic thesis particularly when noting the fact that the closest in the thread to even meeting Bachman is knowing someone who knows her [diagnostics via television interviews you say? Hmmm, Eeenteresting; Jots a few notes.]; when someone learns how to "diagnose" disease based on a cursory examination of an article on the web... What I mean, when I note that this terminology can be turned, and is rendered "meaningless" in reality when it is thrown around as simply "something to say" when someone is "angry". What if it starts being turned around, it bothers me enough to think about it because these labels still hold meaning and sway in society.

Specially if one is choosing to perform a diagnosis using "reading skills", and "sounds like Michele to me" rather than something say, like a Medical degree, how does that make "our side" look less absurd than the 'alternatives'.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:52 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found the midterm drubbing to be a particularly exquisite example of long game domination by our chessmaster Democratic leaders.]

You could also argue that Obama played to win on health care reform, and his house majority was the price he paid for the modest but still landmark legislation we got. I think his crew knew this going in and was willing to sacrifice legislative accomplishment in the second half of the first term in order to get it done. If the health care act sticks, which is by no means certain, it will have been a historic accomplishment no one believed could get done. Notice the emphasis on foreign policy of late?

We can criticize all we want, and we should. Not enough, too little, too much compromise, not our priorities, whatever. But so far, the track record is pretty amazing given the circumstances (especially the ongoing wars and the economic collapse that, it bears repeating, President Obama inherited and did not create).

The big mistake was not going all in on the stimulus fight. I'm not saying the president hasn't made some serious errors. You will always make errors. Politics is always unpredictable to some extent. Things will happen -- good and bad -- that change the calculus on the fly.

But every time I get scared by the lunacy (how's that instead of "insanity"?) of the far right, I remember that our guy (ok, my guy) is smarter and more competent and has a presidential temperament found in none of his opponents (except maybe Romney, where it's all surface anyway). I remember doubting a hundred times during the last few years that he knew what he was doing, and being proved wrong by results most of those times.

He knows he can count on the liberal vote. Who else you gonna vote for? The only risk is that you won't vote. And if Michele Bachmann is on the other side, who won't vote?
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:17 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, what a hateful and obnoxious article. Ugh. Remind me never to read anything by this sick fuck Matt Taibbi ever again.

Politeness isn't getting the democrats anywhere. It took Taibbi and his 'vampire squid' to get me to understand the GFC, and it's going to take guys like him to fight the bullshit the Right pumps out. Don't be afraid to get angry, show emotion, or mock the other side. They deserve it, and they'll do the same to you.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:39 AM on June 24, 2011


Politeness isn't getting the democrats anywhere. It took Taibbi and his 'vampire squid' to get me to understand the GFC, and it's going to take guys like him to fight the bullshit the Right pumps out. Don't be afraid to get angry, show emotion, or mock the other side. They deserve it, and they'll do the same to you.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn


I'd beg to differ. The more polite the Democrats are, the crazier the GOP becomes. (I mean, do you remember the Summer of Hate? The "He should go to Libya|He shouldn't go to Libya" turnaround?) It might be more satisfying to see someone like Howard Dean get out there and act like a Sunday preacher, but that got us nowhere.

Doing the right thing is more important than winning. We must always remember that.
posted by gjc at 5:29 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keeping in mind that the other guys think that winning is more important than doing the right thing.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:50 AM on June 24, 2011


Are we supposed to limit our descriptions of our opponents to non hurtful words now? Cuz I'm not really down with that.

I didn't say that. But look: My brother-in-law has schizophrenia. A couple years ago he almost succeeded in killing himself, and that was only one of several attempts. It's looking like he'll never be able to hold a job, sustain a relationship, or get an education. When I went to visit him in the hospital after he'd attempted to walk from Rosemount, MN to a hospital in St. Paul in the middle of a freezing December night with no jacket, he started trying to describe how what we think of as 'angels' are maybe really demons that are related to pharmaceutical companies and that's how you know that governments have always been conspiring against poets and painters and writers, which is why he'd stopped taking his medication in favor of some herbal remedies of his own concoction.

