I'd like to start with a very special thank you to Representative Bachmann herself. After Bachmann's comments on Hardball, traffic to all editions of our humble carnival multiplied unbelievably. My blog has seen record traffic for the last week and a half.
Thanks, Michele, we couldn't have done this without you!
While this is the Fallout Edition of the carnival, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind the new Bachmann watchers that she existed before her Hardball appearance and that divisiveness is nothing new for her. Just one day before she became infamous, Bachmann used the issue of immigration to divide her constituents at a debate in St. Cloud.
"Without having some sort of a barrier at the border, we're going to continue to have the kind of problems that we've had with Olga Franco that we saw most recently in the tragic death of four children in the accident," Bachmann said, referring to an illegal immigrant whose minivan struck a school bus in Cottonwood, Minn. "These are preventable and we need to do that with sealing America's borders."
Dump Michele Bachmann has this and some other choice quotes. If you've got the stomach for it, you can watch that whole piece of the debate below.
Video bonus: Watch Tinklenberg almost do a spit take when Bachmann directly contradicts him on what his border security policy is. Note the laughter from the audience when he restates his position after she's done.
Note also her total absorption in the papers in front of her. This was not long before Hardball. Was she cramming for the final she blew so spectacularly?
She recognized the importance of immigration for farming in the past, but now she only wants to let in a few highly-skilled technical people. Thanks to Liberal in the Land of Conservative for the video. The whole debate is here.
How does Bachmann want to stop the icky immigrants from getting into her country? The Minnesota Monitor provides the answer. She wants us to be like one of the most militarized nations on the planet, one under a constant terrorism threat:
...the argument that fences don't work doesn't hold water. Look at Israel and Palestine. Fences work...
Of course, this isn't Bachmann's first foray into the issue of immigration. On the Issues has the text of a bill she co-sponsored to make English the official language of the U.S.
Throughout the history of the United States, the common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the English language.
Hmm. Don't anyone tell the Cajuns. Personally, I thought it had something to do with the values espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. I guess that's what I get for being one of those educated elites.
Now if Bachmann had wanted to educate herself about immigration before talking, she could have easily found this out: While there is a cost to the crime that is committed by illegal immigrants, there is no indication that that cost is a measure of anything more than increased population size. In fact, illegal immigrants may commit less crime per capita than citizens.
But Bachmann's not interested in facts. This is just a dividing tactic, a way to scare her constituents. If it were a major security issue for Bachmann, one of her first acts in office would almost certainly not have been voting against implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations on cargo inspections.
Now, onto what Bachmann's been up to since last week. Turns out, keeping track of where she stands on what she said, why she said it, and whether she meant it has been rather difficult. Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars does an admirable job of noting all the twists and turns, along with the dodging and weaving.
First, she claimed she never said it. But she then did a 180 and re-asserted Obama’s views were anti-American. Then, after her Democratic rival Elwyn Tinklenberg raised $1.4 million from Americans disgusted by her neo-McCarthyism, she tried to fundraise off her outrage at Matthews and liberal blogs for twisting her words.
John Nichols at The Nation takes a closer look at one of Bachmann's favorite excuses for her "misunderstood" behavior: she's just an outsider under attack by the elites. He's particularly skeptical of her previous comparison of herself to Paul Wellstone, Minnesota's most beloved senator.
It was an easy comparison to make, as Wellstone was not around to defend himself.
And Bachmann continues to abuse the privilege by suggesting that she serves and speaks as a Minnesota "outsider" in the Wellstone tradition
Speaking of Wellstone, Todd Beeton at MyDD examines how Bachmann's Hardball performance may hurt Norm Coleman, who's locked in a very tight race to hang on to the Senate seat left vacant by Wellstone's death six years ago.
And Coleman seems to know this. On Sunday, on the same local morning TV news show during which Bachmann reiterated her comments about Barack Obama, Coleman tried to distance himself from them.
But distancing himself from her isn't so easy after he's been appearing by her side at McCain/Palin events throughout the state.
Of course, one doesn't have to have loved Wellstone to hate what Bachmann has chosen to stand for. Seth Coulter Walls at the Huffington Post reports on the bipartisan rejection of Bachmann's stance.
