Bachmann’s Bad Civics

August 15th, 2011 at 1:16 pm | 96 Comments |

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Fresh from her win at the Ames Straw Poll, Michele Bachmann went on Meet the Press Sunday morning.

I cannot understand how any conservative can watch her and not be appalled by Rep. Bachmann’s decidedly unconservative approach to governing. She ignores basic civics and doesn’t understand that our country is a representative republic rather than a direct democracy.

David Gregory patiently kept asking Mrs. Bachmann about her vote against raising the debt ceiling. He asked:

The entire Republican leadership thought that was the wrong thing to do. Major members of the business community in this country thought that was the wrong thing to do. Why should we trust your judgment that that was the right thing to do and not a reckless act?

In summary, the response was:

Because that’s the judgment of the people of this country. The people of this country would love to weigh in, and they would love to say, “Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, you’re wrong. Mr. President, you’re wrong.”

Gregory objected:

But this is why we have elected representatives, Congresswoman, who actually know the true financial impact of a step like this. Maybe people are against raising the debt ceiling, but the reality is, bipartisan agreement, in the business community, is saying you don’t do that — you don’t mess with the full faith and credit of the United States.

Bachmann countered with:

… let me just answer your question because you said, well, all the people in Washington said we had to raise the debt ceiling, all the people out in America said don’t raise the debt ceiling. That’s the problem with Washington.

She then proceeded to explain her civics views:

…representatives are supposed to represent the people that they serve. The people that they’re serving are saying, “You guys don’t have it figured out. Stop spending money you don’t have.”

This is just wrong. Besides the fact that only a plurality of voters (rather than “all the people out in America”) were objecting to raising the debt ceiling, a very large percentage of people in all polls actually admitted that they did not know enough to form an opinion.

That is precisely the problem with governing by opinion polls as advocated by Bachmann. We, the people of the United States, go about our busy lives. We don’t have time or other resources to learn enough about all important issues of the day to have well informed opinions. That’s why we have adopted the Constitution and delegated all legislative power to Congress. That’s why we elect representatives to a fixed term, pay them nice compensation packages, provide them with staff, the Library of Congress and the power to summon witnesses to their hearings. We expect them to use all those resources to educate themselves on the issues and make carefully considered decisions. Yes, we love to weigh in from time to time — that’s why we have regular elections! But we don’t actually want to weigh in all the time — that’s why the Constitution has no provision for any referendum under any circumstances.

But, perhaps instead of explaining all this, I should have just quoted the great conservative political philosopher Edmund Burke:

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Recent Posts by Andrew Pavelyev

96 Comments so far ↓

  • Primrose

    Since she believes in Dominionism (the right of christians to rule all others), I doubt Ms. Bachman pays much mind to the constitution. Her people believe it. That is all that matters.

  • jakester

    Well, she was representing her base very well, which is scary.

    • Smargalicious

      And BHO has represented his base well, too. It is called reparations-by-another-name: Stimulus, Obamacare, Obamanomics, whatever…we’re doomed if he’s re-elected.

      • jakester

        Oh right, reparations, for everyone?

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        Uh, Smarg, I received nearly a year of Extended Unemployment benefits– and I’m descended entirely from people who came to this country half a century after Lincoln freed the slaves. And we are all of us, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know, lily fucking white.

        Reparations, indeed.

        • Smargalicious

          Too bad…that’s what good people call Obamacare and Stimulus, all paid for by the 49% of taxpayers that still pay.

          Indeed, it is reparations. After all, the Messiah happily clapped and amen-ed while his preacher screamed “God DAMN WHite America!” for over a dozen years.


        • sparty

          You are truly a horrible human being.

        • medinnus

          No, thats what inbred closet queens with wide stances and a soul full of bigotry and hatred call it. You know… you.

        • Primrose

          The reason these people are all into the reparations theme is that they don’t actually think slavery was wrong and are offended by the very idea that slaves might be owed back pay. They are such spoiled, little sociopaths that they are incapable of understanding that everyone isn’t here to serve them. Thus the rage of a two-year old.

  • Smargalicious

    Sorry Andrew, but she is right. And the people have seen what a disaster it has been to elect the first anti-American into office.

    • ram6968

      gee smarg, I hate to break it you, but you don’t get paid nickles for posting this site

  • jimbob54

    But there comes a time in the course of human events when the elected representatives become too greedy and self-serving to represent the interests of those who elect them, and it becomes the responsibility of the electorate to throw the bums out and replace them with representatives who do represent the interests of the electorate.

    • Xunzi Washington

      “Interests”, Boob, not “opinions”.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        touche, though that idiot would never understand it, I did.

        • Chris Balsz

          Right, it should be “opinions”. Since every colonial power adequately represented the “interests” of its subjects.

