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June 28, 2011


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Paula B

Priceless. The DNC should be dancing in the streets.



kathy a.

wow. she really IS talented.

low-tech cyclist

From later in the same interview:

Stephanopoulos: Let me try one more time, so you are saying that the minimum wage is one of those regulations you’d take a look at, you’d try to eliminate it?

Bachmann: Well what I’m saying is that I think we need to look at all regulations, whatever--whatever ones are inhibiting job growth that’s what we need to --

Stephanopoulos: And the minimum wage is one of them?

Bachmann: All regulations George. I think every department. We have just too much expansion of government and so what we need to do is tamp that down so that the American people can keep more of what they make.

Blow out the lamp beside the golden door,
we don't need cheap foreign labor anymore.
Without our unions and the E.R.A.,
we will all have twice the jobs at half the pay.

-Si Kahn, "Government on Horseback"


Michael Kinsley famously defined a gaffe as "when a politician accidently tells the truth".

Of course he also defined jetBlue passengers who were aboard a plane that crashed into an alligator infested swamp as informed consumers who chose to sacrifice safety for frugality, so I'm not sure how much weight we should give his opinion about anything.

A better definition might be this: "A gaffe is when a politician accidentally says what they really mean".

kathy a.

she's been more explicit about taking out minimum wages in the past. which really turns my stomach -- it is almost impossible to live on minumum wage.

here is a report of some fact-checking on bachmann. the executive summary is that she is the GOP's pants on fire candidate.


Then there's this too oddjob, in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and courtesy of Matt Taibbi. We seem to be wandering further into a landscape of the truly surreal.

I always worried that "Emily's List" might eventually lead to someone like Bachmann showing up and staying around. She's fair warning how identity politics (female + fundie) can run way off the rails. Of course, I still get creepy robo-calls from Phyllis Schlafly, which remind me that there was always this possibility.

kathy a.

ladies against women. or if you prefer, a video version from the great state of vermont.


kathy--Right, Schlafly. The first of the phony-"mom" political operators. I had thought her to be "no longer with us" until I recently picked up the phone to hear her voice, suggesting that I contact my legislator to "support this important legislation". No doubt this was about de-funding Planned Parenthood, although I must say, I made the mistake of allowing myself to be "connected" before the entire message was completed, and found myself screeching at some poor Congressional aide who didn't know who Phyllis Schlafly was, nor why I was patched through via her. Or why I was so loudly overwrought.


From Taibbi--"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."

Paula B

top-down economics: http://wapo.st/iCkwBw

Paula B

The banks that can't seem to find a way to process loans, even after receiving stimulus money, finally are getting their due. Just goes to show what how much they have available, if necessary: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/business/29mortgage.html?_r=1&hp
When I was a (long-time) Bank of America customer, I discovered there was no way to reach my bank by phone, even in an emergency. I was applying for a loan and needed to call in some information to a bank officer handling the loan, but was routed through an immense call-answering tree that probably emanated from Sri Lanka. There was no way to talk to a human being, no phone numbers on bank employee business cards and nothing but the 1-800 number to South Asia in the local phone book.
Early one Saturday, I went through the ATM line at the teller drive-in window and drove off with my card still in the machine. I realized it right away and went back to the bank. It was about 8 am, but I saw and heard tellers inside, so knocked on the door. A bank officer I recognized came to the door but wouldn't open it. I tried to explain my problem and asked her to see if my card was somehow reachable from the inside, but she told me to come back after 9, when the bank was open. I begged and pleaded, but she turned and walked away. We killed an hour then went at 9. The card, of course, was gone. We were on our way to an out-of-state wedding but couldn't leave leave without a bank card (incredibly enough, my husband had lost his at another B of A ATM that week and was waiting for a replacement), so I spent an hour in the bank, fuming and filling out forms. We missed the wedding. I was so pissed I wanted to blow the place up. Instead, we took our $25 out of their god-awful bank -- where we paid something like $40 a month in account-management fees -- and put the whole wad in a locally owned savings bank. I remember how upset the bank officer was when I said I was closing all of our accounts. She offered a ton of incentives to keep our business, everything but simple courtesy, human decency and common sense.


I switched over to a credit union years ago because I didn't want to deal with a megabank. No regrets whatsoever.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

I can't believe that Bachmann is this 'unknown' as a politician. Back when Steve Benen was 'the Carpetbagger' -- before he became the 'Political Animal' -- there was a running 'argument' as to whether Bachmann or Steve King was the craziest Congresscritter. She is not a total unknown, as Palin was, she's been making her mad coments for years.

And as with Palin, whose appearance on the national stage brought Mudflats from an obscure state-centered blog to the most popular political blog of the year, hopefully Mad Michelle will get people reading The Dump Bachmann Blog which has been covering her for years.

