Monday, August 15, 2011

Bachmann Unmasked

Just reading what Michele Bachmann is like doesn't tell the complete story. Neither does just listening to her. To understand her appeal, you have to watch her as she responds to questions, because then you will realize that not only doesn't she answer the questions, she smirks and smiles her way through the interview. Just like George W. Bush did. He became president. So could she.

In the interview that I watched on television, she gave the same evasive answer to a question three times as the interviewer tried and tried again to get her to answer the question directly. When the interviewer gave up and moved on, she did the same thing to all of his following questions. To someone who wanted to know what she thought on the topics she was being questioned about, it would be a frustrating experience. She just wouldn't say. But to all the fundamentalists who already know what she believes, it didn't matter that she didn't answer. They know that the answer to every question can be found in the Bible, and that Bachmann reads the Bible the same way they do.

Bachman's approach was exactly the approach Bush used when he was running, right down to the smirks and smiles that signaled to his supporters that he and they really didn't care what the reporter asked or what the non-fundamentalist public wanted to know. Bush knew that the only people who mattered were fundamentalists, and that everyone else was ungodly and doomed anyway. The reporter was doing the devil's work, trying to bring Bush down and lead the people away from the Truth, so it was OK to lie to the reporter and evade his unholy questions.

Bush thought it was perfectly all-right to lie about Saddam Hussein and non-existent weapons of mass destruction because, in the big picture, heathens were undeserving of his respect – they didn't subscribe to his world view. Bachmann was doing a perfect imitation of Bush when she wouldn't explain her previous statements about homosexuals and about her Christian obligation to be submissive to her husband. She knew what she had said on other occasions, she knew that her fundamentalist voting base agreed with her, and she didn't give a damn whether her contradictory statements made sense to some humanistic secular reporter or not.

I remember people dismissing Bush as an unelectable former drunk who did poorly in school and evaded his military obligation, failing his way through life on his family's fortunes. But all that was just human frailty to his supporters, unimportant to them once he told them he had been born again. He said he listened to a higher father, and they knew he was talking their language. Bachmann is doing the same thing.

Will the Republicans nationwide elect Bachmann, having seen the mess Bush made of the government and the country? Of course they will! The reward they seek isn't of this world, so they don't care whether she'll screw it up or not. She knows the Way, so they'll vote for her, unless some other candidate demonstrates that he or she is even more zealous than she is. I suspect that is what the other Republican candidates will set about trying to do as the primary and caucus season progresses. The issue is no longer whether there should be a separation of Church and State. State no longer even matters.

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