The Island of Misfit Toys
Every time I start to worry about Republicans’ embarrassing overconfidence in their imminent “resurgence,” along comes Michele Bachmann, and I take heart.
Bachmann thoroughly rejected the idea of a social guarantee of health care, saying that the rights guaranteed in America’s founding ideals affirm “your right to own property, not necessarily the right or a guarantee to a specific item, to a specific service, like health care, or a to a specific piece of land. Rather, the underlying principle and the ideal is that if we choose, when we choose, we can choose to strive for as little or as much as we want, and once we acquire that property, nobody can take it away from us. That’s a radical idea, that what I provide belongs to me, not to the king, but it belongs to me. “
Ah, leave it to crazy Michele to even drop the 2nd amendment from the Bill of Rights; it seems to her that all the Founders cared about was property; evidently “e pluribus unum” was a typo for the real national motto, “I got mine.”
Bachmann also attacked the Obama administration’s latest budget and it’s trillion-plus deficit: “Our government is intentionally choosing failure, they’re choosing failure and they’re handing you the budget. How do you like them apples, and how are you going to pay for it? You have to give up up more of your private property, your pursuit of happiness, to pay for their failure. That’s what they’re doing to us.”
Never let the facts spoil a good teabagging. Despite the fact that only 2% or so of Americans have seen their taxes go up, and ignoring the structural deficit created by the Bush tax cuts, Bachmann conjures up for her credulous followers an alternative universe where Obama’s (imaginary) tax increases threaten our future and the Feds are coming to take away the RV parking next to your trailer.
An overriding theme was that the Obama administration is taking away the freedom of the American people, and reducing them to a subject population. “And the president also wants to raise your taxes to about 40 percent this year. When your taxes are raised to 40 percent, that means government is laying claim to owning 40 percent of you, of what you earn,” said Bachmann. “Think of it that way, because that isn’t just it, the federal income tax, you need to add to that Social Security tax, Medicare tax, state tax, county tax, city tax, township tax, school tax, metro authority tax, sales tax, gas tax. Pretty soon Uncle Sam owns more of you than you do. Is that America? And that’s government depriving you of your God-given right to the pursuit of happiness. That’s not what the Founders thought, they thought that should you should work for you, and you should work for your family, they weren’t about to condemn you to a life of indentured servitude. That’s not the great hope that they had for you, because they thought you were free. They respect you, they saw you as free people. And they knew that you could figure out your own future, you didn’t need to have them for that.”
This last part is the kookiest of all; as usual it invokes the dead, who seldom beg to differ, to support a tirade of Beckian nonsense that, in the end, is little more than a call to survivalist anarchy. On Planet Bachmann, the metro authority is in cahoots with the school board and state government to pick the patriotic pockets of the average teabagger, all directed by that sinister ringleader, President Obama. Boy does that guy get around. Best of all, she defines “America” as some sort of place where we ought to lay our own roads to get to work, home-school our children, burn our own garbage, dig our own wells, and practice frontier justice in the absence of courts and law enforcement. If this is the platform that is going to catapult her nutty party to the full-spectrum dominance they demand, well, good luck.
Like most Republicans, Bachmann needs to turn off FOX and get out more; Glenn Beck and the gang may have developed a Unified Theory of The World that has captured the addled brains of the 30 percenters, but selling such a crazy and unrealistic “program” so dishonestly, since all it means is handing over still more power to those who already control the lion’s share of the “property” already, seems unlikely to have broad appeal.
Of course, Bachmann may or may not actually believe her own propaganda, but the idea that Americans are going to rally for the continued upward transfer of wealth and power in the name of “freedom” and “property” seems like something of a non-starter to me. But no doubt worth a try, in the climate of mass ignorance and alternate reality the right has so systematically crafted in this winter of their discontent, a magical place where the only thing wrong with George Bush was that he was too liberal. As Bush once said, “…you can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones we’re focusing on.” Bachmann maybe took that message a little too much to heart.