A day after the GOP debate in New Hampshire, mainstream media awoke to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s undeniable abilities and magnetism. Before June 13, this mummified lot had turned to Meghan McCain and Chris Matthews for information about the congresswoman from Minnesota.
Matthews’ mock-Bachmann routine is almost as notorious as the carnal excitement the host of “Hardball” displays periodically over Barack Obama. By Slate.com’s count, Rep. Bachmann, who is running for president, has been “discussed” – more like dissed – on 127 episodes of Matthews’ MSNBC show. In January, he accused Ms. Bachmann of looking dazed, hypnotized and acting irrationally, all because she remained unrattled by the host’s hectoring.
At the time, I blogged that “to Matthews, a fully engaged female is someone like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who talks up a storm in promoting statist schemes. Simpletons perceive a fulminating statist as ‘good,’ ‘caring,’ and certainly ‘smart.'”
Bachmann’s “rational, steely quality drives Chris crazy.” After all, Matthews is the man who exposed himself to his viewers, having divulged that he had experienced something akin to a (daytime) “nocturnal emission” while thinking about Obama.
No better were establishment Republicans. They dubbed Bachmann a kook – strategist Mike Murphy said she “makes Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich.” “The media scrum hates her with a purple passion,” I concluded, which is why “one hears very little about Ms. Bachmann’s intellectual aptitude.”
Rep. Bachmann catapulted to fame late in 2008. Yet not a thing was said in the muckraking media – Republican included – about her background. Just imagine what publicity Wasserman Schultz (or Sarah Palin) would receive had she provided foster care to 23 children in addition to raising five of her own!
Bachmann, moreover, earned a Master of Laws in tax law from the William & Mary Law School. (Women lawyers tend to flock to the less-taxing field of family law.) Not that you’d know it from the way she has been portrayed, but Bachmann is very clever.
With a perfectly straight face, Lawrence O’Donnell, also of MSNBC (a fertile seedbed for mind-sapping stupidity), lapped up the sub-intelligent message issued by the “Snooki” of the commentariat: Michele Bachmann is “no better than a poor man’s Sarah Palin,” Meghan McCain announced.
“I take none of this seriously,” our Meghan declared grandiosely, following Bachmann’s tea-party address, delivered to great effect. No conservative with clout (except for Glenn Beck) dared to eviscerate this licentious, self-adoring, dense libertine. (A response at BigGovernment.com was mild, at best.) In fin de siècle America, idiots proceed unimpeded – especially if blessed with a famous father and a moneyed mother.
Sarah Palin is Bush in a bra (with all the implications about brain power that implies). She’s nothing like Bachmann. Mrs. Palin has an area of expertise: energy. Instead of a role as an energy ace, Palin opted to be a generalist, whose rambling, run-on sentences (peppered as they are with gerunds) are almost as grating as Meaghan’s valley-girl inflection.
When Sarah Palin still thought QE2 was a ship set to sail from Alaska, Bachmann was sitting happily on panels with Ron Paul, Federal-Reserve-Bank slayer. By 2009, Bachmann was ready for that flotilla of fiat money the Fed chairman floated in support of his political masters. This representative was “beefing-up her knowledge of the Fed and was familiar with the works of libertarian economic historian Tom Woods,” I blogged.
Belatedly, the Wall Street Journal has awoken (as of June 11) to Michele Bachmann’s intellectual heft. She is conversant with “Human Action” and “Bureaucracy,” the works of classical liberal economist Ludwig von Mises. Yet just the other day (January 2011), the same outfit had patronizingly dismissed Bachmann’s challenge to the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul as “an interesting strategy to gain more attention.”
Masters at sweating the smaller, safer stuff, some Beltway libertarians asserted that Bachmann, one of the few people in Congress who understands and protests monetary policy, is a philosophical spender because of the “agricultural subsidies her family farm has [allegedly] received.”
This case is not worth a straw. Search and you’ll find minor blemishes in Ron Paul’s impeccable defense of the Constitution. But when it comes to the big issues – entitlements, monetary and foreign policy – Paul remains unbeatable, where Beltway libertarians (also known in some libertarian circles as The “Kochtopus”) have been inconsistent.
Bachmann is eloquent and is seldom fazed. As attractive as Sarah, she is also cerebral, a quality poor Palin is without. Bachmann is not yet a libertarian, but neither is she wedded to the warfare state, and is wise enough to recognize the political value of denouncing America’s forays abroad in order to bring moderates and independents into the fold. Given guidance (and a good kick), she is not beyond apologizing for her unforgivable vote for the Patriot Act.
Conversely – attests NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson (a libertarian behind enemy lines) – Paul has gone from immigration hawk to toying with amnesty (with an asterisk or two). Bachmann will bring Paul back from the brink.
Americans inhabit a world of reality TV and other frivolity. To win the GOP nomination in this parallel universe, Ron Paul needs political bling – he will want the punch, pizazz and money bombs a Bachmann can provide.
What do you know? In September of 2009, this column had already picked the GOP’s winning ticket: Ron Paul for commander in chief; Michele Bachmann as second-in-command.
Bundle Rand (Paul) and Michele Bachmann – and the opposition, both Republican and Democratic, will be vanquished. But that’s for another day.