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  • January 31st, 2011

The Lady From Wonderland

By Joel M. Vance

I fish and hunt in Minnesota, a lovely state with an alleged 10,000 lakes, lots of Scandinavian types and good beer.

And then there’s Michele Bachmann, surely the goofiest politician to come stumbling down the pike since….well, I can’t think of since when.  Her spin on reality is every bit as valid as that of J.K. Rowling, but not nearly as entertaining.

It is tempting to dismiss her as simply a mighty wind without substance, but she got elected presumably by voters who agree with her nutty viewpoints.  It’s also tempting to dismiss her as a ditz, which she is, and move on with more substantive things—but she unaccountably gets press and she is a United States Congresswoman no matter how much that makes me shake my head, sigh and reach for another beer.

My home, Missouri, has elected its share of your basic venal, corrupt and incompetent legislators, but so far I don’t think we have elected anyone with as tenuous a grasp of reality, history or basic intellect as Ms. Bachmann.  Minnesota seems to have a bi-polar political personality.  The same state can send Al Franken and Michele Bachmann to Congress.  Or elect Jesse Ventura as Governor and send Paul Wellstone to the Senate.  Go figure….

There was Ms. Bachmann’s hyperbolic statement a while back that, “I’m a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington.” It sounds tough, but really makes no sense.  But then she rarely does.

Of course there was her call to arms, literally, when she said, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”

That inflammatory rhetoric got conveniently overlooked when her fellow legislator Gabrielle Giffords was shot by an anti-government nutcase.  The extreme right immediately said, “Hey, politics didn’t inspire him and anyway if they did, it was the liberal left who goosed him into shooting that lady.”

Except I can’t think of a single liberal who has been urging folks to be “armed and dangerous” and who links that with revolution.  Thomas Jefferson said what he said more than 200 years ago and while most of what he wrote and believed is valid today, it doesn’t mean all of it is.

I don’t believe he was promoting periodic armed revolution within the nation he helped to create but instead was indulging in some hyperbole of his own by overemphasizing that the citizenry needs to be wary lest its government morph into a tyranny.  Can anyone other than Bachmann and a few of her crazy compadres seriously think that Jefferson advocated a bloody revolution no more than 20 years after he produced the most famous document in American history?

To my knowledge, the United States is not now and has not been since that revolution, dominated by another country nor has it elected a tyrannical leader on the order of Hitler or Stalin.  It has instead elected leaders for better or worse who have come and gone—not stayed on like Papa or Baby Doc Duvalier, Saddam or other well-known “democratically” elected tyrants.  We had a pretty substantial war in 1860-65 to re-establish and reinforce our system and while we can’t ask Jefferson what he thinks about things today, I would question that Michele Bachmann’s interpretation is the definitive one.

Bachmann’s latest foot in mouth outburst invokes the Founding Fathers who, in her view, “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States….Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”  First of all, J.Q. Adams was not a Founding Father, but the son of John Adams, who was.  J.Q. was nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed—maybe a Founding Son, but not a Father.

Second, he died in 1848, some 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation did end slavery.  Third, George Washington, the Father of the Country, owned slaves, as did Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and as did many of the signers of the Declaration, including James Madison, another President who is considered the father of the Constitution, and James Monroe, yet another President—all Founding Fathers, as it were.

In other words, Michele Bachmann, once again, is totally full of crap.

She would not be significant, a minor zit on the often pitted face of politics if it were not her insistence on recognition, and her being authenticated by the extreme right wing.  She gave the Tea Party rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union speech and she is a minor power among the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

At the moment she has game, but she surely will fail, victim of her own tangled tongue and voter disenchantment.  When she starts getting specific on issues she almost inevitably alienates another chunk of her potential base.

To show you how politically astute she is, she chose Iowa to give her historic fantasy speech right after calling for an end to farm subsidies—sure way to go over big in  the nation’s leading farm state.  Presumably she chose Iowa for her speech because it often is considered a launch pad for a Presidential bid.

Maybe next she’ll tell Kansans that sunflowers are noxious weeds or Missourians they should eat more mule.

Ms. Bachmann and her husband own a mental health care business in Stillwater, Minnesota, and it is almost overwhelmingly tempting to suggest that she….oh, nevermind.  Once again Michele Bachmann proves that her Tea Party is the one from Wonderland and not the one from Colonial America.

Go get Alice, somebody—she can have company down that rat hole.


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  1. David Richey

    January 31st, 2011 at 2:49 pm


    Joel: Will send a private email. — Dave

  2. Carrie Vance DeValk

    February 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 pm


    You found a perfect picture.

  3. Chuck Post

    February 11th, 2011 at 2:23 pm


    Are you sure it was own and not escaped a mental health clinic

  4. John Rucker

    February 22nd, 2011 at 1:07 pm


    Joel, I have been a fan for a number of years. Maybe somewhat in awe of someone with your talent, (and to think, from good old KHS). After reading your comment on Michele Bachmann I am really glad to see that you have your thoughts and priorities correct.
    What a stupid bitch! She is probably not the worst representative of the people but she is mighty close if not.
    I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work.
    John (Buck) Rucker

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