As Republican Michele Bachmann (R-MN) prepares to exit Congress with a whimper after falling victim to her own lack of ethics, it seems like a good time to look back on her career of setting a benchmark for crazy.
I have written about Bachmann, here or elsewhere, for pretty much her entire time in Congress, and I just want to say that if David Crockett set a benchmark for honesty, she…well, she did not. In fact, the historical figure Bachmann most resembles is Joseph McCarthy.
I will forever have a memory of her hurrying down the halls of Congress to safety, fleeing CNN”s Senior Congressional Correspondent, Dana Bash, who was trying to ask her about her attacks on Huma Abedin. The only thing that sets her apart from McCarthy is her Olympic sprinter skillz.
I cannot see this particular incident as anything but a metaphor for an endless flight from reality, which pretty much describes Bachmann’s entire time in Congress, and when you get right down to it, serves as a metaphor for the entire Tea Party movement.
We cannot call Bachmann a stateswoman. She was never that. We can barely call her a representative, her nominal role for Minnesota’s 6th District on Capitol Hill since 2007, because she has been out of touch with many of her constituents, but worse, with the very fabric of reality itself.
During that time, she has provided many hours of sometimes outraged entertainment. Together with Sarah Palin, her costar in that Tea Party production, Democracy Gone Wild, she acted as the shrill voice of the Tea Party. As the unemployable Palin toured America, grfiting for dollars, Bachmann tried to turn Capitol Hill into her own personal ATM.
Saying recently than she wanted President Obama spanked and his magic wand taken away pretty much epitomizes her time in Washington. She has been a lot of things, from Islamophobic McCarthyist to uninformed homophobe to Latinophobe. For Bachmann, everything she disagrees with is “of the devil.”
She has also established a reputation for being an indefatigable liar. But always, always she has been clueless (even Chris Wallace once asked her if she was a flake).
Despite reassuring America that “I’ve been a part of the real world for all throughout my life,” she hasn’t seemed to intersect with it much. Like the time,
- She wished Elvis a happy birthday on the 34th anniversary of his death;
- She claimed that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery;
- She announced that John Quincy Adams, eight years old at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, is a Founding Father (apparently mistaking him for his father);
- She misquoted the father, John Adams (1735-1826) to build her case for an American “Israel First” foreign policy;
- She said the American Revolution began not in Massachusetts but New Hampshire;
- She said “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas” when in fact it kills you dead;
- She said Americans are worried about the “rise of the Soviet Union,” an entity that had not existed for two decades;
- She said anything at all foreign-policy related. Foreign Policy offers a collection of her 9 greatest foreign policy moments.
For Bachmann, the Bible is empirical knowledge and scientific fact. Sadly, in her mind, that reality she claims to be part of is not.
Whether it is pill-popping and migraines or God’s relentless droning in her head, or simple lack-wittedness that have kept her out of focus, is impossible to say. But Michele Bachmann has not ever been a person who has “been part of the real world.”
Things haven’t been going well for her recently. Like Sarah Palin, her clout has been blunted by time, and probably more than a little of that axiom that familiarity breeds contempt: calling President Obama “lawless” and a threat to America’s survival wears thin after a while. Especially when more interesting people than her are saying the same thing, and perhaps the fact of America’s inconvenient if continuing survival. Heck, even sleeping with Putin hasn’t made her relevant.
America may not, as she claims, be decaying, but Michele Bachmann has decayed before our eyes, falling much more quickly than Rome. She wrote her memoir in 2011. Core of Conviction sold only 3,000 copies in two weeks. Bachmann neglected to game the market like her fellow Tea Partier Sarah Palin, who had her SarahPAC spend $64K on her book. That’s the Republican way to the bestseller list.
Subsequent headlines were no more reassuring: After Receiving Endorsement From Michele Bachmann, Veteran GOP Congressman Loses In Primary. Even right wing news outlet CNN took a shot at her recently: CNN Shoots Down Michele Bachmann With a Single Point About Benghazi and Jobs.
Bachmann wanted another Benghazi investigation but even CNN realizes people want jobs and a Congress that actually does something. Bachmann’s name will forever be linked with the least effective Congress in this nation’s history, and certainly the most ideologically blinkered House of Representatives.
As recently as July, we learned that If She Doesn’t End Up In Prison Michele Bachmann Says She May Run For President in 2016, but on Wednesday we learned, Tea party blows off Bachmann’s rally call. She ends up with a press conference instead.
Michele Bachmann might want to reconsider that presidential run, no matter what God tells her. After all, the last time she ran, back in 2011, she undertook to rebut President Obama’s Jobs Act speech and ended up speaking to an empty room.
No one buys her books, no one shows up to hear her speech, and her big rally turns into a press conference. It has to be hard to be Michele Bachmann. It has certainly been hard being a hostage to her madness.
But it’s all over now. Demagogue-esses Palin and Bachmann have pretty much exited the stage of history together as a new and crazier group – mostly male, of course – takes their place.
We don’t have to wait. The jury is not out on Minnesota’s Madam of Mad-Hattery. With her rally turned press-conference, history’s verdict was already in.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.