A couple of hours in the archives would be time well spent for anyone out there. I doubt if the Bachmann boomlet will last through a year of scrutiny, but if it does, there is more than enough to defeat her, depite the comments by Fineman -- quite accurate -- that she is no Palin, that she is articulate and 'intelligent.'

I'll explain those quote marks by quoting from Michelle Goldberg on Democracy Now! -- as quoted in the Dump Bachmann blog:

And she often talks about, in her speeches, what she calls a "Christian worldview," which is a really important concept, I think, for people to understand, not just Michele Bachmann, but much of the modern right. It essentially holds that Christianity, or at least their version of Christianity, is a total ideology. It has all the answers, not just to theological questions, but to historical questions, scientific questions, economic questions. And so, you know, what I’ve tried to get across in writing and speaking about Michelle Bachmann is that she’s not stupid, you know? And she’s not Sarah Palin, in that she doesn’t—she’s articulate. She’s, I think, a little bit faster on her feet. She’s just incredibly steeped in a body of knowledge, that is not—she’s incredibly steeped in a corpus of facts that aren’t true facts. She’s incredibly steeped in the alternate reality of the movement that I called "Christian nationalism" in my first book.

The whole piece is worth checkig out -- and is currently the lead article. One point thnat was new to me was her work with John Eidsmoe -- she was his research assistant. "John Eidsmoe is—often people on the Christian right are kind of called theocratic. But he is unquestionably a theocrat. He wrote a book that she worked on called Christianity and the Constitution, which argued that the United States was founded to be a Christian theocracy and that it should become one again. He, John Eidsmoe, is an interesting figure. He’s someone who has been asked not to speak at Tea Party—who has been—has had invitations to speak at Tea Party rallies rescinded because of his ties to white supremacist groups and history of advocating for Southern secession."

Sir Charles


That was Valuejet -- now Air Tran, not JetBlue.

And I think Kinsley was being tongue in cheek about the notion that consumers have the perfect knowledge attributed to them in economic models.

Sir Charles


Emily's List is explicitly dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women.

I wasn't quite following how that fit the Bachmann issue here.

That this woman is taken seriously at all is a disturbing commentary on our politics.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

The 'excess baggage' charges that Mad Michelle is burdened with should be enough to sink her. (I know, I know, it is such a temptation to hold back, let her get nominated, and then blast her, but I'm sorry, my mind revolts at the thought of even the current Republican Party nominating her.)

Let's look at some of the portmanteus she is carrying:

Eidsmoe (see my last comment):

Her ties to Bradlee Dean, the Christian punk-rock evangelist who is best known for his statement that Muslim countries are more moral than we are because they actually execute gays. (There's a lot more to him -- including his habit of talking his way into making school programs that are supposed to be 'anti-drug' or the like and using the opportunity for prostelytizing.)

The "Bobby Thompson" story -- the quotes are because the name proved to be as fradulent as the rest of him. "Thompson" created a phony charity called the US Naval Veterans Association, collected money in many states, and seems to have pocketed most of it, and donated what was left to far-right Republicans including Bachmann. (She eventually returned the money, months after his fraud had been documented.)

The statement from her former chief of staff -- and former chair of the MN GOP, comparing her to Pawlenty:

Having seen the two of them, up close and over a long period of time, it is clear to me that while Tim Pawlenty possesses the judgment, the demeanor, and the readiness to serve as president, Michele Bachmann decidedly does not.

The Bachmann campaign and congressional offices I inherited were wildly out of control. Stacks upon stacks of unopened contributions filled the campaign office while thousands of communications from citizens waited for an answer. If she is unable, or unwilling, to handle the basic duties of a campaign or congressional office, how could she possibly manage the magnitude of the presidency?

And even the Paulistas have discovered one of her negatives, the fact that she worked as a "Tax Litigation Attorney" for the IRS. (And progressives might equaly resent some of the cases she worked on.)

Then there is the typical Republican hypocrisy, campaigning against Medicaid while her husband's *shudder* Mental health Clinic receives hundreds of thousands in Medicaid payments

And there is a lot more out there.

Davis X. Machina

There's a political version of Newton's timeless F=MA equation, where Force equals number of people times how pissed off they are -- F=NP. You can get a big F by a huge N, who are all 'very nicely, thank you'). (I think this accounts for the size of Obama's '08 margin, if not his win.)

And you can get a big F by having a small N, who are very, very P.

Bachmann's working the latter model, because she has no hope of working the first. The Crazy actually works for her, because it increases P. It's not until it decreases N by more than it increases P that The Crazy is a problem.