  • tommyudo

    Whether Bachmann knows her civics isn’t really important. She is a stand in for roughly 30-35% of the population who have created their own separate reality from the rest of us. The more they are called on their religious fanaticism ,gullibility and mendacity, the more they retreat into a sense of self righteous victimhood. I just wish they would start their own third party, which in essence would mean the destruction of the modern day GOP.

  • chephren

    Every poll indicates that a clear majority of the people want tax rates for the richest Americans to be raised to help reduce deficits. A majority also wants public health insurance for all.

    If Bachmann truly believes elected representatives should do what the people want, will she support higher taxes and a universal health care option?

    • Catherine

      Probably not…she resides on some other plane inside of her head. What a scary creature who lies and rewrites history to boot.

  • TAZ

    While that portion of the interview was entertaining, her being proved right on the issue of the credit rating was even better.

    I love this nut!

    • chephren

      How, exactly, was she “proved right”?

      Bachmann is as much a hypocrite on debt ceilings and credit ratings as she is on government entitlements. She voted for the Ryan budget plan, which included an increase in the debt ceiling and raised the deficit by more than the plan she opposed.

      She’s a fraud and a flake.

  • Xunzi Washington

    Any conservative who is anyone nowadays will tell you: Edmund Burke was a socialist.

    • jorae

      Ill Fares the Land…by Tony Judt. Commonwealth is an English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with “republic.” A Rep is elected to address the common good.

      Try using ‘common good’ instead of the word ‘socialist’ and see how “elitiest” you sound. I hope it embarrases you. If not, you have deeper problems than we can address here today.

  • ottovbvs

    A couple of days ago Andrew was dismissing the Iowa straw poll as a complete non event. And yet here was the winner all over the Sunday morning talk shows while of the two Very Serious candidates that I’m sure he approved of, one ducked the contest and the other threw in the towel. Andrew, we know she’s loopy but she’s one of the three main contenders for the Republican nomination and has widespread support amongst the base. This is the issue not Bachmann’s unfamiliarity with the finer points of the theory of representational democracy. Furthermore it’s hard to know but I’d hazard a guess that Andrew would vote for her were she the Republican nominee.

    • Andrew Pavelyev

      No. I’d just write in Mitch Daniels.

      • ottovbvs

        Ok you’d abstain. So what does that say about your committment to civics?

        • Andrew Pavelyev

          Not abstain, vote.

        • ottovbvs

          De facto….De jure?….I’m sure you know the difference Andrew.

        • think4yourself

          I disagree Otto, a protest vote is a vote. It may not make a difference this time, but might make a difference later on (say in convincing Daniels to run during the next election). Even abstaining is a political choice. If enough people disengage, sometimes it leads to other alternatives that are preferable later on.

        • ottovbvs

          “Even abstaining is a political choice. If enough people disengage, sometimes it leads to other alternatives that are preferable later on.”

          Unfortunately, based on historical record it has much more frequently led to less preferable alternatives. From Hitler to Berlusconi through Nader, throwing one’s vote away frequently produces undesirable outcomes.

        • Primrose

          Protest votes may change matters but abstaining does not because it is silence.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      Well, we now have Pavelyev at his word that he would not vote for Michelle Bachmann in a general election– but did we really need it? I think, Otto, that we had all the context clues we needed to reach this conclusion: three of Andrew’s last four columns have been sharply critical of Bachmann, denouncing her for everything from rank hypocrsiy and ignorance on the debt ceiling to ignorance of basic civic knowledge.

      I– and, I’m sure, most of the other commenters here– didn’t need Pavelyev’s sworn disavowal. And I really don’t think you needed it, either. You simply cannot stand the notion of a reasonable center-right response to rightwing extremism– which is precisely what Andrew’s position vis a vis Bachmann is– and so you succumb to the hyperpartisan temptation to impute an extremist position to him when he is plainly on the side of moderation.

      Otto, your response to Andrew’s column is intellectually dishonest. And stupid.

      • ottovbvs

        You can name call all you like, but my point is certainly not intellectually dishonest. There’s a long history of situations where people have thrown away their vote on minority parties as protest gestures and produced unhappy outcomes and I actually gave three examples. If you want to refute these do so but in the meantime I’ll adhere to my view that a write in vote for Daniels if Bachmann was the Republican candidate amounts to a vote for obscurantism by default. What is required in such circumstances is a massive rejection of all she stands for not a cop out.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          You didn’t accuse Andrew Pavelyev of obscurantism, you accused him of (1) supporting the extremist Michele Bachmann inspite of his numerous scathing denunications of her, and inspite of his professed moderation; and (2) of thowing his support to a spoiler candidate– even though the spoiler in this case, Mitch Daniels, would totally benefit your favored candidate, President Obama, thus rendering your complaint against Pavelyev odd.

