Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Keeping ACA Myths Alive

I skipped the GOP response to the State of the Union because, well, I always skip the out-party response; they're invariably dull, pointless affairs, and a long time ago I decided that it was a perfectly safe choice to just never watch them. I think the last one I watched involved four Democrats, and one of them was Tom Daschle...when he was still in the House (looking it up: hey, it was twelve Democrats, a strategy that died when Ronald Reagan won a landslide reelection).

However, I'm glad to see that Michele Bachmann's alternate response relied, according to TPM, on one of the best ACA myths: the army of IRS agents supposedly hired to enforce the new law. Why do I like this particular myth so much? What's especially fun about it is the way that the number varies in different tellings. Bachmann picked a relatively low value, 16,500 -- but she gets points for the 500 part, in that it adds the kind of specificity that gives these things their special verisimilitude. In fact, I believe that 16.5K was the original number, although -- and I'm afraid I've lost my convenient link to this, so you'll have to trust my memory -- anything from 16K to 20K, at least, has been used.

Of course, the big question for Bachmann is whether the IRS has already hired these mythical agents to enforce the mythical ten years of revenues to go with six years of benefits. That answer I'd tune in to see.


  1. I swear: closed information loops are really not good things.

  2. Michele Bachmann did not say how we got here from eight years of poor leadership, two wars without end, diminsihed Civil liberties. Its like she crawl out from under a rock just to complain about our current President. We all know that Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works started the Tea Party, grasroots, please. She like Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle and Linda McMahon, they are just not right but funny. I especially like the clip of Bachmann saying that the founding fathers abolished slavery, wow, what a liar, not the first or last time that will happen. Does anyone with self-respect real believe her?

  3. Stepping back from the details, there's something pervasively gloomy about Bachmann giving that response for Tea Partiers.

    Let's suppose that there are many millions of Americans who believe their government has failed them, having degenerated into little more than a pitched battle of special interests, each fighting for their turf while the overall ship goes down, with no one politician having the interest or courage actually to address the crisis. Most of us just grumble in silence, but a few of us(them) have organized into a Tea Party.

    A Tea Party, designed to give voice to those who feel poorly represented, to call out the sham of Washington politics, the empty sloganeering and dissembling that is little better than politicians whistling past the graveyard of American greatness. This is roughly what Rick Santelli had in mind when he called the Tea Party to order, yes?

    So who is the courageous politician for this difficult but critical, and substantive, task?

    Why....Michelle Bachmann....OF COURSE!!!

  4. Digression:

    This is roughly what Rick Santelli had in mind when he called the Tea Party to order, yes?

    I mostly followed the Daily Show response and that because, well, it was hilarious esp. the Kramer involvement, but IIRC, Santelli just ranted against a mythical bailout of underwater homeowners as the alleged expense of hardworking stock traders. Did he do more than that rant? Did he articulate things any further than that? Was there more content than that?

    (In particular, the special interests part doesn't seem right, nor the failing greatness. I remember (vaguely) it was all about freeloading poor people...but, my memory isn't clear on this point.)

  5. i’m convinced that people like Bachmann don’t know what they believe in; they’re simply trying to capitalise on conservatives’ righteous indignation after the 2008 election.

    i don’t remember who said it first, but it’s a case of being sore losers, as opposed to having a legitimate grievance pertaining to any one issue. As i’ve said many times in the past, conservative Republicans are chagrined because they had such high hopes for Bush, and when he couldn’t deliver, the inevitable consequence was Obama, and the Democrats’ takeover of Congress. That’s what happens in a two-party system. Love him or despise him, Obama’s election in 2008 was far more an eventuality than it was a victory. The GOP ran McCain–and especially Palin–as a crapshoot; they knew it was doubtful they would win, but they wanted to see what would happen. Today’s teabaggers, and pols like Michelle Bachmann, are merely manifestations of conservative hand-wringing; recalcitrant children whining about their decline in power. However, just as entertainers (take Marilyn Manson, for example) are blamed for the sometimes overzealousness of their fans, the outlandish rhetoric and apocalyptic tone employed by people like Bachmann, and does make an impression upon those with compromised intellects. Consider the so-called ‘Hutaree’: it’s impossible for any rationally thinking person to take a group like this seriously, and my guess is even the FBI didn’t seriously give shrift to the notion that they posed any legitimate threat to the government, however, if a few far-right nutjobs decided they could catalyse a revolution by gunning down government employees or blowing up a post office, that’s more than enough reason to intervene. Bachman, Palin, Beck, etc. should consider the volatility of their audiences’ mental health, and avoid feeding the animals.

  6. There was an infamous and often-described encounter between Sarah Palin and Andrew Halcro during their primary contest. Halcro, the ultimate policy and fact guy, had just finished a talk in which he had demonstrated his points with hard facts, the antithesis of Palin-speak. However, in a private talk after, Palin observed to Halcro that facts really don’t matter. And so enormous crowds of seemingly adults will listen to a Palin or Bachmann word-salad and somehow hear in that solutions to infinitely complex diplomatic, economic and social problems that have defied solution for a hundred years. It doesn’t matter that Bachmann just made stuff up. I’d bet that not one in a hundred Tea Baggers will even remember anything Bachmann actually said. They are listening to some tape inside their own heads, one that tells them that if just didn’t have some smart-ass Harvard-educated black guy in the White House, we’d suddenly all become contented, small-town white folks with jobs down at the local hardware store – if we’d just end social security, there wouldn’t be any poor elderly people living on catfood in unheated city apartments – if we’d just repeal healthcare, there’d suddenly be wise, old Marcus Welby general practitioners on every street corner – I mean, why does everything have to be so complicated? So facts don’t matter. More accurately, facts are the very problem.

  7. The University that awarded Congresswoman Bachmann a law degree should be ashamed (Please don't tell me it was Oral Roberts University). If the founding fathers (I suppose she included the Southern founding fathers who owned slaves) worked tirelessly to abolish slavery how come the country fought a civil war over slavery? Did the law school that granted Bachmann a law degree fail to teach, or even mention, the 1857 Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision? If everyone who came to America was welcomed as equal, regardless of race, then why was it necessary to pass three Constitutional Amendments: the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth? Did Rep. Bachmann learn any thing about the Jim Crow period that ushered in legal segregation of the races in the Southern States? Is it possible that the college and the law school she attended omitted any mention of the Supreme Court's "Plessy v. Ferguson" decision? I have a sneaking suspicion that, Rep. Bachmann, a college educated and a lawyer, is not that ignorant. Rather, she seems determined to re-write history to conform with teabaggers' claims that their mission is to restore the ideals of the pure and blameless founding fathers.

    Who is dumber?; Michelle for saying the Founding Fathers eliminated slavery, or Sarah for saying that the Soviet Union collapsed because of Sputnik. What do you think?


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