Archive for January, 2011

MPR story goes into detail about Bachmann’s relationship with the truth

January 25, 2011

We startes this blog because we couldn’t find anywhere near enough articles like this one from MPR. It goes into detail about Bachmann’s lies and misleading statements, and how she doesn’t stop with them just because fact-checkers say they aren’t true.

We are tempted to excerpt almost the entire article, but we’ll content ourselves with some fact-checking of claims we haven’t seen before:

“I know a friend of mine who’s from Minnesota who has recently moved to California who is a young widow,” Bachmann said. “She told me her premiums have just gone up 29 percent. Well, that makes sense because of all of the unfunded mandates in ObamaCare. Now the private insurance companies are picking them up.”

But that claim is a stretch, said Larry Levitt, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health care issues. Levitt said health care premiums have increased, but it has nothing to do with the new health care law. He said the new law has had a very modest effect on the cost of coverage.

Bachmann also claimed that illegal immigrants will have access to health insurance under the new law. That also is false. Emergency rooms are required to treat everyone, no matter what their immigration status. But that’s been the case for years. People who are in the country illegally aren’t eligible for health care under the federal Medicaid program or the new insurance exchanges the law creates.

Bachmann also said in the interview that Christina Romer, the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, had warned that five million jobs would be lost under the health care law. PolitiFact and other organizations say Romer never made that statement. The fact-checking group found that Republicans arrived at the number by misusing research Romer conducted in 2007.

Then MPR asks Bachmann why she lies so much, and she predictably dodges the question.

When MPR News asked Bachmann this week to discuss the many challenges to her credibility, the congresswoman dodged the question. Instead, she questioned the truthfulness of President Obama — saying he has misled the public about the federal stimulus and the health care law.

[quoting her blather about Obama]

Bachmann then went on to repeat her earlier misstatements.

MPR goes on to suggest that running for office nationally would mean greater scrutiny on her lies. But then it quotes a think tanker about how facts don’t matter to voters.

Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, said politicians have become increasingly dismissive of facts.

“Respect for facts just doesn’t mean a whole lot any more,” Ornstein said. “You don’t get punished. You don’t get shamed if you say things that are patently false. Let’s face it: for many, repeating them over and over again — even after you’ve been told and it’s been made clear that what you say is false — just doesn’t have any impact at all.”

Depressing, but at least MPR has made another entry into the record about Bachmann’s relationship with the truth. A GOP primary opponent could, ahem, make much of this.


What’s Minnesota for “chutzpah”?

January 24, 2011

ATTENTION POLITICIANS! Did you want to deliver a response to the State of the Union speech, only to find that your party leadership prefers someone else? (For this, as well as for House leadership roles?) Desperate for attention? No problem! Just have your own speech anyway and see if anyone cares.

EDIT: Various political pundits suggest that this will actively hurt the GOP by dividing it, or at least making it look divided. US News & World Report:

Bachmann is an accomplished self-promoter (with a startling talent for factual inaccuracies), so it’s not especially surprising that she’s doing this. But GOP leaders have to be beside themselves. They wanted to present a fresh and earnest face (Ryan) in their first prime time appearance since taking over the House. … They want to present the GOP as being an adult party, but the fact is that—especially in a media environment where a speech can be streamed live on a group’s website—they simply don’t control the message. … And as Allahpundit points out, between a mature, governing message, and an incendiary loony-tunes rhetoric bomb, it’s the bomb-thrower who’s going to get the publicity.

The Daily Beast article from which that post was drawn:

But the response her scheming has received in top GOP circles—a response that would best be described as arctic—suggests that the battle between disgruntled, absolutist Tea Party activists (who want to blow the system up) and their more realistic representatives in Washington (who plan to work within it) is only beginning. … Now that the midterms are over, however, the newly empowered GOP establishment clearly wants to tone down the hyperbolic PR and show that it, too, can engage in “adult” problem-solving. The story of the next two years will be the story of whether the Republican Party can shush its big-talking “Bachmann side” long enough for its more practical “Ryan side” to negotiate with Democrats and get stuff done, or whether the Tea Party types who lap up Bachmann’s erroneous rhetoric will torpedo the GOP’s efforts to enact its agenda.

Music to our ears.

She can throw fits, but can she lead?

January 19, 2011

Politico points out that Bachmann needs to learn how to negotiate legislation/lead her party as well as drum up attention on cable news. This is in the context of her supposed campaign for president, which we still think is about as real as a VH1 dating show. It also suggests that the new crop of tea partiers could “out-Bachmann Bachmann.” It would be nice to see the monster kill Dr. Frankenstein.

Are you listening, Tarryl Clark?!

January 18, 2011

This St. Cloud Times interview with Bachmann is CHOCK full of quotes that would have made it into a Clark campaign ad a few months ago. Let’s start with the lead of the story:

In assessing her second term as the representative for Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Michele Bachmann cites an expansion of her presence on Facebook and Twitter among her major accomplishments.

