(h/t Digby for reminding me about the above video)
Michele Bachmann received many positive reviews of her performance during the CNN GOP debate a few weeks ago by many famous TV pundits:
Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst
"I think she sort of stepped out of Sarah Palin's shadow tonight. She was clearly one of the best-prepped candidates here. She let people know the depth of her experience on the intelligence committee, for example.
David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst:
"But Michele Bachmann, I thought, was the biggest surprise, because she was -- I don't think the country knew her well. She was pithy. She spoke in a much more cleaner sentences. She sprinkled interesting facts into it. And she introduced her biography. The 23 foster children, she said that twice."
Bloggers like myself and many others have followed her for years because of the insane and utterly ridiculous statements she's made on the House floor and TV. Let's just say her statements have always made me chuckle, but I'm laughing harder at the talking heads' review of her performance.
I doubt you'll hear much about her history of religious fanaticism from the punditocracy unfortunately because why would cable pundits do some journalistic research, right? Enter Matt Taibbi, who serves up a must read article in Rolling Stone called: Michele Bachmann's Holy War. He doesn't think anyone should make the mistake of laughing at her:
Young Michele found Jesus at age 16, not long before she went away to Winona State University and met a doltish, like-minded believer named Marcus Bachmann. After finishing college, the two committed young Christians moved to Oklahoma, where Michele entered one of the most ridiculous learning institutions in the Western Hemisphere, a sort of highway rest area with legal accreditation called the O.W. Coburn School of Law; Michele was a member of its inaugural class in 1979.
Originally a division of Oral Roberts University, this august academy, dedicated to the teaching of "the law from a biblical worldview," has gone through no fewer than three names — including the Christian Broadcasting Network School of Law. Those familiar with the darker chapters in George W. Bush's presidency might recognize the school's current name, the Regent University School of Law. Yes, this was the tiny educational outhouse that, despite being the 136th-ranked law school in the country, where 60 percent of graduates flunked the bar, produced a flood of entrants into the Bush Justice Department.
Regent was unabashed in its desire that its graduates enter government and become "change agents" who would help bring the law more in line with "eternal principles of justice," i.e., biblical morality. To that end, Bachmann was mentored by a crackpot Christian extremist professor named John Eidsmoe, a frequent contributor to John Birch Society publications who once opined that he could imagine Jesus carrying an M16 and who spent considerable space in one of his books musing about the feasibility of criminalizing blasphemy.
This background is significant considering Bachmann's leadership role in the Tea Party, a movement ostensibly founded on ideas of limited government. Bachmann says she believes in a limited state, but she was educated in an extremist Christian tradition that rejects the entire notion of a separate, secular legal authority and views earthly law as an instrument for interpreting biblical values. As a legislator, she not only worked to impose a ban on gay marriage, she also endorsed a report that proposed banning anyone who "espoused or supported Shariah law" from immigrating to the U.S. (Bachmann seems so unduly obsessed with Shariah law that, after listening to her frequent pronouncements on the subject, one begins to wonder if her crazed antipathy isn't born of professional jealousy.) This discrepancy may account for why some Tea Party leaders don't buy Bachmann as a champion of small government. "Michele Bachmann is — what's the old-school term? — a poser," says Chris Littleton, an Ohio Tea Party leader troubled by her support of the Patriot Act and other big-government interventions. "Look at her record and see how 'Tea Party' she really is."...read on
It's a long article, but worth your time to see how she's been able to make crazy statement after crazy statement and keep moving her political career forward. Even Bill O'Reilly has not taken her seriously either like many of the other GOP grand poobahs, but did say on The Factor that she could be a good VP candidate. Taibbi makes the case early on in his piece that she shouldn't be dismissed out of hand because she's managed to keep getting elected. She uses teh crazy very well.
You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.
Don't miss the story about when she screams in the bathroom or her fear that public education turns children into socialist herds or when her state already had homophobic legislation already passed, but she wanted to pass it a second time.
In 2003, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued its famous ruling permitting gay marriage, Bachmann proposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution banning gay marriage — despite the fact that the state legislature had already passed a law making same-sex unions illegal. Even the politicians who were sufficiently gay-phobic to have passed the original anti-marriage law were floored by the brazen pointlessness of Bachmann's bill. "It's unnecessary, it's redundant, it's duplicative," said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Ann Rest.
As much as she flip flops around the crazy train, she can never take back the love she showed for George Bush after the SOTU in 2007:
After signing the autograph for Bachmann, the president turns away, but Bachmann doesn't let go. In fact, the video shows her reaching out to get a better grip on him.
Bush then leans over to kiss another congresswoman, but Bachmann is still holding on. Bachmann then gets more attention, a kiss and an embrace from the president. A few seconds later, Bachmann's hand finally comes off the presidential shoulder.
Bachmann has quite a thing for Bush, apparently. This press release from her campaigning days reads more like a diary entry for a 12 year old who got to meet her Tiger Beat teen idol:
I have never been in the Presidential limousine before so I was a little unsure what to do when the limousine stopped at the custard stand. I wasn't sure if I should exit with the President or get out of my side of the car. Karl Rove told me I would exit out the door on my side after The President steps out and someone would open the door for me. I could not believe I was discussing what flavor of custard to order with the President of the United States!
She doesn't have the sex appeal that Sarah Palin has, which is probably in her favor. (Social conservatives get over-stimulated and confused around female sexuality.) But she's attractive and poised and is a professional politician who knows how the game is played. And she's both ignorant and savvy, accessible and extreme. She's very creepy.
And she'll play the Conservative victim card as well as anyone ever has. I imagine she may try to top Sarah Palin on that one as we get deeper into the presidential election cycle.
Taibbi appeared on the new Countdown and discussed with Keith Olbermann his take on Bachmann (h/t Heather):