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Jane Devin

Jane Devin

Posted: October 23, 2008 08:46 AM

Bachmann Backpedals From "Anti-American" Comment, Blames Media


When God told Michele Bachmann to run for office so that she could play a part in saving traditional marriage and defeating radical Islam, she and her husband fasted and prayed for three days to make sure that was indeed His will. Appearing at Pastor Mac Hammond's Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 2006 to describe her heavenly epiphany, Bachmann called herself a fool for Christ and said that God was "focused like a laser beam" on her race for the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I don't want any more letters about how church and politics don't mix," warned Pastor Hammond after Bachmann's speech, "if that's your opinion, then you need to get saved." Bachmann could use some saving now after her disastrous October 17th stint on Hardball, in which she characterized Barack Obama as "anti-American", and called for the media to investigate him and other Congressional members. God may be looking the other way, but Bachmann's political foes are seething, and members of her own party aren't exactly rallying to her side.

Bachmann has been attempting to backpedal her way out of a firestorm that might well spell the end of her political career. National outrage over statements Bachmann made during her appearance caused a surge in campaign contributions to her DFL rival, Elwyn Tinklenberg, who collected $1M in the 96 hours after Bachmann's accusatory statements. Even the Republican opponent who lost to Bachmann in the primaries is after her seat -- Aubrey Immelman declared himself a write-in candidate the day after Bachmann's smiling invective, stating his belief that:

Rep. Bachmann has dishonored her office and brought shame to the Sixth District and the State of Minnesota by calling for a media investigation reminiscent of McCarthy-era witch hunts to "find out [which members of Congress] are pro-America or anti-America. " We cannot tolerate this festering brand of neo-McCarthyism in our midst. We cannot and must not tolerate elected representatives who abuse their high office and play into the hands of our enemies by sowing the seeds of hatred and dividing America against itself.

The problem with Bachmann's backpedaling is that she she doesn't have a leg to spin on -- her words were not, as she has variously claimed, "misread" or "misconstrued", nor did she make a "misstatement". Instead, Bachmann made a pointed accusation, defended that accusation, and when faced with the politically disastrous consequences, took a page out of Palin's tired right-wing notebook and blamed the media.

The problem for Bachmann, like Palin, is that it's difficult to lie against irrefutable evidence. Palin, confronted with an investigative report that clearly states she abused her power as governor, may hail it as proof that "there was no unethical or unlawful behavior on my part. ... No abuse of power there at all," but millions of others, reading the same report, see the words that are actually written -- "Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 2952.110" -- and can only wonder at Palin's mendacity.

Bachmann, grinning profusely, let loose a torrent of accusations against Barack Obama and others during her Hardball appearance and now, through the same kind of blinders-on mentality displayed by Palin, hopes that others will see her as a victim.

MR. MATTHEWS: So you believe that Barack Obama may have anti- American views.

REP. BACHMANN: Absolutely. I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Wednesday that Bachmann, appearing at the St. Cloud Minnesota Rotary Club, held Hardball host Chris Matthews responsible for the controversy. "I had never seen his show before," Bachmann was quoted as saying. "I probably should have taken a look at what the show was like. . .A trap was laid, but I stepped into it." At the same appearance, Bachmann outight denied ever saying that Barack Obama was anti-American, and said she does not believe that he is, although she remains "very concerned" about his views.

"I don't believe that socialism is a good thing for America," she told the crowd of 100 supporters.

Earlier in the week, Bachmann told WCCO-TV, "I feel his views are concerning, and I'm calling on the media to investigate them. I'm not saying that his views are anti-American." In other words, Bachmann is leveling the same accusations against Obama that she did on Hardball, but wishes to remove the "anti-American" label that got her in so much trouble.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, he's a 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? How many do you suspect of your colleagues as being anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: What 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 people would love to see an expose like that.

Bachmann sees a trap where there was only an open door. She might have taken the opportunity to explain or elucidate her earlier anti-American statement against Barack Obama, but instead she extended the cold hand of McCarthyism to the entire Congress. Bachmann may be a fool for Christ, but it's her political foolishness that is almost certain to cost her the next election.

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