Chris Matthews just gave Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Outer Wingnuttia, all the rope she wanted yesterday on Hardball, and boy did she make a handy little noose with it.
First Matthews tried to get Bachmann to tell his audience, per Sarah Palin's homage to "pro-American places," what parts of America are anti-American. She danced around the question and kept harking on the talking points programmed into her playback. So then he tried another tack:
Matthews: How many Congresspeople, members of Congress are in that anti-American crowd you describe?
Bachmann: [Deer in the headlights]
Matthews: How many Congresspeople you serve with -- I mean, there's 435 members of Congress --
Bachmann: -- well right now --
Matthews: -- how many are anti-American in that Congress right now that you serve with?
Bachmann: You'd have to ask them, Chris, I'm focusing on Barack Obama and the people he's been associated with --
Matthews: But do you suspect that a lot of the people you serve with --
Bachmann: -- and I'm very worried about their anti-American nature.
Matthews: Well, he's the United States Senator from Illinois, he's one of the people you suspect as being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You've already suspected Barack Obama. Is he alone, or are there others?
Bachmann: [Deer in the headlights]
Matthews: How many do you suspect of your colleagues do you suspect of being anti-American?
Bachmann: I would say, what I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look -- I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America? I think the people would love to see an expose like that.
Right after the break, Katrina Vandenheuvel said precisely what needed to be said -- and with more passion than I've ever witnessed from her on TV:
Chris, I fear for my country. I think what we just heard is a congresswoman channeling Joe McCarthy, channeling a politics of fear and loathing and demonization and division and distraction. Not a single issue mentioned. This is a politics at a moment of extreme economic pain in this country that is incendiary, that is so debased, that I'm almost having a hard time breathing, because I think it's very scary. Because this is a country I love, and this woman had no sense of the history of this nation, which is one of struggle, of trying to fulfill the great ideals of this nation, of movements that have brought about the civilizing advances of this country, and she doesn't even know who Saul Alinsky is -- a community organizer who channeled the views of the people from below.
I think Barack Obama is going to win, and he's going to have a lot of work because there is an extremism unleashed in this nation which you just heard on this program, which could lead to violence, and hatred, and toxicity. And against the backdrop of the Great Depression we're living through, it could lead -- and I don't use this word lightly -- to a kind of American fascism, which is against the great values of this nation, and which people like that are fomenting.
Even Pat Buchanan was shaking his head, grimly acknowledging that he doubted that any member of Congress could be called anti-American.
Of course, Buchanan himself is no slouch when it comes to eliminationist rhetoric. But this was stark and clear and unmistakable.
There's already a site up urging members of Congress to Censure Bachmann for these remarks. Go lend your voice. UPDATE: Or you can comment on her Facebook Wall. ActBlue candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg is running against Bachmann in a close race. Your support could make the difference.