          And Otto, I’m curious: who do you consider the spoiler party in Germany’s 1933 general election: the party of the far left, the German Communist Party, which finished in second place behind the Nazis, or the center-left Social Democrats, who finished a distant third?

          And what do you make of the fact that, during that election campaign, the German Communist’s routinely denounced the Social Democrats as “Social Fascists,” while more or less giving the actual Fascist party, the Nazi’s, a free pass for their fascism? (And by a “free pass,” I’m referring to actual campaign rhetoric, and not the infamous Redshirt vs. Blackshirt street violence of that period.)

        • ottovbvs

          “You didn’t accuse Andrew Pavelyev of obscurantism, you accused him of (1) supporting the extremist Michele Bachmann”

          I did not. You need to take a comprehension course buddy. Viz:

          ” I’ll adhere to my view that a write in vote for Daniels if Bachmann was the Republican candidate amounts to a vote for obscurantism by default. What is required in such circumstances is a massive rejection of all she stands for not a cop out.”

          And in the numerous German elections of the period 1930-32 (there wasn’t a pre seizure election in 1933) there were numerous parties participating. The obvious thing for believers in democracy when the center right parties like Bruening’s Catholics collapsed was to rally around the Social Democrats which they didn’t. In the pre seizure of power Hitler never got more than about 40% of the vote and indeed in the last election before he became chancellor which took place in late 1932 the Nazis lost a lot of seats although remaining the largest party in the Reichstag.

  • midwest guy

    Those who have studied Ms. Bachmann over time can only conclude that she wants our nation to become a theocracy—-not unlike Afghanistan under the Taliban. Virtually everything she says is based upon her narrow and very dogmatic religious viewpoint. Nothing she says shows any understanding or appreciation of the principles of our founding fathers. Even in today’s horrible political climate, I refuse to believe that most thoughtful conservatives could possibly accept this kind of dogmatic ignorance in any candidate—much less a candidate for President.

  • WillyP

    “That is precisely the problem with governing by opinion polls as advocated by Bachmann.”

    Bachmann wasn’t sitting with that damned fool David Gregory and advocating Athenian style pure democracy. She was arguing, correctly, that the majority of Americans want SMALLER government, and that the politicians – through their vote to raise the debt limit – are ignoring the will of the people. Just as they ignored the will of the people on Obamacare.

    Representative democracy isn’t about the representatives, is not about the government. It is, at best, a process to put in place legislators that broadly reflect the interests of the people. Bachmann understands this, even if the nerd Andrew does not.

    I’d like to hear Andrew make the case for more debt and more government, and see how many people agree with him. Outside the fruitcakes here at FF, he’d be among the 25% of people who actually approve of Obama’s governing. Obama’s even losing NY now, an absolutely astounding fact!

    The worst president has his apologists in pseudo-conservatives like Andrew, while even Maureen Dowd turns against him. Incredible.

    • kuri3460


      No. If you read the history leading up to the Constitutional convention, America was not intended to be a representative democracy. Rather, the Founders created a Republic, because they were keenly aware that granting too much democracy to the people could paralyze government. Thus, they struck a balance where legislators were still acountable to the people, but also had enough breathing room to conduct the basic business of government without having to rely on the fickle whims of an angry mob every time something needed to get done.

      It’s cruelly ironic that the Tea Party claims to embrace Constitutional principles yet owes it’s very existance to the contradiction of one of those key principles.

      And yeah, sure, the people say they want smaller government….they also say they want their social security checks. Which do you think they want more?

      • WillyP

        “It’s cruelly ironic that the Tea Party claims to embrace Constitutional principles yet owes it’s very existance to the contradiction of one of those key principles.”

        The contradiction of the Constitutional principle that, what? Representatives must vote against their constituents all the time?

        What are you talking about?

        And, uh, I’m not sure the Framers of the Constitution were worried about paralyzed government, whatever that is. They were worried about the mob; the rights of the minority being trampled by the simple majority. Furthermore, the guard against majoritarian rule was not Republicanism, but federalism… that is, limiting government, and giving relatively little authority to the national government.

        Go back to the political theory books, you tyro!

        • jorae

          The majority of any country wants what is best for the common good of all citizens. Bachmann has proven, this is not her goal. She stands up for the individual – againsts the common good of the country.

          When you figure out, the common good…you will understand government has to expand to their needs. The larger it is, only a mirror the complexity of the world.

          Your only ‘parroting’ what ‘money’ wants. And their ‘assets’ is their drive to make you stupid. To think everything is so simple, you do not need the power of government to control the manilipuation of others, is simply…ignorant.

        • WillyP

          smoke much crack lately?

