Slogans that are devoid of meaning, let alone substance. Not the safe pair of hands the US economy needs..
YESTERDAY Politico reported that the Obama campaign was planning to destroy Mitt Romney, should he win the Republican nomination, by portraying him as “weird”. So much for “hope” and “change”. None of those quoted in the piece say it, but such a strategy would obviously play on America’s perception of Mr Romney’s Mormonism. And that got me thinking, what if Michele Bachmann wins the nomination?
In next week’s New Yorker, Ryan Lizza has a dispassionate profile of Mrs Bachmann that explores, among other things, the candidate’s religious beliefs. She recommends Christian books and films that suggest non-Christians are trouble, that the government may be poisoning the water supply, and that America’s civil war was a theological battle that pitted the victimised Christian South against the godless North. She is a fan of Nancy Pearcey’s book, “Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity”, which argues that only systems built on “Biblical truth” are correct. She says she was profoundly affected by Francis Schaeffer’s film series “How Should We Then Live?”, which again promotes the idea that the inerrant bible is the final authority, while also condemning the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism. In Mr Lizza’s piece Sara Diamond, an author who has studied evangelical movements, sums up the thinking of Schaeffer, whom Mrs Bachmann calls “a tremendous philosopher”, as follows: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”
Does Mrs Bachmann believe all this? Mr Lizza reports
As I started getting deeper into a conversation with her about Schaeffer, she abruptly ended the interview. She said she had to leave for an appearance on “Hannity” but would try to set up another time to talk. I didn’t hear from her again. Her press secretary later told me that Bachmann “wasn’t comfortable with the line of questions, and that’s why there wasn’t a follow-up conversation.”
Mr Lizza goes on to say that “Bachmann and her political consultants…know that her inoffensive ode to liberty is necessary because many voters don’t respond well to religious language.” But religion isn’t really the problem, it’s the extreme nature of her beliefs. Promoting a literal interpretation of the bible as the only standard on which to base society is simply not good politics in modern America, most of it anyway. And though she has watched her steps as a presidential candidate, the extent of her biblical devotion has been on display in the past. During her 2006 House campaign, for example, Mrs Bachmann famously quoted a passage from the bible in reference to some career advice from her husband: “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.” In 2003, in a conversation about public abstinence education, she argued that “the Bible presents a standard to which everyone can repair, whether you are a believer or not.” Even now, she peppers her remarks with biblical allusions that often make little sense until you realise their source.
But if Mrs Bachmann’s religious views are extreme, then so are many of her political beliefs, and yet her support keeps growing. In fact, Mrs Bachmann only seems to be able to view the world as a battle between extremes. It is her defining quality. Since the current president took office, Mrs Bachmann has argued that “we are headed down the lane of economic Marxism“, that health-care reform will “make us like Havana in 1959”, and that the Affordable Care Act is “the crown jewel of socialism.” Now hark back to the late 1990s, when Mrs Bachmann was crusading against state and federal education law. Per Mr Lizza:
Bachmann’s analysis of education law similarly veered off into conspiratorial warnings. “Government now will be controlling people,” she said during one lecture on education, at a church in Minnesota. “What has history shown us about planned, state economies in the last one hundred years? Think Fascism, think Communism, think socialism. Think, the state-planned economies, totalitarianism. Think Cuba! Do you want Cuba’s economy or do you want the United States of America’s economy?”
Perhaps Mrs Bachmann is simply the right candidate at the right moment, her worldview a perfect fit for a Republican Party that is more combative and polarising than ever.
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Is this what the US needs? What happened to facts, reasoning, arguments, proof. Perhaps she doesn’t even believe in science. Although we think that when these issues will become more widely known the current interest in Michelle Bachmann might very well subside, but to suggest the US, with a tax/GDP ratio of 15% is heading towards “economic Marxism” (whatever that means), well..
What does Bachmann think of countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, countries with relatively well run economies but tax/GDP ratio’s between 35-50%? Is that “economic Marxism?”