Thursday, July 14, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Silly

As Act II, Scene 74 in the melodrama that is Debt Ceiling Monster Horror Chiller Theater grinds on in Swamplandia, D.C., there's a burlesque act with really cheap seats playing out in the Heartland.  It's known as Michele Bachmann Runs for President.  In the latest episode, Michele signs an anti-pornography pledge and states that marriage is the fundamental unit of government. 
Then she has a dream in which God tells her she is destined to become Pope Queen of America.  Here, direct from her dream to our nightmare, is a sneak preview of what Michele will be wearing to her Inaugural Ball in January 2013:

Warrior Queen of the New American Theocracy

So while Barack Obama is casting himself as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and offering to sacrifice his very presidency in a heroic act of martyrdom for something not quite clear, Michele is offering us her own version of fantasy politics.  If you're bored with the roguish antics of geeky Eric Cantor, the vapid smiling of Nancy Pelosi ("President Obama was so gra-a-a-a-cious"), the tortoise-like, face-saving blinking of Mitch McConnell of the KickCan faction of the GOP, here are a few of my favorite Bachmann pearls of wisdom to get you through these hazy crazy days of summer:

I think marriage is very important, it's the fundamental unit of our government.

I'm not a deep thinker on all of this.  I wish I was.  I wish I was more knowledgeable, but I'm not a scientist.

But we also know that the very Founders that wrote these documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.

 It would be fun to have someone in the WhiteHouse who has worked in the private sector... and someone who understands that wealth creation is a good thing and they want more of it. Wealth is good.

We're running out of rich people in this country.

It isn't that I was born thinking I had to be president. I'm getting a lot of encouragement to run from people across the country. I don't believe this is a rash decision.

I think you may see again a rise at the federal government level for a call for the federal constitutional amendment, because people want to make sure that this definition of marriage remains secure, because after all, the family is the fundamental unit of government. 
Notice that the first and last quotes seem to equate the words "marriage" and "family" as the fundamental government units in Michele's brain --  possibly displacing the executive and judicial branches.  Of course, these words are thinly disguised code in the right wing dictionary of homophobonics. "Ex-gay" is another fun phrase. It makes about as much sense as unwed mother Bristol Palin's revirgination abstinence miracle.  But as Michele readily admits, she is no deep thinker and no scientist, and therein lies her populist appeal.  Freedom from thought is one of the hallmarks of fascism. 


Napoleon said...

Karen's commentary shows what a perilous time it is in which we now live, with elected governmental officials all around gone bonkers and trashing functions they should be performing as public servants. Politics is very serious and can't be taken for granted, the lives and welfare of too many depend upon it. As bad as it is, it can't be assumed it can't become worse.

On the Republican side, the number of people acting badly is without precedent. The train on which they are moving has no brakes. They are willing to sacrifice the wealth, health, well-being, hopes, and ability to participate effectively in electoral politics, of the vast majority of citizens in order to buttress the increasing wealth and power of a small percentage of the population. Bachmann , who said on Good Morning America today that she was opposed to going 'negative', has been nothing but negative, a prime reason why the press promotes her.

As for president Obama, he was selected as the Democratic nominee in part because progressives had become sick of the Clintons and their policies. Even today, secretary of state Clinton is more hawkish towards war than many military leaders. Were she president, the nation most likely would already be at war with Iran, probably with Syria, and likely with North Korea. In the rush away from the Clintons, liberals didn't take a close enough look at Obama and press him to explain why he voted 'absent' so many times in the Illinois' legislature or how he defined a 'good' war or what the consequences would be of expanding the war of Afghanistan or how committed he was to defending the basic tenets of the Democratic Party. This lack of scrutiny should not be repeated with respect to what actions liberal should take concerning the next presidential election or nomination process.

What is wrong with the Democratic Party is exemplied by what Karen depicts in her commentary. This transcends Obama. The failure to have a Democratic alternative to Obama and the failure of Democrats to make consistently a case against some of Obama's approaches, are failures that don't belong to Obama. They are factors liberals must weigh in assessing their options for the next election. The behavior of Republcans also transcends Obama.

On Obama, Karen hits the nail on the head in describing Obama as willing "to sacrifice his very presidency in a heroic act of martyrdom for something not quite clear". Obama negotiates towards the middle of whatever extremes are presented, believing this is heroic or an act of martyrdom, without a sense of anything being clear to him other than that is heroic, an act of martyrdom, and near the middle.