This shit hurts, and it's infuriating to see it turned into a punchline or a casual insult wielded against people with whom you disagree politically. I'm sure you didn't mean any harm against those who suffer from mental illness, but that's why a few people have asked that it not be done anymore, and that's why I'd sincerely appreciate it. There are plenty of handy insults for use that do not also disparage or treat lightly people with real medical conditions.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:47 AM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I found the midterm drubbing to be a particularly exquisite example of long game domination by our chessmaster Democratic leaders.]

You could also argue that Obama played to win on health care reform


Do you think the chessmasters planned to lose an election over that, or was that just establishing that they can be beaten and they aren't necessarily the smartest folks in the room?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:19 AM on June 24, 2011


I'm sorry for what you are going through, shakespeherian. But thank you for sharing with us. That was heartbreaking.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:07 AM on June 24, 2011


I guess I was being snarky there, but I don't really care. Describing Bachmann, et al. as "crazy" or "insane" is about describing in shorthand just how far out there their beliefs are. See, it fits because some of her beliefs are clearly delusional, she often talks about how god talks directly to her, she engages in bizarre stunts sometimes, etc etc. It's an analogy designed to discredit her by associating her actions with those of people who society deems unwell.

Are we supposed to limit our descriptions of our opponents to non hurtful words now? Cuz I'm not really down with that.



This is kind of what I am trying to rail against. This comment starts off admitting the first part of the comment is not serious, then admits the use of crazy and insane is shorthand (i.e. lazy). Some of her believes seem delusional, from our political point of view, I am sure the reverse is true.
There are plenty of people who feel god talks to them, who we would not use those words to describe. I am not religious, I do not believe in a god, but the whole friggen history of humanity is one shot trough and trough with religion and spirituality, believing god talks to you is not, in-of-itself a bases for determining sanity. Likewise bizarre stunts.

It is a sloppy analogy that does nothing to discredit her. Indeed it is such a poor analogy that it just adds fuel to the fire of her supporters.

Why don't you say Bachmann is retarded? I mean, hell, you can just as easily justify the use of that word for her? Why not call her a bitch? How about, 'She's so gay'?

You can use a lot of words that target her and her actions and policies that have nothing to do with a group of people that, frankly, tend to act a whole hell of a lot better then Bachmann. We tend to use insane and crazy to describe sane people's bad behaviors, suggesting that bad behavior is something sane people do not engage in and that the insane, that is someone with mental illness, become the repository for all behavior we dislike. That is a big burden to dump on a portion of our population that tends to be more blameless then the fuckers who cause the problems in the first place.

Own it, the world's problems are caused by people like us. The sane ones.
posted by edgeways at 9:51 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




Properly, it sounds like the fault lies with the editor, who deleted credit for GR Anderson's story that was in the original text. Although Anderson, who I used to work with, has a point -- there is no new reportage in Taibbi's story.

I also appreciate that Anderson wants personal credit, rather than giving the credit to City Pages. That's almost certainly not why City Pages is making a fuss about this.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2011


The real question is, since metafilter decided that Obama should be a one-term president as he's Bush III, what Republican presidential candidate do we want to vote for?

Do we want to vote for someone like Huntsman, in an attempt to moderate the next eight years of Republican rule? Or do we want to go for an extremist like Bachmann, so we can sit back with a cynical superior smile and say "yeah, the country's going to go to hell in a handcart, but that just means the collapse of the American Empire followed by the Revolution will happen Real Soon Now.

I'm any case it's probably a good idea to buy BP stock, because cap-and-trade and any alternative energy funding will be dead minutes after the new president is sworn in.
posted by happyroach at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> It took Taibbi and his 'vampire squid' to get me to understand the GFC

Hey now. Vampire squid are cute.
posted by jfuller at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2011


I used to think we should encourage out-there Republican candidates like Bachmann (and many others, unfortunately) because it would help get a Democratic candidate elected. But she's so out there and there's a decent enough chance of the stupids electing her that I don't even fantasize about such an approach. I think the root problem is complete lack of empathy and foresight.
posted by theredpen at 5:17 PM on June 24, 2011