    • mikewaz

      “She was arguing, correctly, that the majority of Americans want SMALLER government, and that the politicians – through their vote to raise the debt limit – are ignoring the will of the people. Just as they ignored the will of the people on Obamacare.”

      What about the will of the people who wanted DADT repealed? Or the will of the people who want taxes raised on the exceptionally wealthy? Or the will of the people who want Congress to pass legislation that will help create jobs? Or the will of the people who say Social Security and Medicare are good programs that should be kept around regardless of the cost? It seems to me that if the GOP really thinks that our elected officials should be listening primarily (or solely) to public opinion, they should have been wholly on board with allowing gays to openly serve in the military, raising the capital gains tax rate and increasing marginal income tax rates on incomes above $1 million, facilitating the growth of the economy through a mix of short-term job stimulus and long-term deficit reduction, and not ending Medicare as a government-run insurance program. I guess my question is: does public opinion only matter when public opinion agrees with your ideology?

    • think4yourself

      Willy – nice to see you around.

      “She was arguing, correctly, that the majority of Americans want SMALLER government.”

      This is a comon Fox news/Conservative pundit line. However it depends on how you ask the question. If you ask people do they want their SS benefits cut or Medicare cut when they need it, or should we stop providing unemployment checks to those out of work, or should we quit fixing the roads – well American respond that they want to keep all of those things. If you ask, should Gov’t take less of YOUR money, then the answer is people want smaller gov’t.

      Bachmann’s vote agains the debt ceiling was an act of irresponsibility (I’ll stop paying 40% of my bills except for my debt payments, therefore I’m not really in default), but good for her politically. If you ask her Tea Party supporters if they think it is personally okay if they only pay their debt obligations (mortgage, car payment, etc.) but not pay their other expenses (utilities, car insurance, groceries, etc.), I suspect most of them would think you’re crazy. If you ask them should their employer only pay the employer’s debt obligations (loans) and not pay the employees their salary – I’m sure the employee would suggest that they should get paid even if of the employer has to extend some lines of credit in order to pay the employee.

      What’s really irresponsible is that the GOP did not take the opportunity to get an agreement with Democrats (who do represent about 50% of the electorate) on a path to fiscal sustainability that included large spending cuts and tax breaks. The difference between the Tea Party and Ronald Reagan is that while Reagan beat up his opponents, both Democrats and the Soviet Union, he know how to cut a deal (missle defense, tax increases). The current GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      Let us savor the pungent irony of a man who gets his history and political theory from Glenn Beck calling anyone else a “pseudo-conservative,” an epithet that would more aptly be applied of course to Wily and his JBS/’bagger commrade Smarg.

      • WillyP

        I’ve never watched Beck’s program, never listened to his radio program, nor read any of his books.

        What do you read, anyway? Comic books? Not that there’s anything wrong with them.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          Willy, any person familar with Glenn Beck could be forgiven for assuming you to be one of his cult worshipers. Your half-baked autodidactism and your paranoid theorizing are right out of the same stable as Beck.

    • Houndentenor

      People SAY they want smaller government but then yell and scream when you start cutting programs they like. They have been led to believe and are too stupid to realize that the budget cannot be balanced by only cutting programs that don’t benefit them. They have been told that they will feel no pain from budget cuts and that the “wasteful” programs are the ones that benefit “special interest groups.” Anyone looking at the budget breakdown quickly sees this lie. It’s why those advocating for a balanced budget never give much in the way of details for what programs will be cut.

      • jorae

        “It was like someone poured molasses on the enforcement [SEC] division,” said one manager about the Bush II Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during the chairmanship of Christopher Cox.

        “As financial fraud raged on Wall Street, Cox’s management slowed financial law enforcement at every stage of a case. To open a case, an investigator had to wait, sometimes for months, for the five-person (Republican majority) commission to review and approve it.”

        “Seeing one’s work undercut at the final stage, swayed investigators away from taking up difficult cases of big financial fraud, and towards easier cases, such as small Ponzi schemes and insider trading. For example, cases of naked short selling — an illegal practice rife for big fraud — were not pursued, with 5000 complaints over 15 months resulting in zero enforcement actions”

        ‘Under these conditions investigators left the agency, further slowing enforcement.” How G.W. Bush…. “Bush II Slowed SEC During Financial Fraud Fury” June 18th, 2009

        Smaller government, is only profitable to the corrupt. Larger government, fights the corruption.

    • Primrose

      Actually Willy P, Obama’s approval ratings hop along in the 40′s, low or high depending on circumstance. This is actually quite high by comparison to other Presidents at this point in their presidency. Given that some of the disapproval is by disappointed progressives who won’t be voting for a republican , he doesn’t have that many people to sway.