Yglesias has a link
to some interesting poli-sci work on this today.


I think Kinsley was being tongue in cheek about the notion that consumers have the perfect knowledge attributed to them in economic models.

Tongue in cheek, uttered with the barest hint of a smile on his face and in his eyes, is his specialty.


SirC--Emily's List, I suspect, was the inspiration for its counterpart, the Susan B. Anthony List. What worried me at its inception was that we would eventually see gender, along with abortion stance, enlisted to appeal to women voters along very narrow lines but turned on its head. The likes of Palin and Bachmann are somewhat the result. Palin, especially, was plucked out of nowhere for just that appeal.

At any rate, Michelle Cottle at TNR, probably got it right when she wrote that finally the "bat-shit crazy glass ceiling has been broken" or something to that effect.

kathy a.

nancy -- if we endorse women as equals and entitled to full participation in public life, and endorse aggregating support for women with particular issues in mind, that means we have to put up with Ladies Against Women.

prup -- bachmann's resume is kinda weird. it's not so unusual that someone with a degree in taxation would work for the IRS, but she seems to downplay that work history in favor of claiming that she "raised" 23 foster children. those were short-term placements.

big bad wolf

ah, i remember the days when the barest hint was enough, or even the context. we're all literalists now. and better for it. wit and sarcasm have never made a point so clear as pure passion.


kathy--Yes. But we eventually found ourselves putting up with this kind of "women in solidarity" thing written about Palin by the former editor of Ms. magazine and NOW plankholder. More here . I see no reason why she wouldn't find Bachmann just as attractive a candidate.

Didn't see the video of the "ladies" in VT until today--the trusty Mac spent yesterday in "kernel panic" attack mode. Anyway, very funny. Thanks.

Sir Charles


Yeah, the esentialist notion of women's solidarity across ideological lines is pretty preposterous. Kind of like hailing that great civil rights icon Clarence Thomas.

I loved the repeated meme in 2008 that Hillary supporters were going to desert the Democratic Party and vote in significant number for McCain because of Palin. That one had me scratching my head for a while.



that nails it.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

While there never was the shift to McCain, it is ironic, or something, that the whole 'birther' thing didn't come from the Republicans -- even Palin pretty much ignored it during the campaign -- or from the World Nut Daily, which also passed on the topic until Obama was elected -- but from the "PUMAs" who claimed to be pro-Hillary, anti-Obama Democrats. (In particular one commenter, I seem to remember the name "Larry Johnson" but am not sure of it.)

It was "PUMAs" that Tweety interviewed at the Democratic convention and walked away publicly saying they were crazy. Only after he was elected did the Republic ans start echoing the 'ineligible usurper' meme.

Krubozumo Nyankoye

An enlightening thread in many respects, quite a few things I did not previously know but more or less assumed existed in some context. Still, in my humble opinion this is really all a bunch of feint and distraction. The material fact seems to me to be that all potential republican candidates are owned lock stock and barrell by the corporate oligarchy. Moreover, I think their concentration is not so much on the federal government as it is on local government, at the state level and below because that is where the real power is in a sense. Just look at what they are doing.

It is just possible that they have indeed been a little precipitous in flexing their muscles. But it remains to be decided. They have emasculated the feds to the extent that blatently unconstitutional actions are not even acknowledged let alone opposed. They have infiltrated ideologues into every branch from the judiciary to the executive to such an extent that even tentative and well considered moves to clean house meet with a backlash of flaming scorn.

I don't pretend to comprehend or know what the devotional position of the likes of the Kochs and their ilk are, they may be dominionists, they may be LDS, they may be Moonies, it really doesn't matter because whatever they are the central influence is money and only money.

The Bachmanns and Palins are not even shadow puppets. They have traction only because they have been programmed well enough to get the stack of cash by reflexively screaming out the correct talking points. When they have outlived their usefulness they will vanish.

In a sense what we confront now in this new century is an issue as grave or graver than that which confronted the young nation in the civil war, but this is not a civil war, it is a purely class war. The obscenely rich against, well, everybody else. And it isn't really a war on terms even so lopsided as the US invading Iraq. It is more akin to the US launching a full scale nuclear strike against Iceland.

The great uncertainty is this: how much real solidarity is there among the oligarchs themselves? That is really the deciding factor. If they act together in concert, the rest of us are more or less helpless and very likely doomed. But can they do so?

In a certain sense I very much doubt it. I think the intrinsic characteristics that enable the accumulation of obscene wealth are so completely egotistical that at some point, perhaps not too far in the future, their greed will turn upon each other.

Am I paranoid? Probably, but certainly not without justification.

I'll stop ranting. I read somewhere today that ALEC has some 2,000 members among state legislators.

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