Even if this sort of ranting and snark doesn't win anyone over...isn't it ok for us to just laugh every once in awhile? I don't think every single thing everyone ever writes about politics has to be a brilliant piece of policy analysis or strategy or whatever. I've worked really hard in politics in various ways over the years. It's exhausting and frustrating and sometimes you feel like you're up against a world full of completely deluded people. Sometimes it's nice when someone says the mean-but-true things you've been thinking but are unable to say and when someone reassures you that you're not alone, and you're not the crazy one, and the other side is in fact fucking hilarious. I don't care if Matt Taibbi wins us a single vote (as long as he's not losing us votes either - and I don't think that's likely), because shit, I like to laugh sometimes, and Matt Taibbi makes me laugh. So there.
posted by naoko at 6:32 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Even if this sort of ranting and snark doesn't win anyone over...isn't it ok for us to just laugh every once in awhile? .... I don't care if Matt Taibbi wins us a single vote (as long as he's not losing us votes either - and I don't think that's likely), because shit, I like to laugh sometimes, and Matt Taibbi makes me laugh. So there.

I totally understand this feeling, and I'm very sympathetic. When I was a conservative, this is how I justified listening to Rush. All issues of accuracy or fairness aside, I know that it was difficult to avoid the slide from "Hey! He's saying things no one else is saying! Finally!" through "Hey, he may not be perfect but at least he hates the other team, too!" to the final destination of "Fuck their team! He must be right be cause he hates them, too!"

It's not inevitable but the human tendency towards tribalism is terribly seductive.
posted by verb at 6:40 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


COBRA: “A Twin Cities journalist is kind of pissed at Taibbi for standing on his shoulders with this article...”

However you feel about it, you should totally read that original 2006 piece on Michelle Bachmann by G R Anderson Jr. It's much better than the Taibbi piece, but even aside from comparisons, it seems pretty insightful and includes some good reportage and lots of rather intriguing interviews. I was particularly interested to read this bit from her stepbrother, Michael, concerning the fact that Michelle's stepsister Helen is gay:

"I've got to be clear that I've always been kind of proud of Michele," Michael LaFave says cautiously. That all went sour, though, as Bachmann increasingly became the face of the efforts to ban gay marriage at the Capitol. LaFave had no choice but to take things personally: "I wrote her an e-mail, and asked very nicely why she had to carry the water on this, knowing that my father has a gay daughter. How could she discriminate against Helen?

"She's out there courting a family values agenda, but she's saying things about her own family that's not true," he claims. "She could have been talking to the voters the whole time about having a gay sister," he says. "That at least would have been honest. Dick Cheney had the good sense to do that with his daughter. He had the good sense to know not to engage the base, to not get involved in the debate, because he knew how much it would hurt his daughter. If anyone spent the most time together between the LaFaves and the Ambles," LaFave concludes, "it was Michele and Helen.

"What I'd say to Michele is that you've got a situation here that you didn't have to create. You didn't have to go about it this way," he says, and pauses before announcing he'll likely vote for Patty Wetterling. "I'd say, 'Michele, for all of this, you've lost your family. You've lost my vote.'"


Wow. I'm finding this particularly poignant and tragic in light of the great events of the last few days.

Also interesting: the article includes an account of a presentation called "The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda" given at a "Minnesota Pastor's Summit." It sounds distinctly unpleasant. The person who witnessed it – a gay man – says that "there was so much bile, I nearly had to leave," and theorizes that Marcus is the one driving Michelle's stridently anti-gay political stance.

So, ironically enough, in a certain sense it seems as though whomever up above said that "if she thinks women should submit to their husbands, she should just do that!" was more on-point than they realized. She has done that, I guess. Unfortunately, Marcus Bachmann sounds like a pretty hate-filled person, too.
posted by koeselitz at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Iowa Poll:

Mitt Romney - 23
Michelle Bachmann - 22
Herman Cain - 10
Ron Paul - 7
Newt Gingrich - 7
Tim Pawlenty - 6
Rick Santorum - 4
Jon Huntsman - 2
Undecided - 19
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:40 PM on June 25, 2011


10%?

