Reckless, irresponsible peddling of conspiracy theories — sometimes meandering into the realm of political paranoia — has been a fixture of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political career. Following is a sampling of Bachmann’s extremist rhetoric, incendiary demagoguery, and fringe beliefs that I’ve documented since first running against her in 2008.
Accusations of McCarthyism following Bachmann’s recent assertions regarding Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s and Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison’s alleged connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Bachmann claims has achieved “deep penetration” within the U.S. government, are not new. She was first accused of neo-McCarthyism nearly four years ago, when she told MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?”
Bachmann’s ‘Anti-American’ Rant (Oct. 17, 2008)
As I said at the time, Bachmann “dishonored her office and brought shame to the Sixth District and the State of Minnesota by calling for a media investigation reminiscent of McCarthy-era witch hunts to ‘find out [which members of Congress] are pro-America or anti-America.’”
The Empress of Exaggeration (March 4, 2009)
On March 4, 2009, Pioneer Press editorial writer and columnist Jim Ragsdale wrote an excellent column on Bachmann’s penchant for hyperbole, labeling Bachmann as “the empress of exaggeration.”
She can turn a mote of dust into a flaming meteorite, a scintilla of evidence into a damning indictment. … To be fair, in most of the cases I am citing, there is a mote of dust — sometimes a speck — floating in the air. But Bachmann’s genius is to transform that speck into a screaming missile about to wreck the Republic.
Bachmann’s ‘One-World Currency’ Paranoia (March 28, 2009)
In March 2009, Bachmann peddled false conspiracy theories that the world was moving toward a unified global currency and that the U.S. might join in as early as the following week’s G-20 conference.
On March 27, 2009, on Glenn Beck’s radio show, Bachmann declared that the U.S. would soon be moving to “give up the dollar as our currency and we would just go with a One World currency.” Such action, she warned, would mean the U.S. as a country would be “no more”:
What that means is all of the countries in the world would have a single currency. We would give up the dollar as our currency and we would just go with a One World currency. … If we give up the dollar as our standard, and co-mingle the value of the dollar with the value of coinage in Zimbabwe, that dilutes our money supply. We lose control over our economy. And economic liberty is inextricably entwined with political liberty. Once you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom. And then we are no more, as an exceptional nation, as we always have been. So this is imperative.
Bachmann Brainwashing Paranoia (April 8, 2009)
In an April 4, 2009 radio interview with Sue Jeffers on KTLK, Bachmann warned that a new bill expanding the AmeriCorps community service agency could lead to the “brainwashing” of America’s youth.
I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go and work in some of these politically correct forums.
Bachmann’s Census Paranoia (June 27, 2009)
On June 17, 2009, Bachmann told the Washington Times:
Unfortunately, the Census data has become very intricate, very personal, a lot of the questions that are asked. I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.
On June 25, 2009, speaking on Fox News, Bachmann suggested that the Obama administration could use Census data for nefarious purposes – including the imprisonment of Americans in concentration camps:
If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps. I’m not saying that’s what the Administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private, personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up.
Bachmann ‘School Sex Clinics’ (Oct. 2, 2009)
In a September 30, 2009 speech on the House floor, Bachmann claimed that that the healthcare reform bill would establish school “sex clinics,” which would exclude parents from their children’s health decisions, including abortion. As I wrote at the time, “Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Fearmonger-in-Chief, this week made the histrionic claim that by next fall  ‘someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back, and go home on the school bus that night … [with] Mom and Dad … never the wiser.’”
Bachmann Healthcare Paranoia (Feb. 3, 2010)
At a February 1, 2010 political forum in Rochester, Minn., Bachmann made the wild claim that President Obama’s health reform proposals, beyond being “the crown jewel of socialism,” could lead to “gangster government” and “absolute abject corruption,” with the government ultimately using the health care law to limit free speech and punish those who disagree with it, and people terrified to speak out against the government for fear of being blacklisted for denial of health care.
Bachmann mythologized as follows:
[A man] ran into me in the hall in Washington, D.C. And he said, he pulled out of his wallet, he said, “Michele, I want to show you something.” … And he showed me a little card. … And he said, “This is my card from when I lived in Japan. And Japan had a government takeover of health care. … And in Japan you sure have a card alright, but to walk in and get health care is almost impossible. You get on a list and you wait and you wait and you wait.”
But he said, “This is something that people don’t know: in Japan, people have stopped voicing their opinion on health care.” …
“Well why is that?” I asked.
He said, “It’s because they know that they would get on a list and they wouldn’t get health care. They wouldn’t get in. They wouldn’t get seen. And so people are afraid. They’re afraid to speak back to government. They’re afraid to say anything.”
Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point! And absolute abject corruption. We’re not that kind of country! That’s not who we are! Our country’s money is not in the cookie jar to pay for it.
Eric Roper of the Star Tribune’s “Hot Dish Politics” blog (Feb. 2, 2010) investigated Bachmann’s claims and reported that he “could not find evidence to back up the claim that Japan withholds health care from government critics.”
Bachmann Threatens Witch Hunts (July 24, 2010)
On July 22, 2010 in Washington, D.C., Bachmann – foreshadowing her latest crusade against alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government – told a gathering of the GOP Youth Convention that House Republicans, if they won control of the House of Representatives, should exercise their power to subpoena and hold continuous hearings.
“Oh, I think that’s all we should do,” Bachmann said. “I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another. And expose all the nonsense that is going on.”
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