Friday, August 1, 2014

Tea Party Debris: How Michele Bachmann has Made the GOP America's Spoof Party

by Nomad

If the Republicans have lost credibility among voters, they have only themselves to blame. Republicans should start asking why the Tea Party leaders like Michele Bachmann were allowed to make such a joke of their party? Where was the leadership?

We have all seen them and some of us have been fooled by them. Nowadays spoof news sites are everywhere on the Net, parodying the news. And these joke pieces can often sound quite convincing. I have seen endless rolls of roaring comments on FaceBook pages about news stories that were in fact completely imaginary.
As a blog writer who attempts to verify sources, it can be dangerous. I have very nearly used spoofed news as a source in the past before asking myself. "Does that even sound plausible?" Frankly, given the present state of politics in America at the moment, it's hard to know sometimes.

The Spoof that Wasn't
That's why when I saw this news story about Michelle Bachmann the other day, I hesitated and double-checked the source.  The title read:

Michele Bachmann Claims President Obama Wants To Use Unaccompanied Children For Medical Experiments

Reading and re-reading that headline, I was a little confused. After all, Right Wing Watch is most certainly not a news spoof site. The introduction seemed straight faced.
Rep. Michele Bachmann has a new theory about the unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America who have come in large numbers to the southern U.S. border: they are future victims of a liberal plot to use unwilling children for medical experiments..
Finally I decided- against my better judgment- that this was not a joke. Bachmann had actually said this. 
(For the sake of my readership, I've decided not to reproduce her claims. Why? Simply because I am not qualified to explore the minds of lunatics. If you are interested in an analysis of her delusions and how she came up with this particular fixation, then go to the link above.)
From Laughing-Stock...
Fortunately, the number of people who take Bachmann totally seriously has probably always been small. However, like The Incredible Shrinking Man, Bachmann's audience may be microscopic but it never quite vanishes entirely. 

In the past, Michele Bachmann has shown that no allegation against Obama is too foul or insulting or outrageous to pass up. Her refusal to just say "No" to the addiction of nuttiness has made her a regular guest on the Fox News Network. Because of that, throughout the Obama administration, Bachmann has unintentionally made a laughing stock of the Republican party. 

She famously advocated the abolition of minimum wage standards because it would "virtually wipe out unemployment completely." Chattel slavery is an even more effective cure, of course. 

Ms. Bachmann had  the poor taste to claim to disaster victims that a devastating hurricane and an earthquake were actually messages from cut spending. But perhaps the most amusing statement she has made was when she said that the Tea Party movement was "at its core is an intellectual movement."

Attacking patient privacy protections in the Affordable Care Act, Bachmann- speaking on the floor of Congress, mind you- once claimed that teenage girls could be spirited away on field trips during school days to local Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. She added. "Mom and Dad are never the wiser."

Keeping people none the wiser was something Bachmann recommended when, 
in 2009, she has condemned the coming US census. She explained that providing such information could lead to being sent to internment camps. (She spends a lot of her energy with propagating fascist imagery.)
As evidence, she cited the Japanese internment camps:
"I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against them to round them up in violation of their constitutional rights."
Her views on the US Census, critics suggested, might have had much more to do with fears that the results of accurate census information could lead to the loss of her district, Minnesota's 6th congressional district. (Despite spending a fortune on her re-election campaign, Bachmann won her district by the slimmest of margins.)

In any case, even shite-meister Glenn Beck refused to re-broadcast Bachmann's census warnings.

..To Genuine Danger
If there weren't so many people who actually believed the things this woman said we could all sit back and have a good laugh at her expense. 
However, her nonsense is more often than not irresponsible and downright dangerous.

For example, during her poorly managed presidential campaign, Bachmann announced that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine could lead to "very dangerous consequences" including mental retardation. (Presumably she was not speaking from first hand experience.)
But this is a serious matter that Bachmann is talking about here. 

According to health experts, more than 80% of American women will have contracted at least one strain of HPV by age fifty. About 20 million people in the U.S. are infected, and about 6.2 million more get infected each year. The vaccines have been shown to prevent potentially precancerous lesions of the cervix. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended vaccination for women up to 26 years of age. 
None of those facts matter to Bachmann when it comes to stirring the fears of the uninformed and easily-frightened. As a result, young women who listen to Bachmann's unsupported fear-mongering are risking their lives.

Coming from a a hate radio news jockey like Rush "Jelly-Roll" Limbaugh or Michael "the Weiner" Savage is one thing. A dismissive eye-roll and a shrug is enough of a reaction to any claim they make. 
However, Bachmann's case was somewhat different. This was a person who held a respected position in society. (Or at least as much respect as members of Congress can muster these days.) This is a woman who has been charged to represent her district and that is a duty that really ought to be taken more seriously by people of high quality.  

Even more shockingly, this woman served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence whose member are charged with, among other duties, the oversight of the United States Intelligence Community.

Debris of a Tea Party Queen
With her announcement on May 29, 2013 that she will not run again, the sorry saga of the politician Michele Bachmann is thankfully coming to a close. Apart from an FBI investigation into campaign funding irregularities, Bachmann can retire to a more peaceful life with her hubby.
No doubt she will join the speaking circuit, sharing her wisdom- such as it is- with the world for a hefty fee. Without question she will continue to mong her fear/laugh inducing rants in the comforts of Fox News studios.

However, the most amazing part of the Bachmann story is how few in the Republican party ever understood the horrendous damage that Bachmann was doing to her own party. Instead of telling her to "Stifle," they consistently turned and looked the other way no matter what she said. 

Old Guard Republican leadership was clearly unable (or unwilling) to confront Tea Party problem head-on. Besides the Queen of the Tea Party, Sarah "the Rogue" Palin, no one person best embodied the kind of preposterous wild-eyed hysteria than Congresswoman Bachmann.

Like Palin, Bachmann may soon no longer be in politics. However, the damage both of them have inflicted on the Republican party will remain for a long time. The Republican Party is in fact now a parody of what it once was and even die-hard Republican voters must be having second thoughts about the party's credibility. 

But if they clung to the hope that the GOP would regain its sanity. those hopes were formally dashed this week. Speaker of the House John Boehner made the astounding claim that the Republicans have never supported the idea of impeaching the president - despite ample evidence going back 5 years. 

Backed by a straight-faced members of his party, he stood before the press and attempted to blame all this impeachment talk on a Democratic/White House conspiracy to raise campaign funding.

Could he actually be accusing the Democrats of stirring unwarranted fears for political advantage? It seem so but then he appears to have contradicted that claim as well.

The Speaker of the House called it a "scam" created by Democrats while bizarrely, in the same article, the mainstream media pointed out that
Boehner has emphasized several times publicly that he disagrees with former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other conservatives pushing impeachment over their claims Obama’s grossly exceeded his executive authority.
How can it be both?  Is Sarah Palin a Republican? And what about the numerous other conservatives? Are they in on this Democratic scam too? None of it made any sense - except maybe to somebody three sheets to the wind. 
It begs the question: Who exactly is scamming whom?  

No matter what Boehner says..back in May 2013, there was Michele Bachmann:

That's exactly the kind of leadership, the kind of disturbing false narrative that has infected the GOP from the Bachmann bottom to the Boehner top. With this completely false announcement by Boehner, the GOP officially became a spoof party. 

And Grand Old Party has the outgoing Ms. Michele Bachmann to thank for it.