Entries Tagged as 'Michele Bachmann'

Steal This Defense of Marcus Bachmann

July 15th, 2011 at 9:21 am 114 Comments

The controversy surrounding the clinic owned by Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, is getting more personal, and conservatives don’t seem to be doing much about it. On his show on Wednesday, Jon Stewart not only mocked Bachmann and her husband for their views on homosexuality, he also suggested that Marcus himself might be repressing his true sexual orientation, something that Jon Stewart deduced from Marcus’s dancing skills vocal intonations:

It’s not only Stewart, Gawker has a round up of celebrities who are questioning Marcus’s orientation. The Second City have released a comedic video showing the strain this puts on the Bachmann’s married life, and one LGBT blogger even suggested that Marcus would be “a fine First Lady if nothing else.”

Despite the damage this could do to Bachmann, conservatives are avoiding the meme and are not attacking liberals or Jon Stewart. The right will defend Bachmann taking money from Medicaid and argue that her old Church calling the Pope the Anti-Christ is not a controversy, but there has been a curious radio silence from the right on the questions about Marcus’s orientation.

Since a discussion about Marcus’s treatment in the media on this issue seems largely absent from the conservative blogosphere, he has had to fend for himself in interviews about his clinic. At the time of this posting, FrumForum was only able to find one blog post at The Blaze which raised concerns over the “The mean-spirited commentary” which this meme was developing. The only other sites which are discussing this and wondering if it might be crossing a line are Slate and Outside the Beltway.

That lack of conservative damage control is strange because this line of questioning could do a lot of damage to Bachmann’s campaign. It’s one thing to have a husband who runs a clinic that “treats” homosexuality. It raises the stakes to suggest that he is running the clinic as a way of dealing with his own repressed urges.

It adds to the impression that social conservatives are homophobic because of their inability to admit their own sexuality.

The silence about Marcus is especially surprising since the conservative movement attacked Jon Stewart for many lesser offenses in the past, (see, Andrew Klavan calling Stewart a bully, or one Breitbart’s bloggers calling Stewart “a left wing hatchet man disguised as a satirist”)

The conservative movement might be choosing to ignore the issue because they think there is no good way to spin this: they had pinned their hopes on Bachmann being able to overcome any social conservative baggage she may have and win the Republicans nomination with her fiscal conservative Tea Party credentials. Now it seems that her husband’s activities look set to drag her back into the religious culture war territory that conservatives would prefer not to campaign on.

While I agree with fellow FrumForum contributor Ron Hill that “reparative” therapy is harmful and that there are serious ethical questions that Marcus Bachmann must answer, the silence of the conservative movement suggests a lack of imagination of ways they can defend Bachmann’s campaign.

Why not say that Marcus might have once been gay but now has put those urges under control through reparative treatment and his clinic is a testament to how he wants others to have the same opportunities he has had? Sure it would appear bizarre to a large segment of the population but perhaps that message would resonate with social conservatives who don’t see what the fuss about Bachmann’s clinic is about. If nothing else, that defense would at least force conservatives who supported Bachmann because of her fiscal issues to wonder exactly what they signed up for when they decided to support her and give her the cover-magazine treatment on both National Review and the Weekly Standard.

There is No Light Bulb “Ban”

July 11th, 2011 at 7:55 am 129 Comments

As has been written about here before, a group of GOP lawmakers, including Joe Barton (TX) and Michele Bachmann (MN), have stirred up—along with their talk radio and Fox News cohorts—public concern over what they say is a looming “ban” on incandescent light bulbs.

There is no looming ban or phase out of incandescent bulbs. The entire hullabaloo is based on a fictitious claim manufactured by Barton.

All major lighting manufacturers, including Philips, Sylvania and GE, currently produce and sell incandescent light bulbs that meet or exceed the new standards (with no compromise in functionality). In fact, the lighting industry helped craft the 2007 legislation with the full understanding that they could produce incandescent bulbs that meet them.