      The “fruitcakes” here at FrumForum actually expect (nea demand) you deal with facts not wishes.

  • ottovbvs

    “while even Maureen Dowd turns against him.”

    OOHH Maureen Dowd is now the object of your lascivious affections eh Willy? Like redheads do you?

  • WillyP

    you’re probably retarded.

    • ottovbvs

      “you’re probably retarded.”

      Possibly, my wife frequently makes such insinuations. But I like Redheads too.

      • medinnus

        +1 Redheads.
        +1 Spouses who probably think they’re other half is retarded upon occasion…

    • jorae

      One liner insults? I believe any jr high bully uses this technique on a daily basis. No suprise, that bullies are your example. Vote my way, or I’ll make you suffer comes to mind.

  • think4yourself

    Andrew, I disagree with your article (even though I am no fan of Bachmann). You’re telling me that other politicians don’t do what the people they represent want? That would be a pretty small number of politicians. I’m not advocating for her position on the debt ceiling, I also think it was irresponsible, but if her national constituency was the Tea Party, she represented them better than anyone else. Nor do I think she was voting by opinion polls. She was voting based on the desires of Tea Party members.

    There is a body of thought that if people elected you based on your platform and Bachmann was relected based on that platform, then those are the positions you take.

    also Andrew, you’re confusing leadership with running for election. I just watched the interview and thought she was incredibly disciplined and playing to her electorate, Tea Party Evangelicals. When pressed with a question that the answer was a negative, she refused to answer the question (I’ll appoint people who follow the Constitution and conform to my views). She did not say she would only appoint Evangelical Christians and would only appoint straight people, but that’s implicit with follow my views.

    If in the GOP primaries, you have passionate Tea Party voters and apathetic moderates and you get the Tea Party on your side, you have a shot at winning, no matter how bad your policies are – Prime example is that the House went GOP last election. I thought Bachmann was very disciplined and for Her audience (Tea Partiers), they’re going to think that David Gregory, a member of the MSM was picking on her, picking on God and another reason why they ought to vote for her. Think about what Sarah Palin would have done if she had been interviewed as agressively as Bachmann just was.

    Bachmann may not win, but she is for real.

    • ram6968

      being real isn’t such a good thing when your loony….being real AND sane is a prefered state of being

    • pnwguy

      “Bachmann may not win, but she is for real”

      Tornadoes in Kansas may not flatten the whole state, but they are for real. Both are destructive forces, and the prudent thing is to do whatever to minimize the damage.

      I’d agree with other posters that if the subject at hand was one where Bachmann’s position was against the vast majority of voters (like tax policy, social issues, etc.) she’d be asserting her judgement against the people. If Gregory had been thinking on his feet in the exchange, he would have shaped a rebuttal in just that fashion.

      If you want your views explicitly followed in Washington, you hire a lobbyist. A representative in a democratic republic is *supposed* to be someone using their judgement for the totality of the electorate, not just its majority. But today, the differences between politician and lobbyist are ever blurred, when the former depends on the latter for campaign funds.

    • ottovbvs

      “Bachmann may not win, but she is for real.”

      There’s no question she’s real alright and articulates the opinions (even if they are rather incoherent) of the Republican base. But then in his way Moktada El Sadr is real also. It’s hardly a recommendation. What Andrew is not willing to recognize is that this is the prevailing zeitgeist in a party he rather blindly supports. At the least it’s supporting obscurantism by default.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        “…the prevailing zeitgeist in a party he rather blindly supports.”

        Pavelyev’s body of work in no way supports this judgment against him. His last half dozen columns alone give the lie to this silly assertion. Whatever his support for the GOP is– and I’d say, based on the evidence, that it is measured and highly qualified– it is not blind or credulous.

    • nwahs

      I don’t think she’s real. When religion came up in the interview, she glazed over and became monotone. It reminded me of the interview Tim Russert did with Suzanne Haik Terrell during the 2002 US Senate race in Louisiana. That glazed over look when it became very evident logic wasn’t supporting what she was saying (submissive = respectful?), looked very familiar. It looked much like Terrel when she was cornered on her past pro choice speeches.

      • ottovbvs

        This is just tactical presentation, it really has nothing to do with her reality as an authentic voice of the rabidly rightwing conservative base. In that respect she’s real and she probably believes in 95% of the ideology she preaches. I don’t see how you can get much more real than that.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          I’m totally agreed with Otto here. I have no doubt Bachmann believes 100 per cent of the theofascist nuttery she professes– and even more. So much more, that it is politically dangerous for her to express the full degree of her views, knowing, as she no doubt does, that such expression would make her totally unelectable. Not, of course, that she is electable in the first place.

