Thursday, September 1, 2011

A straw (wo)man for the GOP

The first thing that should give you pause about Michele Bachmann is her penchant for making false statements. Now, she says much of this stuff in the service of partisanship, but it's not the spin raising concerns. It's that you can collect any number of her statements --- as this cartoon does --- and Bachmann is just not telling the truth. If Barack Obama is a terrible president leading this country down the wrong path, is it really necessary to make up something saying he is the reasonn grocery costs have increased? "Oh, it's bad how much  federal spending has grown under Obama, but let's say he's responsible for your higher grocery bills. That'll really get people mad." I suppose like her Elvis birthday quip, it could all be sloppiness and inattention to detail. When I consider her words, though, it looks more like a mix of poltically expedient statements and calculated lies meant to scare and enrage people. The expediency comes when Bachmann is confronted with something that could really anger that tea party base. Like, the fact that she and her husband received government subsidies through the farm inherited from her father-in-law. The calculated lies are more like saying the top 1 percent richest people in this country pay 40 percent of all federal taxes. Or that we could wipe out unemployment by abolishing the minimum wage. So, when she pulled off a win of the Iowa Straw Poll last month in Ames, her lack of credibility said something about Republicans --- at least those who are recklessly supporting her in this state. After the recent ordeal with the U.S. credit rating (for which I'd place most of the blame squarely on Republican shoulders), the GOP choice of Bachmann should lead to a "credibility rating" downgrade for the party. Since the straw poll, though, potential caucus voters have begun leaning more toward the newest entry into the race, Rick Perry. Nationally, too, Bachmann is falling behind other candidates in the polls. Of course, with the wild things he's said from Texas seceeding to the reception Ben Bernake would get in that state, Republicans supporting him still have a credibility problem.

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