Monday, August 15, 2011




Reality Optional


This is getting to be a pattern.

First, it was the personal: a trip the Obama people were planning to India which, Representative Michele Bachmann warned on the basis of less-than-flimsy evidence, "is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day."

Next it was class warfare, with Rep. Bachmann warning of "massive tax increases" for "people who, who are carpet layers who maybe employ two or three other guys, or a plumber, maybe himself and his brother, and it's $250,000 in gross sales for their business." President Obama had suggested an increase in taxes for businesses with over $200,000 in net income, income remaining after deductions for business expenses. Politifact responded "We're not sure why Bachmann distorted the point about gross sales. As we said, it's something that's been explained several times. Good Morning America posted a note on its website after Bachmann's appearance, noting that her statement was wrong." I think we all know why she "distorted" the point; it fed on the idea that it was the elitist president again oppressing the common man. (And man it was- "guys.... maybe himself and his brother.")

Then there was the sexual: "I’ve given birth to five babies, and I’ve breast-fed every single one of these babies," Bachmann said on The Laura Ingraham Show. "To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You want to talk about the nanny state? I think you just got a new definition of the nanny state." However, the IRS had decided to treat breast pumps and related supplies not as freebies, but as tax-deductible medical expenses.

In late March of this year, it was the "cultural conservative" functioning as a shill for corporate interests, announcing "Let's look at the number one. Number one," Bachmann said. "That's the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office." Apart from the permits approved for shallow water drilling, the Administration had approved six deepwater drilling permits since the Gulf moratorium was lifted in October, 2010- and many before it was ordered.

More recently, the Welfare Queen of Minnesota (although claiming these days to be an Iowan) argued "The farm is my father-in-law’s farm. It’s not my husband’s and my farm. It’s my father-in-law’s farm and my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm." The congresswoman, who with husband Marcus owns a share in the farm, may have technically been telling the truth- the couple has received not a penny, but nearly 26,000,000 pennies ($260,000).

There are other instances of Michele Bachmann saying whatever pops into her mind. Now that she has kicked up her campaign into high gear, there is no reason to let up. Regarding Standard and Poor's in the GOP debate on August 11: "When they dropped our credit rating, what they said is, we don't have an ability to repay our debt." And three days later on Fox News Sunday: "Heard from Standard & Poor's when they dropped our credit rating, what they said is we don't have an ability to repay our debt. That's what the final word was from them."

No- not even close. S&P said nothing about our ability to repay our debt and now that the debt ceiling has been raised, the federal government is paying its debts. But the ratings agency was distressed at the nation's willingness to pay its debt and explained

the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned.

This was a political, rather than economic, judgement. Not unlike Bachmann's lie about an inability to pay debts incurred.

In the Ames debate, Bachmann added "I was proved right in my position. We should not have raised the debt ceiling." On Fox News Sunday, she stated "I was proved right in my position. We should not have raised the debt ceiling."

This is what so impresses the mainstream media- the congresswoman, focused throughout, staying on message. It is also the mark of a programmed candidate, and one programmed to repeat the same lie ("they said we don't have the ability to pay our debt") and the same inversion of reality ("I was proved right in my position. We should not have raised the debt ceiling").

And the "final word" from the ratings agency? "sectors."




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