What Democrats need in Obama is a standard bearer who in his stances educates the populace in a way that connects with them. Obama shrinks from this, either because of inability or fear (including fear of revealing his true values or inclinations). I think a lot of this comes from the former though I recognize that many progressives think it is the latter. But whatever the cause, it doesn't determine definitively options progressives should pursue for the next election. Progressives, I believe, need more time before choosing their options.

4Runner said...

"The family is the fundamental unit of government". Yes, but only in the Unit States of America.

"We're running out of rich people in this country". But only because they've gone from rich to super-rich/wealthy.

"The very Founders that wrote these documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States". Especially Thomas Jefferson, who worked tirelessly impregnating his fave slave.

VLT said...

I once heard a former concentration camp survivor speak to a small group. The thing that he said that has stayed with me for twenty-five years is that at first, in Germany, everyone laughed at the Brown Shirted Nazis. Hitler and his henchmen were a joke - no one took them seriously. Yet, look at what they were able to do – the damage they were able to bring about to both Germany and the rest of Europe - given the time to insinuate themselves into government and power. I felt the same way about Bush when he first said he planned to run for president. I thought, "What a boon for liberals. We have Gore (smart) and Bush (stupid), the American people aren't going to elect a stupid man over an intelligent one!" And look what happened. I didn’t think Bush would get the Republican nomination let alone be their candidate of choice.

These people ARE a joke - a travesty - but it would be foolish to dismiss them and to underestimate the ease with which the electorate can be manipulated into supporting them at the polls. We in America, are not discriminating consumers of information and” common sense” and reason are rare qualities these days in the good ole U.S. of A.

We should also remember that there were people behind the scenes pulling the strings of both Bush and Reagan (particularly in his last years in office). We shouldn’t doubt that while these clownish conservatives with their ridiculous and irrational messages are out in front of the cameras making blunders right and left, behind the curtain they are being controlled by people who prefer to remain in the shadows. And don’t doubt it, THESE shadowy figures are diabolically clever.

James F Traynor said...

All this reminds me of the current Italian government under Berlesconi. Or maybe it's always been that way - they just don't care anymore if we know about it. Wall Street and the banks got away scot free for trashing the economy. The feds have legalized torture by another name. And Fox News is triumphant. Their cups runneth over.

And to tell the truth about Tommy Jefferson, she was likely the half sister of his dead wife, probably a quadroon, and bearing a strong resemblance to her half sister, according to the other slaves. In the end he freed their offspring but the others were sold. A lot of 'family values' there. Yep, the founders were a mixed bunch, a goodly number were self serving shits.

Anne Lavoie said...

In regard to Obama willing "to sacrifice his very presidency in a heroic act of martyrdom for something not quite clear", I have a hunch what this is all about.

President Winning the Future suspects he is not going to win re-election and he is now constructing a plausible reason to explain it in order to save face and look like a heroic figure for his legacy and Presidential Library instead of a loser.

He wants to be able to fail for a worthy cause, except that there is not really a cause except HIMSELF, as usual.

4Runner said...

To VLT: a minor quibble. You say Dubya was "stupid"--I disagree. After all, he was smart enough to be head cheerleader @ Yale, right? But seriously, wasn't his problem one of ignorance, rather than stupidity? Ignorance being a lack of information (or presence of misinformation) as opposed to stupidity, caused by mental inabilities. For me, what is driving the decline of the US is a preponderance of ignorance---or as author Ashley Montague called it a few decades ago, the prevalence of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"We should also remember that there were people behind the scenes pulling the strings of both Bush and Reagan (particularly in his last years in office). We shouldn’t doubt that while these clownish conservatives with their ridiculous and irrational messages are out in front of the cameras making blunders right and left, behind the curtain they are being controlled by people who prefer to remain in the shadows. And don’t doubt it, THESE shadowy figures are diabolically clever."

Really Vallery who would "These People" be that "pulled those strings"? That sounds positively paranoid. Here is a thought possibly they are still there and doing the same thing to President Obama as we speak. That would explain his "grand sellout of the Left" wouldn't it?


Karen Garcia said...

Excuse me Valerie if I jump in and reply to Richard. Nothing paranoid about pointing to the string pullers. You want names, I'll give you names: Grover Norquist, whose anti-tax pledge is a requirement for all congressman; the Koch Brothers; Karl Rove and his bottomless bag of cash, etc., etc. Michele Bachmann got her start with Lloyd Dobson's radical Christian right group, Focus on the Family. She blends the anti-tax meme with the culture wars. The Democrats have G.E., the banks and neo-liberal think tanks. We probably know less about the shadow govt running the current Democratic party than we do about the Republicans. But it's all coming out.