Unfortunately, these easy-to-prove facts have not prevented Barton, Bachmann and others from pushing legislation to scuttle the new standards. Barton’s legislation, dubbed “The Better Use of Light Bulbs Act” (H.R. 2417), is scheduled for a floor vote in the House of Representatives this evening.

The bulb ban rhetoric is a deliberate misrepresentation of a provision of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (ESIA) that sets efficiency standards for general-purpose screw-in incandescent light bulbs. The new standards—for what the industry calls “medium screw-based bulbs”—are set to take effect in January.

Major lighting manufacturers helped draft the new standards so that they could avoid a patchwork of state standards. They are fighting the repeal proposal because it threatens to strand the investments they have made to retool and produce lighting products that meet the standards.

In addition to claiming that the incandescent bulb is being banned and that we are all going to be forced to use compact fluorescent lighting (CFL), Barton is also saying that bulbs meeting the new standards are cost prohibitive.

Again, not true. A Philips incandescent bulb that meets the new standards currently sells for $1.49, lasts about 50 percent longer than older incandescent bulbs, and saves consumers more than $3.00 in energy expenditures. For four bucks you can buy an incandescent that lasts 3000 hours and nets you more than $10 in energy savings.

If you want to save even more energy you can buy CFL or LED bulbs. While LEDs cost more, the energy savings are about $150 per bulb and they last so long you might want to bequeath them to your children.

Barton’s irresponsible and embarrassing legislation would accomplish nothing good. It would provide consumers with inferior products that burn out faster and result in higher energy bills. It would threaten the lighting industry’s investment dollars. It would waste energy and result in more pollution.

And for what, a fanciful narrative about how the big bad government is taking away our lighting choices?

The actual genesis of this narrative was last year’s battle over who would chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton, who wanted a waiver to serve another term as chairman, decided to misrepresent the lighting standards in an attack on Fred Upton, his opponent, for helping craft them. Barton passed this accusation along to his pals on talk radio and the rest is history.

The total lunacy of Barton’s legislation caused one bright bulb in the GOP caucus, Roscoe Bartlett (Md) to fire off a Dear Colleague letter urging other members to oppose the bill and pointing out in bold type “There is NO BAN on incandescent bulbs to repeal.

Legislation establishing common-sense efficiency standards for energy-using equipment has traditionally enjoyed overwhelming support from conservatives. The first such legislation was signed into law 25 years ago by President Ronald Reagan. Thanks to the legislation enacted by Reagan and similar laws signed by his successors, Americans are saving billions of dollars on their utility bills.

Waste is not conservative, and voting to pass Barton’s whacky BULB Act, which is based on a totally fictitious premise, would be indefensible.

Barton has already managed to bully Upton into pulling a Pawlenty and reversing course. It will be interesting to see how many other Republicans are willing to suspend reality and venture into Barton’s fantasyland.

Bachmann Claims the Intellectual High Ground

David Frum June 28th, 2011 at 9:54 am 43 Comments

Michelle Bachmann describes herself as having a “strong academic, scholarly background.”

(CNN) – Newly declared Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann defended her past gaffes Tuesday by touting her background as an attorney and small business owner.

“People can make mistakes and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can’t,” Bachmann said on CNN’s “American Morning.” “But one thing people know about me is that I’m a substantive, serious person and I have a strong background.”

The Minnesota congresswoman addressed her most recent slip up when she incorrectly said movie star John Wayne was born in Waterloo, Iowa, Bachmann’s native city and the site of her presidential announcement Monday. Wayne was born in nearby Winterset.

“John Wayne’s parents first home was in Waterloo, Iowa and he was from Iowa and of course the main point I was making are the sensibilities of John Wayne, which is patriotism, love of country, standing up for our nation, that positive enthusiasm is what America’s all about,” Bachmann said. “And that’s of course my main point.”

When asked if it is harder to prove herself because of her gender, the three term representative said “people just need to know what a person’s background is.”

“I’m introducing myself now to the American people so that they can know that I have a strong academic scholarly background, more important I have a real life background,” Bachmann said.

