Saturday, October 18, 2008

Michele Bachmann to Congress: are you now, or have you ever been... anti-American?

Woah. The spirit of Joseph McCarthy is alive and well and spewing his divisive rhetoric through the mouth of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

In an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, she began by repeating the latest GOP talking points - but went waaaay waaay over the edge into the realms of pure nutbar-ism. To his credit, Matthews seemed content to let her dig the hole she was in ever deeper (or he simply gave her enough rope and let her do the rest) - or maybe he was just so shocked by what she was saying, that he truly couldn't think straight.

I wish he'd pulled himself together and repudiated some of the crap she was spouting, but perhaps it's better this way - because the interview allowed Bachmann to show her true colours. And they were not pretty.

She said:

If we look at the collection of friends that Barack Obama has had in his life, it calls into question what Barack Obama's true beliefs and values and thoughts are...

...Remember it was Michele Obama who said she is only recently proud of her country and so these are very anti-American views. That's not the way that most Americans feel about our country. Most Americans are wild about America and they are very concerned to have a president who doesn't share those values.

Wow. So Barack and Michelle are anti-American in her view. That's pretty strong language to use about a US Senator and his wife, not to mention the fact that this same "anti-American" US Senator happens to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

She went further after Matthews pressed her to name a single member of Congress other than Obama who she thought was anti-American...
What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating exposé and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.

Holy shit. So she's calling for a McCarthyist witch-hunt through Congress to determine which of your elected representatives are "anti-American"???

See for yourself:

Bachmann's interview on Hardball was followed by comments from Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation who was visibly upset and extremely angry about what Bachmann had been saying:

There is an extremism unleashed in this nation which you just heard on this programme, which could lead to violence and hatred and toxicity. And against the backdrop of the Great Depression we're living through, could lead - and I don't use this word lightly - to a kind of American fascism which is against the great values of this nation and which people like that are fomenting.

Holy moley! Katrina used the F-word when referring to Bachmann's views! Not that she doesn't deserve it (she does).

I think it's interesting that Bachmann's "anti-American" schtick seems to mirror (or perhaps complement) Sarah Palin's recent comments in her rallies about "pro-American" parts of the country. From the Washington Post:
Palin also made a point of mentioning that she loved to visit the "pro-America" areas of the country, of which North Carolina is one. No word on which states she views as unpatriotic.

Interestingly enough, Michele Bachmann is up for re-election to Congress in Minnesota's 6th District this year.

You might like to visit her TownHall blog and read her views for yourself. She's an evangelical Christian, by the way, who believes that God told her to stand for Congress. You might also like to visit Dump Michele Bachmann - a local Minnesota blog which has been keeping a close eye on Bachmann for the past four years - and who don't like what they see.

While you're at it, you might like to visit the website of her opponent, Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg and see if you prefer his views.

Poll numbers released by the DCCC on Thursday show Bachmann leading Tinklenberg by only 4 points, at 42% to 38%. The poll also showed her approval rating at a paltry 34%. That's not great news for an incumbent (in fact it's awful) - so awful in fact that the DCCC has just added Tinklenberg to its Red to Blue list of targeted House races. In a statement announcing the decision, DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen said:
El Tinklenberg has worked hard to make his race competitive, and he's moving into position to win. With a solid campaign organization and strong momentum in the district, El Tinklenberg has proven that he has what it takes to defeat Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The Minnesota Independent reports that, in response:
The National Republican Congressional Committee has scaled back its TV ad buys in the Twin Cities metro for Republican Erik Paulsen, who is running in a tight race with DFLer Ashwin Madia. At the same time, the NRCC is buying ads for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann who faces a challenge from Elwyn Tinklenberg.

The NRCC will cancel a week of ads on WCCO and has scaled back on KARE. The committee also bought $126,000 in ad time for Bachmann from October 20 to election day.

Less than 15 hours ago, when Stiffa and thereisnospoon at Daily Kos first diaried Bachmann's outrageous comments, El Tinklenberg's ActBlue page was standing at a sad little $2,500 in donations. I'm checking the page as I write - and it currently stands at $98,309 raised from 2,393 supporters. And that's just ActBlue! Goodness only knows how much more has been donated to Tinklenberg via his own website donations page!

Feel free to make your own contribution to El in the hope of facilitating Bachmann's demise. You might also like to head on over to Censure Michele Bachmann and sign their petition to ask Congress to censure Michele Bachmann for her unconscionable comments. The last thing America needs in these troubled times is some lunatic stirring up yet more hatred and division - especially when that lunatic is (currently) a member of Congress.

To paraphrase Joseph Nye Welch's comments to Joe McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954:

Until this moment, Congresswoman, I think I never gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Let us not denigrate Democrats and liberals further, Congresswoman. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, madam, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Here's some media coverage on Bachmann's chanelling of Joe McCarthy's "Are you now, or have you ever been...?

And last but not least - a diary on Daily Kos from Elwyn Tinklenberg himself, thanking the netroots for their part in publicising Bachmann's, er, unfortunate comments - and thereby raising for Mr T what must be well over $100,000 by now:Kossacks, Thank You
The last few hours have been nothing short of astounding. Since Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on MSNBC's Hardball earlier tonight, there's been a deluge of support unlike anything we have seen. We are so grateful to the Daily Kos community and others who've sounded the alarm on Bachmann's extremist, shameful rhetoric and pitched in with whatever they can to help end her tenure in Congress.

Our phones haven't stopped ringing. Many have called in to say they're sorry they can only send money and wish they could be here to help. We want you to know what a difference your funds are making and that, thanks in part to your help, we are confident that we will be able to win this race. We are preparing to get out the vote on an unprecedented scale, and with supporters like you we will have the resources we need to get the job done.

I am both hopeful and humbled at the reminder you gave me tonight - that in our country's darkest times, it is the strength and belief and action of ordinary Americans that ultimately brings about the change we need. From the hardworking folks in Minnesota’s Sixth District to all of you: we are proud to have you on our side.

Thank you,

El Tinklenberg

Go get her, El!

UPDATE 19/10/08: 24 hours after Bachmann appeared on Hardball, the Elwyn Tinklenberg campaign announced that they had received $488,127.30 from across the country in campaign donations as a direct result of her extremist comments.

Holy hell! $488,127.30 in 24 hours! That's $20,338.64 per hour, or $338.98 per minute, or $5.65 per second.

Or, to put it another way...

Michele Bachmann's interview on Hardball lasted a total of 13 minutes. So for each minute that she spoke, she raised $37,548.25 - that's $625.80 per second - for her opponent. That's gotta be some kind of record!

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