Michele, Give 'Em Hell

FIrst up, let me say that I’m no fan of Representative Michele Bachmann. (Personal note: One “L,” two “N’s.” Remember that.) And I don’t mean that in the sardonic, understated way that means “I don’t like her;” I mean it most literally. I don’t know much about her, she hasn’t grabbed my imagination, I like some of her positions and style, I got problems with others, but I’m keeping an open mind. (Fair warning: if she does very well in the New Hampshire primary, I will use the phrase “Bachmann Turnout Overdrive.”)

I will say, though, on one front, she’s really winning me over. And that’s in a way that I don’t think she really can control.

She’s pissing off all the right people.

Over the past few weeks, the media and the left (but I repeat myself) have been going after her hammer and tongs. And three of the harshest attacks have, upon the most rudimentary investigation, fallen apart.

First up, the noted alleged “non-partisan” group PolitiFact summarized their scrutiny of Bachmann’s statements. I read through it, and as I looked at one they rated as “pants on fire” (their strongest rating for a lie), I couldn’t help notice that in this case, PolitiFact’s trousers were actually the ones combusting.

See if you can spot the mistake:

On ACORN and the Census

…Bachman also said the Constitution only requires her to tell the census
“how many people are in our home.” We found that a law passed by
Congress actually requires an interviewee to answer “any of the
questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any
Census” from the U.S. Census. So we rated that statement Pants on Fire
as well.

Did you catch that? Let me paraphrase it to hammer it home.

Bachmann: “The Constitution says you only have to tell how many people live there.”

“You lie! Here’s a law that says you gotta give any info they ask you for!”

Me: “Hey, PolitiFact? ‘A law’ is NOT the Constitution. And she specified the Constitution, you morons.”

Next up, when Bachmann announced her candidacy, she returned to her childhood home town of Waterloo, Iowa. She mentioned that it was also where John Wayne came from — which wasn’t quite true. It turns out that Wayne’s parents had come from Waterloo.

But that inaccuracy wasn’t enough. Some enterprising soul discovered that notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy had lived in Waterloo for some time. Now, he wasn’t born there, didn’t die there, and — as far as anyone knows — never committed a single murder there, but there was a tangential connection.

And that was enough. Bachmann’s enemies were off and running, saying that Bachmann had confused the legendary actor with the legendary serial killer. Never mind that the connection to Gacy was essentially invented by Bachmann critics and had no actual roots in reality — the myth had been laid down, and is still being pushed.

Finally, Bachmann stated that many of the Founding Fathers were anti-slavery, and specifically cited John Quincy Adams. This provoked howls of derisive laughter — many of the Founding Fathers were slave-owners themselves, and John Quincy Adams was just shy of nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

But hang on there. Here’s where things get interesting.

Yes, many of the Founding Fathers were anti-slavery. Look at the Constitution — the “3/5 of a person” was a compromise with the slave states, who wanted their slaves to count for the purposes of representation. They settled on them counting as 3/5 of a person — which means that there was some serious opposition among the crafters of the Constitution to at least that aspect of slavery. Also, there were quite a few other anti-slavery moves in the earliest days of our nation.

And then there’s J. Q. himself. Yes, he was quite young — but precocious. He accompanied his father as they spent several years establishing diplomatic relations in Europe for the nascent nation, and at the age of 14 served as secretary on a three-year mission to win recognition from Russia. Later, President Washington named him minister to the Netherlands, Portugal, Berlin, and Prussia successively.

I had never really thought about a formal definition of “Founding Father,” but now that I think about it, I’d say that a fair definition would be “the men who played important roles in the establishing of the United States, from the first acts of rebellion (say, the boycotts in response to the Sugar Act and Currency Act in 1764) to the ratification of the Constitution (June 21, 1788). And by that standard, J. Q. qualifies as a Founding Father — a minor one, to be sure, but still he fits.

 And J. Q.’s anti-slavery credentials are impeccable.

So, upon inspection, Bachmann’s statement here is pretty much accurate.

As I said, I dunno that much about Bachmann. I like some of her positions, dislike some, and don’t know a lot more.

But the more savagely she’s being attacked, and the more bullshit the attacks are, the more I think she just might be worth looking at.

If for no other reason than to catch the lying scumbags practicing their finely-honed art of the bullshit attacks.

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