People can judge this claim for themselves. But doesn’t it raise eyebrows that after so many genuine intellectuals spent the years 2008 and 2009 denigrating the importance of intellectuality in politics, it takes Michelle Bachmann to remind us that intellectual attainment in a politician should be regarded as a plus?

Bachmann Makes
a Strong Debut

June 13th, 2011 at 10:57 pm 38 Comments

So how did the substance of the Republican candidates debate relate to what we were on the lookout for?

No one attacked Romney. Surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s position as putative GOP front runner was not directly attacked or challenged by anyone. CNN’s moderator John King tried to goad Pawlenty into explaining why he characterized the Obama healthcare law as “Obamaneycare” and Pawlenty was not eager to take the bait. There were also no direct attacks on Romney’s abortion record. Perhaps the candidates think its too early to go negative.

Ron Paul Was the Biggest Sideshow. More than any other candidate, Ron Paul’s answers were characterized by meandering rambles. This was facilitated by a New Hampshire political reporter who kept asking him questions which elicited predictable answers. Why would you ask Ron Paul: “Do you support eminent domain?” Of course Ron Paul does not, and his answer about eminent domain turned into a digression on the housing bubble.

A Hint of Pawlenty’s Medicare Plan. We did not get any firm details from Tim Pawlenty, but we did get a small peak at his Medicare proposal. It sounds like it will keep the Ryan-budget model of having different care options for people 55 and younger. It might be different by keeping Medicare as an option for those 55 and under while also introducing some sort of competition with a private insurance scheme. It’s still not clear how this would work in practice.

Unexpected Standout: Michele Bachmann. Bachmann was well prepped for this debate. She used the forum to announce she was formally running for President — a blatant attempt to get more media attention, but it worked.

Most importantly, she gave answers that were clear and — in some instances — even memorable.Perhaps her best line was her description of the President’s handling of Libya: “All we need to know is that the President deferred leadership on Libya to France”. It managed to touch on both Obama’s apparent lack of engagement on the issue while still getting a jab in at France. A very crafty response.

Michele Bachmann: Bad Constitutionalist

April 13th, 2011 at 3:56 pm 10 Comments

Michele Bachmann’s recent statements on the budget fight show she still has a lot to learn about the U.S. Constitution.

In her criticism of the compromises being made, she made a commitment to vote “no” on any CR that did not completely defund Obamacare . This stalwart stance to cut funding is par for the course. However, her reasoning for this commitment is not.

While citing her pledge to cut spending for the American people, Bachmann misses a key point regarding the Constitution: Michele Bachmann’s voters elected her.  Yes, her voters are American citizens but that’s where the similarity stops.  Reading her statements gives a sense that she’s speaking for all of the American people as the leader of a unanimous movement. This type of rhetoric ignores many of the Constitutional principles that have guided the development of our country.

What would James Madison think? In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison argued that representative democracies are favorable to a pure democracy structure because representatives can distill and refine the public interest.  That’s why we created a republic. Bachmann seems to have reversed this representative relationship: developing policy decisions and gaining her legislative authority solely from the public.

Representation isn’t devoid of its institutional boundaries. It’s upsetting that many congressional members have taken the Bachmann route in defending their legitimacy as policymakers.  The American people give extremely low approval ratings to Congress and Bachmann fashions herself and other Tea Party representatives as leading a fight to change the arc of history. Ostensibly, this fight would occur to change congressional boundaries and alter the way business is conducted in Washington.

Republics work well when the members understand that they have a responsibility to protect the institution and their constituency. Pretending that you have a national mandate as a congressional representative is simply a misunderstanding of representational democracy. Bachmann and others using her rhetoric should take pains to understand that America was founded this way to avoid a pure democracy.  Turns out, pure democracies don’t work very well.  If Bachmann thinks differently, well, I would ask Ancient Greece about that one.


Bachmann Throws in the Towel

David Frum April 8th, 2011 at 4:53 pm 25 Comments

I think this Bachmann tweet is the Tea Party’s white flag.

I am ready for a big fight that will change the arc of history. The current fight in Washington is not that fight

Looks like: no shutdown.