Rep. Michele Bachmann caught the national spotlight recently when she told MSNBC's Chris Mathews that Barack Obama "may have anti-American views."
Although Bachmann's statement may have come as a surprise to people outside her home district in central Minnesota, she has a history of making statements that are inflammatory, controversial, questionably informed and that require further explanation. Until now, the most famous of those was her assertion that there was a plan already in place to partition Iraq and give half of it to Iran. She later said her comments had been "misconstrued" but did not elaborate.
One comment she has never explained came during a debate she had while running for Congress the first time in November 2005. Prompted by a question on the rioting in France and Europe at the time, Bachmann said "not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal," letting it be known that she thought that people of the Muslim faith had an inferior culture to that of the United States and the West.
She held forth on the European unrest, referring to a generation of unassimilated Muslim French youth addicted to cable television, led in her imagination by al Jazeera to wreak havoc. Yet it was Bachmann who seemed entranced by cable news. Her knowledge of what was actually happening in France seems to have come entirely from a FOX news-style script. In fact, the unrest was no jihad, had nothing to do with religious faith or Muslim culture or al Jazeeera. It was more akin to the riots in the U.S. for expanded civil rights in the 1960s or those that followed from the Rodney King police beating in Los Angeles in 1991. The European riots came after two suburban youth were killed in a police chase. The unrest centered on decades of discrimination that had manifested itself, for example, in school acceptances and hiring practices and police force racial profiling.
Bachmann's statements on the matter have not been seen outside of that debate room until now. Here is exclusive video from The UpTake.
Minnesota Republican 6th Congressional District Debate sponsored by the Taxpayers League- November 2005.
Moderator: Given the recent rioting in France that is the result of a sub-culture that has not assimilated, what would you do to make sure that a similar situation does not take place in America?
Michele Bachmann: I just want to say only in France, only in France could you have suburban youth rioting because the welfare benefits aren't generous enough. And that's... That's what they're telling us now is happening there. And only in France could that happen.
And what we're seeing is just the fruits of leftism. It's suburbanites, the kids, that are watching cable TV, Did you know that? In a lot of these high rises where a lot of the suburban youth are doing writing or doing they have cable TV in their apartments. They're listening to al Jazeera, and they're being encouraged and prompted to go ahead and start these riots all over France.
There is a movement afoot that's occurring and part of that is whole philosophical idea of multi-cultural diversity, which on the face sounds wonderful. Let's appreciate and value everyone's cultures. But guess what? Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal.
And one thing that we're seeing is that in the midst of this violence that's being encouraged by al Jazeera and by the jihadists that's occurring, is that we are seeing that those who are coming into France -- which had a beautiful culture -- the French culture is actually diminished. It's going away. And just with the population of France they are losing Western Europeans and it's being taken over by muh...by a Muslim ethic. Not that Muslims are bad. But they are not assimilating.
And that's what I had mentioned in my previous response is that America is a great nation, with great values. We are equal opportunity for all. And it's because we all came here and we came together as one. Out of many one. Multi-cultural diversity says out of one many. And if we go with tribalism we will not long be one nation united under God.
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