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Katy Burns

Katy Burns: Bye bye, Michele Bachmann! 

No, no, no, Michele! Don’t leave us, not yet. You are too young, too vibrant, too . . . well, you. Unique. And boy, are you quotable!

I refer, of course, to the inimitable Michele Bachmann, member of Congress from Minnesota and gift to the rest of us. Especially those of us who are humble columnists or cartoonists. I hate to whine, but it is hard to keep coming up with something to write about week after week after endless week. Hence essays on, say, the joys of cats or the usefulness of a well-stocked kitchen junk drawer.

You, Michele, were a gift that kept on giving. Some few people are, especially politicians. Craig (“I’m a loose cannon”) Benson was the gold standard among recent New Hampshire governors. And of course the last House of Representatives was certainly a target-rich environment, although a number of the greatest offenders were rejected last November.

On the national scene, we hit a jackpot during the last presidential primary. Except for Jon (“Who?”) Huntsman and staid and sober Mitt Romney, it was a cast of what we politely call colorful characters. It’s hard to top Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Herman Cain in an eccentricity contest.

Topping the list for sheer quotability, though, was Michele Bachmann, a pretty and petite bundle of religious zealotry and right-wing ideology who quickly became a star in the rapidly evolving Tea Party firmament. She first came to national attention in 2008, when she appeared on Chris Matthews’s Hardball on MSNBC and – after labeling Barack Obama “anti-American” – asked that “the American media . . . take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?”

In Bachmann’s case, remember, quotability shouldn’t imply accuracy. In fact, as she rocketed to short-lived political stardom, she achieved equal fame – notoriety? – in the world of fact-checking.

“We have checked her 13 times and (found) seven of her claims to be false, and six have been found to be ridiculously false,” Bill Adair of PolitiFact

told Minnesota Public Radio in 2011.

In fact, he added, Bachmann “is unusual in . . . that she has never gotten a rating higher than false.”

Folks at the Washington Post, which had repeatedly awarded her comments four Pinocchio ratings, more than any other politician, were equally bemused by the Minnesota congresswoman. One wag there suggested a national day of mourning for fact-checkers when Bachmann said this week that she would not run again.

“Bachmann is not just fast and loose with the facts; she is consistently and unapologetically so,” said the Post’s Glenn Kessler.

Among the most flagrantly false statements singled out in the Post: “Barack Obama has a $1.4 billion-dollar-a-year presidency of perks and excess.” “70 percent of food stamps go to bureaucrats.” “The most personal, sensitive, intimate, private health care information is in the hands of the IRS.” And – my favorite – “I don’t think I said anything inaccurate in the debates.”

She is, of course, a climate-change denier – it is “all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax” – as is fashionable among the GOP faithful these days. But among the other loonier theories she voiced was the idea that God visits hurricanes and earthquakes on us to “get our attention” and that the HPV vaccine – designed to keep young women from contracting an illness that can lead to cervical cancer – causes “mental retardation.”

And Obamacare really rang alarm bells. The law, she said, “literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens” and will likely allow the IRS to “delay or deny access to health care” for conservatives.

Her grasp of history is as tenuous as her scientific acumen. The battles of Lexington and Concord took place in New Hampshire, she once explained. And “the very founders” who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S Constitution “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” She was only off by 90 or so years.

And forget gay people. Being gay is “personal enslavement,” she proclaimed. “It’s part of Satan.”

Satan’s role in contemporary life is vivid to Bachmann, as is God’s part. She married her husband because of a message from God. And God could be pretty specific in Bachmann’s world. For example, she studied tax law – which she hadn’t much interest in – because her husband urged her to do so, and God was speaking through him. God only knows what messages God would channel to a President Bachmann about, say, North Korean nukes.

For a few surreal moments we actually thought that a President Bachmann was a remote possibility. That was in 2011 in Iowa – what on earth is in the water in that state? – when Bachmann, riding high in the polls, stunned everyone, especially Mitt Romney, by winning the famously meaningless Iowa Straw Poll, a nakedly obvious fund-raiser designed to finance the Iowa Republican Party.

(Everyone involved, from candidates to reporters, knows perfectly well the Straw Poll is a fraud, but what the heck. It’s summer, and there’s not really much to do otherwise in corn and pork country.)

