R.I.P. Michelle

Can we please have a moment of silence for the diseased political life of Michelle Bachmann? Well, as it happens the political life of this Representative is still alive, but it is on life support. As a recent story on “Policymic” points out:

This been a very, very bad year for Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.). Her 2012 presidential ambitions ran into the squall of a sixth place finish in the Iowa caucuses, a large drop from a height peaking at her campaign winning the influential Ames Straw Poll. And now she finds herself mired in an ethics investigation, with her former chief of staff expected to tell an ethics panel that she made illegal payments during her 2012 presidential campaign.

Michelle’s fall from great heights began during the last presidential campaign when she finished sixth in Iowa and allegations about campaign finance violations started to surface. Soon her staff was deserting her and she withdrew from the race; last Fall she barely won re-election to the House of Representatives, narrowly squeaking out a victory in a heavily Republican district against an unknown Democrat who hardly made an effort against her. The handwriting is on the wall, though politicians seem to have a problem reading it when it is there: they suffer from myopia.  As noted, the problem started during her run for the presidential nomination when Peter Waldron, her national field coordinator, filed a complaint of alleged campaign finance violations. He later resigned from her campaign, as did a number of other staffers.  More recently is has been alleged that she was using campaign funds to pay members of her staff to help her promote and sell her autobiography, Core of Conviction, which has sold a total of 3,000 copies to date. (Not on the New York Times Best Seller list!)  Now the House Ethics Committee is investigating her — though I admit this seems a bit like letting the fox guard the chicken house — and her political career seems to be in the toilet. What a shame!

About To Be Flushed?

About To Be Flushed?

But like so many who have been in her shoes, and who will be in the future, no doubt, Michelle has played the denial card. As the story goes on to point out:

Congresswoman Bachmann has denied all of the allegations, claiming that they are politically motivated, despite nearly all of the allegations coming from both former staff members and fellow Republicans. As the investigation rolls forward this story can only get more convoluted as new details come to light.

You’ve got to love it! She cries foul and claims that the plot against her is “politically motivated” in spite of the fact that it is her own people, including her former Chief of Staff, Andy Parrish, who are going to testify against her. But, come to think of it, that it IS political motivation: getting rid of at least one unqualified and incompetent Representative. Now, where is that broom that we are told we can use to sweep clean the houses of so many other corrupt politicians?

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Embrace the ‘Morrow!

Has it struck you that it is a bit curious to see people buying weapons and stockpiling foodstuff to prepare for an angry tomorrow when many of them don’t think tomorrow will come? The English call these people the “nutters.” I refer, of course, to the brew-ha-ha out there about the end of the world that was to have come on the winter solstice. Apparently just in case the world doesn’t end as the Mayans predicted, some people want to be prepared for the worst. Moreover, the “worst” in their minds seems to be earthquakes, flood, and other maniacs carrying guns.

In the wake of the shootings in Newtown there has been a flurry of activity in the nutter-world (not to mention the world of the NRA — or is THAT the “nutter-world”?): a frenzy of blogging activity, mountains of rhetoric, much tearing-out of hair, beating of the chest, and crazy proposals aplenty. The HuffPost just notified me by email that some Minnesota legislators have proposed a law requiring that all school teachers in Minnesota carry weapons. The idea is apparently that if shooting someone is a bad idea, the more who can do it the merrier. That makes about as much sense as the law in Minnesota increasing speed limits on country roads in order to slow down the traffic. I kid you not: that’s what the legislature did in this state. But Minnesota politicians aren’t the only ones vying for the Darwin Award for stupidity: the Congress of the United States refuses to pass tough gun restrictions while at the same time they require metal detectors to protect themselves from gun-carrying maniacs. Emerson once said that consistency is the hob-goblin of tiny minds. I would say that inconsistency is the hob-goblins of mindless idiots.

There are times when one wants to crawl into a hole and hide. I remember the day when I was proud to say I live in Minnesota where the people, for the most part, are smart enough to do the right thing most of the time and where they tend to vote for remarkable politicians like Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale. Now they vote for people like Michelle Bachman and talk about arming the teachers. And not long ago the legislature passed a law permitting all and sundry to carry concealed weapons. Sigh.

All of the evidence supports the view that more people carrying weapons will result in more deaths, though the NRA would have us ignore the data and just listen to Charlton Heston. Surely, what we are seeing is simply the way some people express their fear and even, perhaps, their grief over the deaths of very young children. Cooler heads will prevail in the end, will they not? Eh?

In any event, I write this on the eve of the coming of the end of the world confident that tomorrow will come and I will greet it with open arms ( though I will not be carrying any — tomorrow or even the day after). I hasten to add in closing, as a fellow-blogger from Australia reminds me, it was tomorrow yesterday in that part of the world. Were the Mayan’s aware of that, I wonder?

Political Winds Do Blow

Months before Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the Presidential race, she had an interview in which she had the following to say about Mitt Romney’s chances of winning in November: “He cannot beat Obama. . . It’s not going to happen.” Later in the interview she elaborated a bit. “No, he cannot beat Obama because his policy is the basis for Obamacare,” Bachmann said. “The signature issue of Obama is Obamacare. You can’t have a candidate who has given the blueprint for Obamacare. It’s too identical. It’s not going to happen. We have to have a candidate, a bold distinct candidate in the likeness of Ronald Reagan.”

The candidate “we have to have,” of course, was Michelle Bachmann (“in the likeness of Ronald Reagan.” No false modesty here, folks!). But that was when she was still one of the players in the game. Now, Bachman has endorsed Romney for President. That’s par for the course, as we all know, but it’s also somewhat amusing. The woman who saw how weak a candidate Mitt Romney would be on a large stage is now determined to rally to Romney’s side the support of those on the far right who backed her. It’s politics as usual, of course. But it is also a human comedy if we keep our distance and watch with suspended concern.

Failed candidates almost always rally behind the candidate who wins his or her party’s nomination. It’s all about party loyalty. But the differences within the Republican party these days are so great that the swing of support often seems like a turn-about to the rear. Michelle Bachmann leans so far to the right her shoulder often gets dirty. Romney is adept at finding some ground that appeals to everyone: he leans both left and right — often at the same time. But the change to Romney’s side on Bachmann’s part amounts to a complete abandonment of all she believes in — if, indeed, she really believes in anything. Politicians frequently do not. They prefer pragmatism whereby change can come about as the political winds alter direction. Bachmann seems to be learning the lesson.

In any event, the man who cannot beat Obama because of Obamacare is now joined by the woman who insisted a few months ago he has no chance. I dare say she would now contend that with her help he is a viable candidate, though one would think Romney would prefer to dance with someone else this time around. Bachmann is liable to drive away as many voters as she manages to bring with her. Most of those who supported her in the early stages of her campaign will find Romney unpalatable: for them politics is not a game where you switch sides depending on the way the political winds happen to blow. It will be fascinating to see how things shake out.

In many ways this will be an interesting election (if we can survive the preliminaries): the billionaire Republican who speaks out of both sides of his mouth opposed by the conciliatory Democrat who seems afraid to take a firm position on any issue for fear of alienating someone. Neither man seems to be able to take a stand on principle. Political pragmatism ofttimes looks a lot like believing in nothing, sad to say.