          Note the way she danced around the gay question, and also note the pathetic way in which Gregory let her get away with it: she said, in reponse to his quesiton about allowing gays to serve in her administration, that anyone who shared her views was qualified to serve, thus implying that she’d hire gays who share her views. Of course, her primary view on gays is that they don’t even qualify as full human beings, so no self-respecting gay could ever possibly serve in a Bachmann Administration. It was an artful dodge, and David Gregory should be taken out and shot for letting her do it with impunity.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        NWHAS: I remember that interview– and it makes me cringe. It was a huge shame that Suzie Terrell had to sell out to the religious right to even have a prayer of winning that election.

        I remember when she responded to Russert’s question about her position on abortion by insisting that she opposed it in all circumstances, even when the life of the mother is endangered or in cases resulting from rape or incest. It was a stupid waffle, since everyone in LA knew that Emily’s List had endorsed her in both of her NO City Council elections and in her ’99 race of elections commish.

        A huge shame, I repeat, that (1) she went wobbly on the issue and that (2) the vagaries of Southern GOP politics required her to do so in the first place. Terrell is one of the most honest and competent officeholders Louisiana has had in the past generation. She did a terrific job of eliminating corruption and civil rights abuses from Louisiana’s notoriously awful elections system. She would have been a fine addition to the U.S. Senate, and of course a far better AG than that drunken old imbecile Charlie Foti or that corrupt slimebag Buddy Caldwell (who will probably be shown the door next month by the hilariously delightful and charming Joesph Cao).

        • nwahs

          She (Terrell) is in most circumstances, very honest. She wasn’t in that interview. But like you said, she had already caved to the religious right and when Russert’s questions became pointed, it was as if she crawled into the fetal position. I got that same feeling when Gregory’s questions shifted to religion with Bachmann. Now maybe for very different reasons ( trying to tone down her religion?), but like Terrell, she is no poker face.

          I don’t think she was being “real” in the interview. I think she (Bachmann) was being deceptive.

          BTW, are you a transplant? You seem adept in Louisiana politics.

          Washington Parish, I’d get, but Washington State? :)

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          NWHAS, I am in fact a transplant, though not from Louisinana, but Connecticut. I just happen to find the melodrama and bloodlust– and even the downright sordidness– of Louisiana politics highly entertaining.

  • bwaltman

    Why doesn’t anyone in the media force Bachmann to explain her bizarre economic theories? She claims to believe that the federal government could make ends meet without raising the debt ceiling. This belief is both irresponsible and insane Of every dollar that the federal government spends, 43 cents is borrowed money. To achieve a balanced budget overnight, therefore, you would need to cut 43% of government spending immediately. Imagine that process and then think about what is going on in Michelle Bachmann’s mind. Aside from the immediate 43% cut, the only other options are increased taxes (which could never happen for any reason or under any circumstances) or a default on our loans. When will the media press her on this and force her to face the madness?

    • valkayec

      Not just Bachmann, but the whole of the GOP today. Not one single member of the GOP has stated how they’d achieve a balanced budget now because they know that they’d be voted out of office in the next election. So, they play rhetorical and semantic games that deceive people into believing false ideas.

    • roubaix

      After the debt ceiling talk, she complained that Obama mentioned delays in Social Security/military payments — as if he was being deliberately cold-hearted to senior citizens.

      DG never pressed her on that logic, but how would the gov’t pay money that it doesn’t have and can’t borrow?

    • Houndentenor

      What is we start with cutting the Medicaid payments to Marcus Bachmann’s clinic? That’s nowhere near 43% of the budget, but it’s a start. If people say they want to balance the budget then let them refuse to take any money from the government. I wonder how many will put their money where their mouths are? They talk like libertarians but act like socialists. Let’s call them out on their hypocrisy.

  • NRA Liberal

    “Bipartisan agreement in the business community”. Jesus Christ.

    Bachmann represents those who feel that “bipartisan agreement in the business community” is responsible for everything fucked up about this country.

    I am totally opposite her as far as economic ideology, but her anti-TARP stance speaks for me, and I’d consider voting for her.

    • ottovbvs

      “but her anti-TARP stance speaks for me”

      Yes much better to let the financial system and auto industries collapse and precipitate a new great depression. Makes entire sense. The benefits to ordinary Americans would have been immense.

    • Primrose

      The whole desire to turn America into a conservative evangelical theocracy doesn’t bother you in comparison to TARP?

  • Chris Balsz

    “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

    So what’s your complaint? That this representative kept to her own judgment?

    What you want is not democracy, but technocracy. It seems clear you would prefer she had listened, not to a poll, or her own judgment, but to settled interests and their professional lobbyists.

