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The Bigotry of Expediency: Michelle Bachmann and Her Local Disciples

| July 22, 2012

Turns out Chris Buck's portrait of Michelle Bachmann for last August's Newsweek cover story was dead on

Turns out Chris Buck’s portrait of Michelle Bachmann for last August’s Newsweek cover story was dead on.

Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor on Wednesday and began: “Rarely do I come to the floor of this body to discuss particular individuals. But I understand how painful and injurious it is when a person’s character, reputation, and patriotism are attacked without concern for fact or fairness. It is for that reason that I come to the floor today to speak regarding the attacks recently on a fine and decent American.”

pierre tristam column flaglerlive For a second there McCain sounded as if he was going to talk about John Pollinger, the local Flagler County sheriff’s candidate who’s been the target of a very silly and demeaning witch hunt by fellow-Republicans. Actually, what McCain was referring to is the latest silly and demeaning witch hunt by Michelle Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, who is doing her best to channel Joe McCarthy for a new generation of xenophobes.

Bachmann has never been good at drawing dots. She’s been worse at connecting them. Her latest claim, she and a few other reactionary members of Congress, is that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the U.S. government. Exhibit Number One, according to Bachmann, is Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state.

Pack of lies usually depend on a beefy mixture of unsubstantiated allegations, shady sources, fear and bigotry. Bachmann’s witch hunt has it all. Abedin is of Pakistani descent, she’s Muslim, she spent several years in Saudi Arabia and she has really dark hair. So in Bachmann’s cook book of course she is a terrorist sympathizer. Bachmann rests her entire case on the baseless whisper campaign by the Center for Security Policy, a slipshod organization with an important sounding name that got press opposing the mosque at ground zero and making up stories about Sharia law taking over the United States. Smearing Muslims like Abedin is the latest fund-raising ploy.

Bachmann has her groupies in media’s fox dens. John McCain, who can have his good days, is having none of it. “Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a Nation and who we aspire to be,” he said. “When anyone—not least a Member of Congress—launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our Nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

The words have particular resonance in light of the ongoing election season in this neck of Florida, where accusations about one candidate or another haven’t involved the Muslim Brotherhood quite yet, but they have relied on the same technique of inventing dots and connecting them for a public too lazy to check behind the dots and dittoheads.

Many candidates I speak with point to a sort of political climate change almost as calamitous as the other one, hot air notwithstanding. It’s not an increase in venom or slurs. That’s the stuff of every campaign. Rather, what we’re seeing is a radical disconnect from empirical, scientific fact for the sake of political expediency. The tenor of local debates is indistinguishable from its national equivalent. Whether it’s tax policy, health care, education funding, global warming or whatever the latest inventions about an Islamist threat may be, the notion of so much as a set of agreed facts is out the window. For some—and let’s not quibble about this in the name of bogus balance: it’s an almost exclusively Republican disorder—those facts no longer exist.

The non-partisan number crunchers and analysts at the Congressional Budget Office, at the Government Accountability Office, at the Congressional Research Service, or their less famous equivalents at the state and local levels, whose sober reports were once the agreed-upon starting point of consensus-building, might as well be deviants of an ideological purity that needn’t bother with facts. We see it locally. We see it nationally. Bachmann’s slander of Abedin is part of the same syndrome.

We don’t have a Muslim Brotherhood infiltration problem. We have an infestation if red-blooded Americans so eager be misinformed that the idiotic claims of a Michelle Bachmann have currency enough to command national attention and inspire local mutants. That’s the threat to our democracy, and it is more pronounced than any infiltrations imaginable from Bachmann to Joe McCarthy.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.

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20 Responses for “The Bigotry of Expediency: Michelle Bachmann and Her Local Disciples”

  1. Robert Lewis says:

    Michelle Bachman, yet another example of the far right fundamentalist movement. I think she and someone else we know should get together and pray the democrat out of people. You know so they can PURIFY and CLEANSE people of their mortal democratic sins.

  2. Yellowstone says:

    Who is it that VOTES these people into office? Better yet – who didn’t vote that allowed these people to get into office?

    Can you even imagine that we are paying the salaries of these people?

    How about the GOP tying up and handcuffing the House of Representatives thirty-three (33) times so they can ‘ensure’ these jobs bills don’t get through? It’s your money folks!

    Your chance to vote is coming up very soon – get your act together or you are going to get another round of this nonsense.

  3. Clint says:

    Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu agrees with Michele Bachmann. He has more intelligence then the combine minds of the whole democratic congress. My votes will be given to the GOP. I refuse to allow a cult such as islam to infiltrate my country without a fight.

    • Richard says:

      An article called “The Bigotry of Expediency: Michelle Bachmann and Her Local Disciples”
      is not one I would respond to in quite that manner. Clint really knocks it out of the park.
      Representing the “……..deviants of an ideological purity that needn’t bother with facts.”

    • NortonSmitty says:

      But Clint, I’m sure you’re assured to vote for a member of a cult that worships some loser from the 1840’s who claimed to found tablets of gold in the woods of New York that he couldn’t show anybody else. Tablets that told him to start a religion giving him power so great that between orders allowing him to steal away any of his neighbors hot wives under orders from God, but expanded to squeeze in other founding Prophecies even stranger.

      Like the one known as called “The One Brave and Strong” that says in less than a century a Mormon would be elected to rule America and turn it into a Mormon Nation. And make sure the Biblical prophecies would be carried out to the best of his abilities. You know, Revelations and shit.