Seriously, lady? The story goes on to cite other accomplishments: being a “mainstay on conservative news programs,” her anti-healthcare rally and starting the House tea party caucus. Notably absent here: any mention of legislation. The story goes on to say she’s introduced 18 bills in her two-plus terms, none of which have passed.

The first page also contains this telling quote:

“I’m excited about the vigorous amount of work that I was able to accomplish in these two years for myself personally,” Bachmann said.

We’re sure the Sixth District is also very excited about what Bachmann has done to help herself. While ostensibly serving them.

Bill O’Reilly doesn’t see a media bias against Bachmann

January 17, 2011

Or Sarah Palin, or whatever other conservative woman is being criticized. We have a lot of thoughts about this. O’Reilly is clearly setting himself up as a moderate in the giant political theater that is Faux News. While we don’t believe for a second that it’s real, this could be good for democracy if he keeps his viewers. It’s also nice to see someone point out that acting insane is the reason for the criticism, and thus Glenn Beck gets it too.

And we suppose it’s nice that conservatives are noticing that there’s a double standard for women in politics. (If you doubt this, consider what the pundits would say if Bachmann or Hilary Clinton had the crying episodes of John Boehner.) If Bachmann can do anything positive for our country, maybe she can help eradicate institutionalized sexism in the mainstream conservative world. We don’t believe that the GOP actually intends to get on board with feminism, though — at least not when profit is threatened by doing the right thing.

Bachmann for president!

January 16, 2011

We’ve been ignoring stuff like this because we don’t think it’s a serious possibility. The Onion’s AV Club, of all publications, has published an article explaining why they agree. Most of the arguments are good (although we think religious conservatives probably DO like crazy eyes), but by far the most compelling reason is #4: she can’t win Minnesota. In fact, she didn’t even win her district with the landslide that is expected of incumbents — the final count was roughly 52% Bachmann, 39% Clark, 5% Anderson. So if you can barely squeak out a majority in your OWN district, and people at the state fair stop to tell TV cameras that you are insane, what does that say about your ability to appeal to voters in the wider nation? Plus let’s not forget that the GOP power structure expressly rejected her attempts to take on a leadership role. And then there’s the Minnesota vote-drawing effect of the much better known Tim Pawlenty. We don’t buy it.

The LA Times political blog appears to agree with us. They seem to think she’s just attention whoring (which at this point is basically like saying she breathes air) or is considering running against Amy Klobuchar.

We’d actually enjoy seeing her run for president, as it would be a colossal waste of evangelical Christians’ money, and we DO enjoy seeing them fail at things. Plus, that’s money that won’t be spent attempting to outlaw gay people or force-convert kids in public schools.

Bachmann finally introduces new legislation!

January 15, 2011

And it is to repeal the estate tax. This will be great for the no doubt many people in her district who are planning on dying with more than $5 million in assets. (Median household income in Washington County, MN: 78,714. Anoka County: 69,407.)

A pair of historians debunk Bachmann’s take on the Framers

January 14, 2011

Or anyway, debunking is how they put it — they say she reveres them as perfect. Also contains some speculation on how true her story is about how she became a Republican. We don’t really care how true it is; we just want her sticky fingers off our civil rights.

Faux News actually calls Bachmann out on BS statement

January 2, 2011

We’re as surprised as you are. From Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren that the lame duck is “awful.” She listed all of the legislation that is being passed, and said: “In other words, a whole year’s worth of work after the voters already spoke at the polls.” For her part, Van Susteren shot back: “Well that’s because you all didn’t do it before the election.”

Of course, everyone knows they didn’t do much before the election because that would be politically risky. So, in Bachmann’s (and other Republicans’) view, you shouldn’t do anything beore the election because it jeopardizes your chance of winning, but you shouldn’t do anything after because the people will have then voted Congressmembers out of office. So when exactly should Congress do anything, Congresswoman? Besides appear on talk shows, we mean.

MinnPost has a fuller quote:

VAN SUSTEREN: How is lame duck different behind the scenes from the other part of the session?
BACHMANN: If you want my real opinion, the lame duck is awful. In my opinion it is unconstitutional. The 20th amendment passed in 1933 was meant to eliminate all future lame duck sessions. Congress didn’t want to see happen what is happening now. Consider, we are doing all of the spending, the tax bill, a nuclear disarmament treaty, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ they are trying to do amnesty for illegal aliens, all in a couple weeks. In other words, a year’s worth of work after the voters spoke at the polls. So the people spoke; they don’t want what is being passed in Congress. We shouldn’t be doing this. It is really against the 20th Amendment to the constitution.

We had to look up the 20th Amendment, but as with most things involving Bachmann and facts, this appears to be wildly exaggerated if not outright false.

“Tea-wash”: First new political phrase of 2011?

January 1, 2011

As in, “Tea partiers wonder why Michele Bachmann is tea-washing a candidate who has given money to Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry.”

We also wonder this, but we are delighted to see Bachmann doing anything that might make her base angry. Of course, as her base is composed entirely of bad critical thinkers, who knows if they’ll remember it in two years.