Feel the 'Wrath of Cain!'
posted by box at 8:34 PM on June 25, 2011




Dear God, this woman's lying is pathological. From an interview with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation (with links added where relevant):
SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you about something else. A lot of your critics say you have been very fast and loose with the truth. You know, the po-- PolitiFact, which is a website that won a Pulitzer, did an analysis of twenty-three statements that you made recently. Of these twenty-three, only one they said was completely true. Seven they call "pants on fire" kind of falsehoods. Four were barely true and two were half truths. How do you answer that criticism? Because here’s one of them, you know, you said on the record there had been only one offshore oil drilling permit during the Obama administration and, in fact at that time they had been two hundred and seventy. How do you explain that?

BACHMANN: Well, you know, I think that what is clear more than anything is the fact that President Obama does -- has not been issuing the permits, that he should have been issuing on offshore drilling that’s--

SCHIEFFER: Well, it’s more than three hundred now.

BACHMANN: Well --

SCHIEFFER: At-- at that time there had been two hundred and something. And you said there had been only one.

BACHMANN: But as far as drilling goes, we hadn’t been drilling what we need to-- that’s why we just this week--

SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But that’s different, isn’t it?

BACHMANN: Well, that’s why this week it’s-- it’s ironic and sad that the President released all of the oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve because the President doesn’t have an energy policy.

SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Do you think that was a good move?

BACHMANN: He has a politically correct environmental policy.

SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Was that a good thing?

BACHMANN: It was a very bad move. It put-- it has made the United States more vulnerable. There’s only a limited amount of oil that we have in the Strategic Oil Reserve. It’s there for emergencies. We do not-- the emergency that we have is the fact that -- the fact that-- the President of the United States has failed to give the American people an energy policy.
So, when called out on national television for a specific, blatant lie, she dodges the accusation by telling two more specific, blatant lies in the same sentence. And she followed up later in that same interview with a false claim about food price increases and a barely true claim about the number of federal limousines, all using specific-yet-factually-incorrect numbers. She's utterly shameless about it, because she knows she's not going to get caught lying in the moment, only much later when few are paying attention.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:14 PM on June 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fact Check
posted by adamvasco at 11:27 PM on June 27, 2011


on a less-substantive note, she flubbed her hometown history when declaring "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa," and "that's the kind of spirit that I have, too," in running for president.

The actor was born nearly 150 miles away. It was the serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr. who lived, for a time, in Waterloo.


Geez, you people even hate her when she's being honest. Tough crowd.
posted by flabdablet at 12:27 AM on June 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, Rhaomi, but note what happened here. He asked her too many questions and gave her the ability to wiggle out of his accusation:
SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you about something else. A lot of your critics say you have been very fast and loose with the truth. You know, the po-- PolitiFact, which is a website that won a Pulitzer, did an analysis of twenty-three statements that you made recently. Of these twenty-three, only one they said was completely true. Seven they call "pants on fire" kind of falsehoods. Four were barely true and two were half truths. How do you answer that criticism?
This is where Schieffer should have stopped and let her answer the question. He should have focused on the fact that she lies repeatedly and has been called out as a liar by a very reputable source, in a well researched analysis. Instead, he gives her an out:
Because here’s one of them,
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Unless you know the subject backwards and forwards and can point out where she's lying -- and hold her accountable for it -- you're giving her an escape route.

To Schieffer's credit, he returns to this question later, right before his time with her is about to run out. And then she gaves him a non-answer: "No, I haven’t misled people at all. I think the question would be asked of President Obama." He should have hounded her on this. Refocused her on the accusation and pushed her to answer it. Instead, he ran out of time.

He's a veteran journalist who had a golden opportunity to hold her feet to the fire and totally flubbed it. It's disheartening to watch.
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2011


538:

I haven’t said anything about the performance of Michele Bachmann in the poll, who drew 22 percent, just a point behind Mr. Romney. Really, there isn’t much to say other than this: these are terrific numbers. In addition to the strong top-line results, Ms. Bachmann had the best favorability ratings of any candidate. And she was the second choice of 18 percent of voters, versus 12 percent for Mr. Pawlenty and 10 percent for Mr. Romney. I would consider her the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses and a legitimate contender to win the Republican nomination.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2011


fml
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:19 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]




Disciplined

I ooh whooooo there herm...ahh...
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]








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