    • WaStateUrbanGOPer

      No, Balzs, Andrew’s complaint isn’t that Bachmann “kept to her own judgment,” but that her “own” judgment (as to be distinguished from her husband’s judgment, to whom she purportedly submits?) is simply awful: a product of (1) the fundamentalist brainwashing she received from her ‘professors’ at Oral Roberts University and from her elders and peers in the Dominionist movement, (2) an inabililty to think skeptically, and of course (3) the dismal powers of ratiocination that come with being, well, an imbecile.

      • Chris Balsz

        But, under the Burkean formula, you have absolutely no business complaining to her about it. She won an election, and you are the hoi polloi.

        • WaStateUrbanGOPer

          Where, in all of the work of Edmund Burke, does he say or even imply that a reasonably educated person (as distinct from mere “hoi polloi”) shouldn’t question the judgment of his leaders?

          The passage you quoted above only means that elected representatives should not be bound by the frivilous opinions of their constituents; it does not mean that serious questions about their judgment should be dismissed out of hand.

          In most circumstances, I am not one for attributing views on current events to persons who have been dead for over two hundred years, but in this case I’m fairly confident that Edmunde Burke, if he were around today, and furthermore if he were a resident of Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, would not be reticent in questioning Michelle Bachmann’s judgment.

        • Chris Balsz

          No. Burke was calling for a separate, elite politician class distinct from the electorate.

          If you think a politician ought to heed the RIGHT advice from his constituents, then cease to trumpet Burke as the model of “civics”.

        • medinnus

          Actually, I kind of like that Bachmann isn’t a windsock, like Romney. I don’t agree with her on virtually anything, but I hold a sneaking affection for anyone who has the courage of their convictions, the occasional hypocracy (we’re all human, except for that animate mound of Smegma that posts here under a name that betrays his origins).

          I won’t support or vote for her, but I like that she’s consistent in her worldview.

          And I agree, sort of, with Balsz – she represents the people who adhere to her worldview very well. I also believe in the democratic principles of the country, which means that Obama – like him or not – is our President, not some usurper. If the nation elects Bachmann, then the country gets the kind of government they elected, fair and square.

          I won’t LIKE it, and it would probably take years to undo the damage, but *shrugs* we pays our taxes, we takes our chances.

        • MSheridan

          C’mon, you could at least read the context of the quote before you make statements about what Burke meant by it. Here’s the full text of his 1774 Speech to the Electors of Bristol:

          “I am sorry I cannot conclude without saying a word on a topic touched upon by my worthy colleague. I wish that topic had been passed by at a time when I have so little leisure to discuss it. But since he has thought proper to throw it out, I owe you a clear explanation of my poor sentiments on that subject.

          He tells you that “the topic of instructions has occasioned much altercation and uneasiness in this city;” and he expresses himself (if I understand him rightly) in favour of the coercive authority of such instructions.

          Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

          My worthy colleague says, his will ought to be subservient to yours. If that be all, the thing is innocent. If government were a matter of will upon any side, yours, without question, ought to be superior. But government and legislation are matters of reason and judgment, and not of inclination; and what sort of reason is that, in which the determination precedes the discussion; in which one set of men deliberate, and another decide; and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?

          To deliver an opinion, is the right of all men; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a representative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instructions; mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience,–these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenor of our constitution.

          Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. I beg pardon for saying so much on this subject. I have been unwillingly drawn into it; but I shall ever use a respectful frankness of communication with you. Your faithful friend, your devoted servant, I shall be to the end of my life: a flatterer you do not wish for.”

          Those expressed sentiments could hardly be more different than the complexion you attempted to put upon his words.

  • Oldskool

    She’s a good example of what happens today when anyone says stupid things with the proper tempo, you get a round of applause. So like a trained animal, she goes for the immediate reward. Seems like we used to pride ourselves on being smart enough to boo people who said stupid things.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    Another terrific article by Andrew Pavelyev, defending genuine conservatism against the Tea Party Jacobins who claim the mantle of conservatism even thought they are clearly descended NOT from Burke or Buckley or Kirk but from populist yokel-baiters like Huey Long, Bryan and Jack Cade.

    • ottovbvs

      To be fair to the Kingfish and Bryan, their yokel baiting had as it’s goal to advance the economic interests of the yokels. This doesn’t apply to Bachmann although I agree she belongs to the genre of politicians.

      • WaStateUrbanGOPer

        I agree that Long, whatever the extent of his corruption, did genuinely care about the poor, especially poor rural whites. But Bryan was simply a culture war bigot and fundamentalist fanatic who, incidentally, made a few noises about poverty. He was animated by the same backwater cultural resentment and philistinism that animates Bachmanan, Sarah Palin and his many other populist descendants who plague today’s political culture.