Anne Lavoie said...

I just read a comment elsewhere that got me thinking. If Obama is this far right when he still needs votes from Democrats, can you imagine what he would be like in a second term when he doesn't? Now THAT is truly scary, considering who he surrounds himself with, and the praise he gets from the Chamber of Commerce.

John in Lafayette said...


You are correct that we should not simply dismiss Bachmann as somme loony (although I do lone the way Letterman continues to refer to her as O'Bachmann). She needs to be countered simply because there are plenty of ignorant and/or stupid people out there who will fall for her sort of inasanity if it is left unchallenged.

Someone calling him/herself Dim had a great response to David Brooks' column this morning, one I hope (s)he won't mind my reprinting here:

"We are now living through the death of an empire but it certainly feels more like the suicide of an empire. I am not sure but I think I would rather experience the collapse under external pressure from enemies than this internal mental decay. I just hope that this is not what it feels like before a fascist party comes to power."

James F Traynor said...

Yes, where will Obama stand during his second term? That's something that has been troubling me. The only encouraging signs I can see are the appointments of Kagan and Sotomayor. But we are dealing with a very clever man here and he knew when he made them that the appointments were not pivotal, given the current lineup. And he has, actuarially speaking, a long life ahead of him. And he is ambitious. And he knows where the money is. I think there's a lot to worry about in a second term for Obama.

Ciara said...

I've tried hard to understand Barack Obama and what his purposes are. As near as I can tell, his sole goal in becoming president was to secure his own place in history. Becoming president was just a career-move!

No one in the MSM ever seems to mention that Obama did an interview, only a few months into his first term, in which he said that it would be "fine" with him if he turned out to be a one-term president. Of course, we didn't yet know at that time that he would become the Capitulator-in-Chief, so it wasn't entirely clear what he was saying.

I remember being very alarmed even then because his words suggested that he cared only about himself, and did not care about the country. Was he really unable to foresee that if he were a one-term president, that meant that the country would in four years be back in the hands of Republicans? was that really "okay" with him?

If it turns out that Obama has not protected Social Security and Medicare, I doubt very much that I will vote Democratic in 2012 -- and I can't tell you how much it shocks me to say those words. However, if he has not done that much, then he is really and truly useless. And the only thing to do with the Democratic party at that point will be to starve it to death and hope that something will arise in its place.

I've been a proud yellow-dog Democrat all my adult life. Yet Barack Obama is willing to forfeit my electoral support. Has anyone noticed that this guy just really doesn't believe in politics? I'm trying so hard to think he stands for something other than his own career trajectory -- can anyone give me a reason to continue thinking that?

Anonymous said...

@ Karen,

My point exactly! Valery makes it sound like it's the illuminati. So we know where the Republicans are coming from agreed. Where are the people pulling the strings today coming from? Who are they? What is their agenda? You are correct we know little yet Obama is The President and is likely to remain so for a 2nd term.


Napoleon said...

Despite already being disheartened by the 'unbecoming conduct' of most Republican legislators and the feeble efforts of too many Democratic legislators in rising to the defense of the Democrat's traditional goals, it was painful reading in the Washington Post today that "The (Treasury) department is projected to face a $20 billion shortfall on Aug. 3 and must pay back $87 billion in debt on Aug. 4. And Aug. 15, Treasury must pay $29 billion interest to bond investors", (



What made it painful was knowing that president Obama has spent $24 billions more than the total of these debts for the Afghan war in the years 2009 and 2010 alone.

Making matters worse, the amount of increase in the debt ceiling being sought is about twice the minimal estimate of the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars while the cost of the wars is itself approximately half the two trillion dollars now sought by Boehner in the debt ceiling negotiations. Yet, today, at his press conference, Obama said the conservative Simpson-Bowles Commission attempted to cut too much of the military budget given that the nation is at war. Thus, does war blind and destroy. Going to war should require an impact statement disclosure.

Anne Lavoie said...

Going to war SHOULD require a financial impact statement! Now there is the seed of a great constitutional amendment if I ever heard one. Thank you, Napoleon, for your enlightened suggestion.

Of course if the Commander in Chief announces we will only be involved for "weeks, not months", and that is simply "kenetic activity" or whatever the latest euphemism/lie is for war, I guess he can weasel out of that one too.

Saying we can't touch the military budget because we are at war(s) is like saying we cannot change Presidents during times of war. We're always at war! What a way to ensure continuity of both.

I suppose that's one good reason why Obama will not be ending any of his or Bush's wars anytime soon. Seems like he's now a member of the War-A-Week Club.