Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vote Bachmann off the island

Michele Bachmann needs help.

She needs a grammar tutor, a history lesson, and maybe some diversity sensitivity training. But more than anything else, she needs a tour guide who can lead her to the exit doors of this Republican presidential race.

She's a bigoted, right-wing, anti-government evangelical extremist, and her campaign, despite the early guidance of Ed Rollins, still has yet to recognize the inherent philosophical conflict of having a candidate who boasts, simultaneously but without irony, of being a Constitutionalist and a stalwart Creationist.

She's running as a Tea Party candidate despite the Tea Party's embarrassing approval rating, and though she benefits from the same mocking media attention that made Sarah Palin a national icon, the majority of Americans can't take her seriously, as her five percent polling numbers very clearly demonstrate.

We pay attention, Democrats at least, not because we're concerned, patriotic, and open-minded Americans and she's a viable candidate whose opinions elevate the foreign and domestic policy debates of this presidential election, but because, at heart, we're all blood-thirsty sadists who cackle in response to her gaffes and cheer like stoned frat kids at a football game whenever she steps forward claiming to represent the Republican Party.

It's not just her falsifications that are despicable, it's the desperation in her shrieking voice whenever she's on stage attempting to debate with domestic policy wonks like Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, or true evangelicals like Rick Santorum, or foreign relations geeks like Jon Huntsman. She's out of her league, and everybody but Bachmann knows it.

It's time for the GOP field to start shedding its third-string candidates, and for that five percent of Republicans who consistently tell pollsters that Bachmann is their favorite presidential contender, the straw that ought to break their backs came on November 12 during the CBS News/National Journal debate on foreign policy.

In response to a question asking whether or not she would allow the use of torture if she were miraculously elected commander in chief, Bachmann responded with an unequivocal "Yes."

"If I was president, I would use waterboarding because it was effective," she said. "Barack Obama is using the ACLU to run the CIA. We have no CIA interrogation anymore. It's as though Obama has decided to lose the War on Terror."

I'm not one so quickly to forgive those who shamelessly butcher the English language, but in this instance her usage of the past-tense conjugation "was" where she should have used a past tense subjective "were" in conjunction with the future-tense auxiliary "would" is secondary to the grave offenses and utter falsehoods of this statement.

The entire response is bullshit.

1) Waterboarding isn't effective, and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest otherwise.

2) The crack on the ACLU is commonplace among Republicans but not necessarily logical. The GOP's criticism and skepticism of the ACLU is akin to McCarthyism, and yet no conservative would ever acknowledge the utter hypocrisy of demagoguing an organization that represents Americans whose civil liberties, as guaranteed in the Constitution, have been violated. As a factual statement, this is absurd.

3) Remember the big media blitz following President Obama's executive order banning all guns of every kind in every city in America? Really? You missed it? It was front-page news in every paper in the country! It ran as a split banner story next to the other big news item of the year – the story about how the United States has stopped interrogating prisoners of war. It was a good article. Look it up on Google by typing "CIA ends interrogation."

4) On this one, Bachmann has a point. If Barack Obama's decision to end the United States's egregious violation of international law by discontinuing the Bush Administration's uses of "cruel and unusual punishment" isn't proof that Obama has "decided to lose the War on Terror," then the sky isn't blue and the earth is a one-dimensional triangle. Never mind that Obama killed Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. Never mind that he facilitated the emancipation of the Libyan people from a murderous dictator. The fact that Obama has given an emphatic thumbs down to waterboarding is evidence that he's a secret Muslim spy who's aiding future terrorist attacks on American soil.

Stupid people barking anti-government bromides are entertaining in the short term, but when it comes time to elect a president, or a vice president, intelligence matters. Michele Bachmann has none.

She's more than a slow-motion car accident. She's an eccentric, talent-devoid sideshow performer competing for the lead role in the psychobabble routine in an already overcrowded and unpopular Republican presidential political circus.

Being on the Intelligence Committee obviously doesn't require intelligence, because if it did Bachmann would know that practically drowning prisoners of war is significantly less effective in extracting useful information than promising virgins in heaven. And being a mother of 28 – which Bachmann has made the core of her candidacy – obviously isn't seen by the majority of Americans as a prerequisite for being the leader of the free world, as public opinion polls made clear a week after Bachmann won the Ames, Iowa straw poll and (very, very) briefly spurred national speculation of her possible-but-never-realized frontrunner potential.

There's a reason she's polling near the bottom of the pack, but there's no reason for her to continue this crusade. She should drop out of the race and go back to doing what good evangelical conservative Constitutionalist Creationist bigots do when they're not vying for the presidency – introducing obsolete bills in Congress reaffirming the dollar as the official U.S. currency, spreading conspiracies about how Sharia law might one day "usurp" the U.S. Constitution, and helping her husband cure gay people of their affliction.

Bachmann is an embarrassment to all who have ever taken pride in calling themselves Republican. It's time she gets voted off the island, and it's past time the voters in the sixth congressional district of Minnesota get a grammar tutor, a history lesson, and some diversity sensitivity training so they can vote this pock mark on the American government out of office.

The world would be a better place.
(Cross-posted at Muddy Politics.)

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