        Bryan’s primary motivation in public life, as noted by Mencken, was simply to get his grubby hands around the collar of his superiors. Resentment and inferiority were his modus vivendi from the beginning of his political career– the so-called “cross of gold” evangelism that launched him as a worthy on the American scene– all the way to its sordid and pathetic end in Dayton, Tennessee.

  • Houndentenor

    She reminds me of every faux-conservative I know. She complains about big government but made every penny she has from government work or government contracts. She worked for the IRS and her husband’s clinic is mostly funded from Medicaid. She’s a hypocrite. She talks like a libertarian and acts like a socialist. Just like every right-winger I run across. The worked their whole lives for NASA contractors or for city/state/federal government jobs and then want the government to cut spending. Let’s start with their jobs first.

    • anniemargret

      I’m with you Houndtendor. So correct. I’ve met enough of these ‘conservatives’ who basically can’t stomach a half black guy in the White House. They will jump on any bandwagon if it means trashing the guy who sits in the Oval Office. It offends their ‘dignity’…that is what this is all about.

      Just listen to the TP….they want their country back. Their. Country. Who made it their country? They want to destroy social safety nets because they originate with the Democrats and Obama is a Democrat and we can’t have that. So they grasp their social safety nets with two hands to make sure their families get it, and then stomp and yell at their rallies.

      They are nothing but big hypocrites. Take the social programs from them. They can keep their tax dollars. Make sure the infrastructure around their real estate crumbles and falls, they can keep their tax dollars. Let them support the next big Republican war, if they dare. Hypocrites.

  • ottovbvs

    “She reminds me of every faux-conservative I know.”

    I don’t know if anyone saw it but there was hilarious picture taken as Obama’s bus rolled into town in Iowa yesterday. Little group of conservative protesters with in the middle an aged vet in the remnants of his uniform holding up a sign saying END SOCIALISED MEDICINE. Now since this guy bless his heart is undoubtedly the recipient of services from the VA, the most socialised branch of medicine in the US, go figure.

  • rockstar

    Does anyone else see the irony of “a scientist specializing in mathematical modeling in medicine [who] emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1992,” arguing that Michelle Bachmann, who has lived in this country and participated in the U.S. political system for her entire life, has no grasp of what the U.S. political system “really” requires of officeholders? On what planet is “a scientist specializing in mathematical modeling in medicine [who] emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1992,” the expert on U.S. government and Michelle Bachmann the novice?

    In the words of one Eurosceptic MEP, railing against the Eurocrats in Brussells, “Just who in the hell do you people think you are? You are very dangerous people.”

    • Primrose

      Well, if he is a citizen now, he would have had to take and pass a test on US government which Rep. Bachman would not. Citizenship does not automatically confer comprehension.

  • rockstar

    That’s not a real answer.

    • Primrose

      What? If he studied our government and she didn’t, that’s an explanation. Unless your point is that how dare a commie pinko egghead question a real American like Rep. Bachman, which is an emotional outburst not a rational comment.

      • Andrew Pavelyev

        Yep, passed the test in 1997 (BTW my photo is from the naturalization ceremony). But was fascinated with US govt well before arriving here. In 1988 listened to all Bush-Dukakis and Quayle-Bentsen debates on short-wave radio. About 4-5 a.m. Moscow Time. Already knew more than enough to pass the citizenship test.

        • Primrose

          Really? Of all the debates that might have glued me to a short wave, those were not it. (Smile) You really did geek out on our government. At any rate, good article.

  • rockstar

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. As are the voters.

    • ottovbvs

      “In the words of one Eurosceptic MEP, railing against the Eurocrats in Brussells, “Just who in the hell do you people think you are? You are very dangerous people.”

      Once you started (rather pathetically) attacking Pavelyev’s personal provenance rather than his opinions I’m afraid you disqualified yourself from this discussion. If we’re going start implying immigrants are somehow less American than anyone else where does this leave everyone from Carnegie to Arnie?

  • rockstar

    Otto, what I’m saying is that it strikes me as a tad odd that on Pavelyev’s world, some are more entitled to their opinion than others seem to be. 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong. And if 50 million Elvis fans want to vote for Michelle Bachman or anyone else, that’s their prerogative as Americans. America is not just what the elites decide it should be or has to be. I believe that’s why the Founders created the House of Representatives, or was that lesson conveniently dropped out of the all-important citizenship test we’re discussing?

    You see, I learned that lesson in, I’m guessing it was THE EIGHTH GRADE. And to imply that someone with a law degree and over ten years of legislative experience is so ignorant about the government of her own country that she has to essentailly repeat eighth grade civics as a refresher course is, to my mind, pretty insulting. As I said, Pavelyev is entitled to his opinion. But judging by this piece, his opinion seems about equal to than that of the average teenage know-it-all who wants to eat up class time and make himself the focus of attention.