      And you know in your heart that it is your Sacred and Patriotic duty not only cast your vote to put this mans finger on the nuclear buttons that would give him the power to insure Armageddon, but self-righteously preach and strut to look down at those us us who don’t see this possibility as a greater threat to us than Islam?

      We are the most powerful country in the history of the world. And we cringe in fear from one cult in possession of a few Kalashnikov s, Box cutters and suicide bombers. And on the word of a Zionist fanatical war criminal like Netanyahu, we MUST unleash the greatest War Machine in the history of the world to exterminate them without mercy! Using everything from cluster bombs to flying killer robots on their evil mud constructed homes. Well, I think you and I may have to have a serious debate about that course of action for our great country.

      But when you tell me that I should vote for a man who has dedicated his entire life to a cult that says he is the One Brave and Strong because the Zionists say he will keep us safe and Wall Street says he will be good for business, I really think a debate is unnecessary.

      • Geezer says:

        Religion divides people, plain and simple. Religion is harmfull and holds human progress back.
        Imagine, you uphold God’s law by killing, raping, shunning…..

        Why can’t God (Allah, Vishnu, et al) enforce his own laws? He is almighty, is he not?
        Why all the suffering and strife?

        All this nonsense in order to go to Heaven. Where’s Heaven? Near Uranus? Pluto?

        Is God on vacation?

  4. Sally says:

    Michelle Bachmann received canpaign funds from HSBC. A recent report showed HSBC laundered money for drug cartels, terrorists and pariah states. That means Michelle Bachmann has direct connections to terrorists, drug cartels and pariah states. A much closer connection than the ridiculous enormous (and not at all factual) web conncections she created to smear Ms. Abedin.

  5. Lefty Loon says:

    “We don’t have a Muslim Brotherhood infiltration problem. We have an infestation if red-blooded Americans so eager be misinformed that the idiotic claims of a Michelle Bachmann have currency enough to command national attention and inspire local mutants. That’s the threat to our democracy, and it is more pronounced than any infiltrations imaginable from Bachmann to Joe McCarthy.”

    Bigots screaming bigotry….let me get this right…..I am a bigot and a mutant because I want to find out the truth? Who is looney now? Lies are the threat, not the truth.

  6. question says:

    The Jack Nicholson …One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest …photo should have been on this thread…at least a split/screen!

  7. question says:

    Nice work Crazy Michelle …

    The latest fallout from Michele Bachmann’s Muslim infiltration conspiracy theory:
    Now Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin—whose family, Bachmann claims, is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood—has been threatened by a New Jersey man. Abedin is under police protection following the threat.

    • Anita says:

      Does “La Bachmann” know that Grover Norquist , whose tax avoidance pledge she and the other GOP lemmings signed, is happily married to a Muslim?

  8. Kendall says:

    Islam is hardly a “cult.” It is the world’s second largest religion behind Christianity. 22% of people on this planet are Muslim.

    Clint, you come across as ignorant and xenophobic with your comments. There is Christian based terrorism on our soil. Bachmann is a perfect example of a person that hates in the name of religion.

  9. Ken Dodge says:

    Never mind whether or not there are facts. All that’s needed is one glance at the Newsweek cover photo (best to close one eye, glance quickly, then look away).

  10. Jeff says:

    Don’t forget, or take lightly, some Islamists have publicly vowed to destroy the US from within. Should we not take this seriously? I worry about the future in this country. Open your eyes and see the slow erosion of the society we grew up in. Times should change…………….for the better. If the majority really believes our country needs to be run by politians rather than us, we will keep losing, rights, independence, freedoms, and our national pride as the rest of the world laughs at our ignorance, for throwing away what we have. God Bless America. God help America!

  11. Geezer says:

    “So if you’re down on you’re luck, and you can’t harmonize
    Find a girl with far away eyes
    And if you’re downright disgusted
    And life ain’t worth a dime
    Get a girl with far away eyes”

    Far Away Eyes -The Rolling Stones (The Michelle Bachman song)

  12. jespo says:

    I want THIS cult in power…no wait wait. I want THAT cult in power. Yeah, the one that eats flesh and drinks blood. No, not the one that beheads their children, the one that rapes them.

    Please, you’re all off your rockers. The only good politician is one who doesn’t want to BLESS America…he/she should be the one who wants and works towards helping America. And btw, HSBC was founded with money from the opium wars of the early to mid 1800’s. If we allow them in this country, who is the bigot there? I do think Michelle Bachman Turner Psycho-in-Overdrive needs a padded room, but just to be fair…

  13. NortonSmitty says:

    “Stupidity has a certain charm – ignorance does not” F. Zappa

  14. John Boy says:

    Why hasn’t she been arrested for Reckless Endangerment, she clearly put someone in danager by her statements and actions. She would be better off taying at home and helping her “Light in the Loafer” husband deal with his problems.

    We should have laws that prevent wack jobs like her from serving in Washington.

  15. Clint says:

    Smitty…Would enjoy a discussion about religions but I don’t fit in. You see I DON’T believe in religions. What I see in human society is large groups of [] that rape their children and behead their wives for not wearing their halloween hoods outside. These sub-humans live in a 2000 year old past world and have never wanted to change that way of life. Their ONLY reason for life is to KILL the INFIDELS who do not believe in allah…..Well Smitty, do you believ in allah ?

    • Wayne says:


      You may want to check is your history books (and current news), as Muslims are not the only people of religion to rape (children or otherwise) and kill in the name of their god or gods.

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