"Republicans who have never voted Democratic in their lives are sending me money because those kind of comments [made by Bachmann] are intolerable to them," Tinklenberg told the Huffington Post, adding that many of the donations have come with notes attesting to this fact. "That makes me feel good -- that they're rejecting this across the board. It's no longer a partisan thing, and it shows they're understanding finally we are all Americans, and we all need to come together to move forward and the issues we're facing. ... And it's certainly been reflected in the fundraising."
It's been reflected in Bachmann's fundraising too. Her campaign is being coy about the amount raised since Bachmann spouted off, claiming "hundreds of thousands of dollars." The Minnesota Independent checks on the amounts that can be verified and finds less than $30,000 in itemized contributions.
But a spokesperson for at least one of Bachmann’s contributors — Schwan Food PAC of Marshall, MN — tells Minnesota Independent his company isn’t happy with the congresswoman’s comments and indicates they will almost certainly be taken into account before making future contributions to her.
Demonstrating even further the scope of people repudiating Bachmann, A Christmas Story presents an open letter to her, including a stunning list of the people Bachmann has offended and injured.
I am just a working stiff, who wants to make life better for my family. I enjoy helping other people along the way, too. I care about life in my district, I care about life in my township, I care about life in my state. And I care about life in our country. Our district cannot boast about the things we once could declare as successful outcomes to the whole of the district.
Even the mainstream media, which has been remarkably "balanced" in its coverage of Bachmann's extremism, is starting to question the congresswoman's judgment. Ken Avidor at Daily Kos notes a local newspaper that is finally examining the Bachmann-Vennes-Petters "pardongate" in depth.
Dump Bachmann blog, the Minnesota Independent and other "new media" have been on this story for weeks... now the MSM has begun to write about Bachmann's pardon request for Petters associate Frank Vennes Jr..
There's one very important thing that we should all remember in the middle of the ever-so-satisfying Bachmann hating. She isn't doing this alone. (She's merely been the most inept at it.) Michele Bachmann gave one of the first speeches at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. She hasn't made as many television appearances as she has because Larry King really wants to spend his time talking to a first-term congresswoman from the Midwest.
Or, as Andrea Langworthy put it:
While McCain's had Sarah Palin doing his dirty work, bad-mouthing Obama, he's been able to keep his hands clean and not be blamed for mud-slinging. The practice dates all way back to the Garden of Eden. Eve wasn't the only one to take a bite of the apple but she certainly is the one who gets the most blame. The McCain camp sends Eve, Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin, from state to state to say biting things about Obama. Then, when asked about it by David Letterman, McCain just squirms in his chair and says, "There are a million words said in a campaign ... it's part of the political scene."
Now, Bachmann has given into the temptation of spreading falsehoods. Fortunately, many people in our nation did not take McCain’s stance after she appeared on Hardball.
Greg Laden also looks at the responsibility for Bachmann's act, with the tale of a brick and its consquences.
You see, all I was doing, as a dumb four year old kid, was taking what I sensed around me, but did not understand, to the next step. But the next step was too far. I took an issue that was probably small, or at least, already settled, misunderstood it, dressed it up in my mind, extended it's life and expanded its import, and then went and made a brick bomb and threw it at someone.
And although that's a rather somber place to stop, here is where we end the fifth Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival. You'll note that this edition doesn't contain any goofy stories about the congresswoman. It doesn't contain any funny pictures of the much-Googled (seriously) "Michele Bachmann Eyes," or as a friend of mine snarkily calls that sort of thing, "the wide eyes of calm."
We only have one more week until the election. The time to be amused by Bachmann's cluelessness is over. It's time to give up the ironic detachment and recognize just how angry we should be, and are, that someone like Bachmann--in fact, several people like Bachmann, just less silly--has been chosen to represent her district, her state, and her nation. It's time to, well, I'll just give Greg the last word here, since I think he said it best.
There are too many close calls for you or me to be comfortable. There are only two weeks left. You must now abandon other activities, put down the rake, turn off the TV, cancel the trip to the cabin, forget about organizing your stamp collection for a while!
Find a Democrat running for office. Give this Democrat fifty bucks ... a cheap price to save your ass from another four years of creeping oppression. Volunteer to work for the candidate. Phone bank, door knock, clean the damn kitchen in the campaign office while other people are phone banking. Whatever, just do something!