The notion that Bachmann could be elected president in even the craziest of years was preposterous. But that didn’t stop the punditocracy from hoping her wild ride continued for a while. At least, for some of us, long enough for her to get to the Granite State.

Alas. The Republican voters of Iowa came to their senses. Bachmann fell as fast as she rose, placing dead last in the Iowa caucuses, which (unlike the Straw Poll) actually count, sort of, and she dropped out of contention.

Now she is, in effect, dropping out of Congress. This probably means that no one will take up her Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which is apparently Bachmann’s sole claim to legislative fame, even if it ultimately didn’t pass.

It also likely means, sadly, that her future is as a TV talking head, not a presidential candidate. We are all the losers – especially those of us always hungering for good copy.

Ave atque vale, Michele. Hail and farewell. You’ll be missed.

(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)

Legacy Comments24

Wow... with poor Michele resigning will this mean she'll be giving up her three quarters of a million dollars in farm subsidies a year too? Poor woman...

I cant believe Burns lacks good copy in the middle of the Obama scandals. Obama is like old mcdonald..a scandal over here..a scandal over there..here a scandal..there a scandal ..everywhere a scandal...

I am sure you have had it with all the scandals Mauser. I bet you just wish they would go away. The protection this President has had is over. He is either incredibly incompetent or corrupt. Maybe both it seems.

It is amazing how the Monitor exposes the long fangs when it comes to conservative woman. Palin, Bachmann, and Ayotte. Ayotte is by far my favorite but there is a pattern at the Monitor for attacking conservative woman and giving a total pass to extreme liberals of all strips. Lets take Katy's favorite Obama that dunce has been to 57 states and has a few more to go to. How about all the Pinocchio awards that Obama and his administration gets. Like the Benghazi lies. When you have breathing difficulties you should get a breathalyzer, or you send paralegals to to people who pass out. I can go on and on how much of a dunce Obama is but it is not politically correct to make fun of Obama. Until recently Jay Leno has laid off of Obama but there is way to much material to not poke fun at Obozo. I hope the mainstream joke makers will follow Jay Leno and finally make fun at the joke that currently occupies the White House. If they do perhaps their is hope the low information voter may finally have a clue on what is going on.

Really, those are your examples of falsehoods and lies. More like poor wotd choices. Bachman and Palin both just made things up as they spoke. You really can't even put those two into the same group as most politicians, liberal or conservative. Well except for that whole WMD business, but alas he to fell off the public radar. I also wouldn't put Sen, Ayotte in the same category. She is under attack for one thing and that is not for being the utter morons that Palin and Bachman were. She is much too intelligent but I think that she has been thrust into the public spotlght too fast and will take a little time to adjust. Don't worry B&P are like herpes, they go into remission but will always be there when least expected.

The Benghazi lie is just a poor word choice? More like a well calculated, 10 pm decision. Just in his last radio address, he said we have to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, like the bridge that collapsed in Washington state. Thats the one a semi crashed into one or more main supports, causing the bridge to collapse. There was nothing..repeat nothing wrong with the bridge before. Just another lie.

I have had it with the all this Benghazi BS. The reason people are upset is that they somehow feel they are entitled to up to the second real-time news as events happen. This is has become an issue because of the internet and our pathological need to know everything yesterday. I fail to understand how who said what when is such a big issue. The issue is making sure it doesn't happen again not talking points. The legacy of Bush's WMD's in Iraq is the current debate on whether Syria used chemical weapons. But the letter is about two seriously flawed female politicians who didn't make mistakes, they made up their own "facts" and their own version of events to suit their individual objectives. You two are really objective.

To Mauser 1 below: If Bush was president and this happened, you know that it would be on all of the mainstream press 23/7 and Democrats would be calling for a special prosecutor. Here is why Benghazi is important: This administration had already declared that AlQaeda and terrorism was defeated and in decline refused to call this what is was and instead blamed it on a "spontaneous" demonstration and due to an internet video. Even after it was proven that it was an act of terror, the Obama administration continued to perpertuate the lie of the internet video, using American tax dollars to run ads and apologize on Middle East television. Secondly, Hillary Clinton when asked for specifics said: "what difference does it make!" What? You think that is presidential or even leadership material???? Finally, the sense of urgency on the part of Obama that evening was not there, he took a half hour brieifing, refused to order in troops to help and went to bed to get up the next day and campaign. Most disturbing of all was that the ambassador had asked for more security and the administration refused. It is not BS, it is serious.

Reply to Mauser below. We had up to the second real time info as it happened. No spontaneous protests inspired by a video, facts that were made up by 2 seriously flawed politicians.

To GWTW below: Your claim about "up to the second real time info" on Benghazi is false. One or more drones were in place by the time of the second attack--which lasted all of 11 minutes--but neither provided clear pictures of what was transpiring. There was no real time info, other than phone calls on the first attack--which apparently was also of short duration.

Reply to Bruce below. Wrong as usual.-------http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57544719/benghazi-timeline-how-the-attack-unfolded/

"Just another lie"? On whose part? Nothing wrong with the bridge? Nothing, except it was declared "functionally obsolete" long before the collapse. But we all know that was just a scare tactic by greedy civil engineers looking to steal money from the public purse for their make-work projects. We can't expect to build bridges that withstand a truck strike--surely, that would be expensive and unnecessary over-engineering for an unlikely event. This bridge was built in 1955, and if it was good enough for heavy trucks of 55+ years ago, it surely must still have been good enough. Right? The bridge had survived previous strikes by tractor-trailers, but not this one.

Reply to Bruce below...Weight was not the issue...height was. And ""Based on our inspecting, the bridge is not structurally defective," said Lynn Peterson, state secretary of transportation. "We do take hits on almost every one of our bridges. This is just bad luck where and how it was hit." KEY ARTERY She said there were a number of bridges along Interstate 5 in Washington state rated lower than the bridge that collapsed. A new bridge that suffered a similar blow would have likely reacted the same way, Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jan Katzenberger said.....http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/25/usa-bridge-collapse-idUSL2N0E50IL20130525

Response to GWTW on Benghazi: According to the timeline from your link, the first drone did not arrive until after the first attack was over, and Ambassador Stevens was already dead.

Oh come on, GWTW, Bruce is right. In fact, my suggestion is that we take everyones earnings and allow the government to decide how much we get back. Then we need to raise the wages of the civil engineers working for the the public and hire a couple extra so that their work load is not that heavy and let them work until 3PM every day so that they aren't over worked. Then we need to take all of that money that we confiscated from working people who contribute and redistribute it to those folks that progressives deserve it. What ever is left can be spent on infrastructure and over engineer things. Yes, let's overreact and give government more money to waste and let's all live like hermits and suffer and have a miserable life.

The whole WMDS business was being pushed by Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton as well as All Gore. It is amazing how soon they forget. So Obama saying he has been to 57 states and has a few more to go to isn't both stupid and making it as he is going along. Really Mauser1 Really?

Really, you better believe it. If there was an ounce of objectivity even you could see that saying 57 when you clearly meant 47 is not a manufactured, making it up as you go lie. It's an obvious mistake to anyone with an education.

The Bush administration knew that their information from "Curveball" and others was suspect. Democrats who voted for the war resolution relied on the accuracy of that intelligence. Recall also that the nation rallied around the president in the wake of 9/11, trusting him to lead the nation wisely. The media and many Democrats were too trusting. The McClatchy chain's reporters were among the few voicing both caution and skepticism at the time.

I LOVE ME SOME MAUSER!!!!! It was a great rifle and you're a great poster! Can we make you an honorary Rat Patrol member . . . PPLLEEAASSEE?!?!?!?!

"Ayotte is by far my favorite . . ." C'mon Van, you can tell us the truth. Tell us that you think Bachmann and Palin are dumb as posts. Or are you worried that if you do speak your mind about these two imbeciles that the tea party will revoke your "patriot" card???

Looks like Katy moved on from Ayotte to Bachman. Maybe Katy you could do an article on Shaheen and ask her why she signed a letter to the IRS urging them to go after conservative groups. I guess it worked because that is exactly what they have been doing.

Headlines you wont read here....."GAO: HHS Already Rationing Enrollment in Obamacare’s Pre-Existing Condition Plan"...appears Bachmann was right all along

I have to wonder if a President Bachmann would have been good for the country. At least the press would be interested in investigating what she said or did, unlike say, the guy in there now. That fact makes us, the public, all losers.

Don't bother wondering . . . I know the answer.

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