Candidate for Dishonest Quote of the Year: Rep. Michele Bachmann

"Huury! There's another four alarm fire in Rep. Bachmann's pants!!"

“I’m happy to say I don’t think that I’ve said anything inaccurate in any of the debates. And I’m extremely grateful for that. It’s a high-profile stage and so I’m grateful that I don’t think I’ve made a blunder.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann on NPR’s Morning Edition. Bachmann saying she has never said anything inaccurate is like Steve Martin saying that he has never said anything funny.

This quote occurred on November 25, and I missed it. It came to mind because the Washington Post did a long feature on Bachmann today as it profiled the Republican presidential contenders who haven’t been fingered by past paramours. As part of the coverage, Post “Fact checker” Glenn Kessler noted that of all the candidates, Bachmann has made the most statements that rated four “Pinocchios”, his rating system for dishonesty. Four puts a politician in the “liar, liar, pants on fire” category, and Bachmann’s metaphorical pants are always smoldering.

I think I missed this statement because I assumed the jig was up with Bachmann, and I could look elsewhere for topics. There are some public figures—Al Sharpton, Howard Stern, Sen. Harry Reid, Michael Savage, Joy Behar, Bill Maher (gasp for breath), Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump, Mark Levin, and others—who violate principles of honesty, civility and fairness in their statements so regularly that I can just check their most recent comments on a slow news day and have something juicy to write about. But with these regular ethics violators there is little point in doing so. Their fans are so biased or corrupted that they are beyond reaching with reasoned analysis, and any objective, ethically grounded observer knows all about these culprits already. Bachmann is on the list; she is a charter member, in fact. Continue reading

Trump Follies Integrity Test: The Grades Are In!

Today Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann  declined the invitation to participate in the NewsMax debate, moderated by Donald Trump. All the GOP Presidential contenders have now responded to the opportunity accept some television exposure in exchange for playing pawns in Donald Trump’s tawdry manipulation of the media, public attention and the political process for personal promotion purposes.

The Ethics Alarms grades are in for this integrity test,  based on rapidity in assessing the revolting nature of the exercise, clarity in condemning it, and personal integrity demonstrated by the handling of the whole embarrassing stunt.

Here they are:

AJon Huntsman and Ron Paul get the highest grades for declining quickly and for the right stated reason—Trump.

C+: Mitt Romney was the third to  decline, but also told Trump it was for scheduling reasons, losing points for weasel words, or, in the alternative, really not objecting to The Donald. As usual, who knows what Romney really believes?

D : Perry and Bachmann, for waiting until they knew who else was debating. Perry used the same excuse as Romney, and Bachmann declined “respectfully.” That loses points: Trump doesn’t deserve any respect.

D-: Rick Santorum. OK, he should flunk, but he’s desperate, and only a debate with nobody else at it would give him a chance to stand out. He couldn’t resist temptation. I sympathize.

F: Newt. He has no excuses. Or integrity.

Bachmann and Elijah

"Psst! My mom is gay and doesn't need fixing. What's 'gay'?"

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s views on homosexuality are antediluvian and ignorant. Almost anything that causes her discomfort as a result of her bigotry is to be fervently desired. Almost anything. One exception is a mother using her child as a weapon against her in a war he doesn’t understand.

In the video conveniently taken by a friend of 8-year-old Elijah’s mother and subsequently posted on YouTube, the child reluctantly, after much prodding, whispers “My mom is gay and she doesn’t need fixing” in the strange Minnesota Congresswoman’s ear. If it makes some people happy to believe that Elijah did this on his own, I suppose that’s a plus; this makes two plusses when added to Bachmann’s probable pique. Sorry, it’s not enough. I know it wouldn’t create a viral video if Elijah’s mother delivered her sentiment herself, but that’s just too bad: children are not puppets, props or trained terriers, and using them to deliver political messages is unethical—unfair, irresponsible, a breach of trust, and an abuse of power. Placing a child’s programmed act on Youtube, where it will haunt him forever, just adds to the offense,

Elijah’s message was inaccurate. His mother does need fixing, just not in the way Michele Bachmann thinks she does.


Can’t Someone Be Appreciated for Being NICE Anymore? Even Michele Bachmann?

Yes, a video of the last Republican presidential candidates debate (in Iowa) shows Rep. Michele Bachmann voluntarily filling the water glasses of her fellow contenders before the event, since apparently the organizers expected them to pour their own. The Horror.

The Huffington Post is sure this is a significant and unseemly display of subservience to men by Bachmann, whose fundamentalist Christian beliefs suggest that she accepts the concept of women submitting to their husbands in the marital relationship. Over at The Frisky, Jessica Wakeman accuses Bachmann of staging the whole thing for the cameras, so she will be perceived as nicer than she really is…and she thinks it gives women a black eye: Continue reading

Most Troubling Comment During The GOP Debate: Mitt Romney

The runner-up in this category, as I have come to expect, was Michelle Bachmann’s…

“The president, he put us in Libya. He is now putting us in Africa.”

If any other candidate, or President Obama, had said this, no one would blink: an innocent misstatement, obviously. With Bachmann, however, and her record of historical and factual howlers, one has to pause. Does the Congresswoman really not know that Libya is in Africa? After all, a large portion of Americans don’t. It is not unfair to judge Bachmann’s comment in the context of our general impression of her knowledge and precision of expression, but avoiding confirmation bias is almost impossible. If you think Bachmann’s a dolt, then the gaffe is just more proof. If you admire and respect her, you ignore the mistake (we know what she means, after all) and the criticism confirms that everyone is predisposed to be unfair to your candidate. I will say this: Bachmann is at fault for eroding her credibility to the point that a statement like this raises any doubts at all. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt, but the doubt is there, nonetheless.

The winning entry in the debate, revealing a disturbing ethical orientation in a spontaneous remark, was Mitt Romney’s comment in the midst of objecting to Gov. Perry’s allegation about Romney’s hypocrisy in criticizing Perry’s record on illegal immigration after employing illegals himself: Continue reading

NOW Do You Get It, Bachmann Fans?

Bachmann finally jumped it, as we knew she would!

When I called Rep. Michele Bachmann unethical for her repeated uses of erroneous information in her speeches—announcing that the Battle of Concord occurred in New Hampshire, declaring the Founders spent their lives fighting slavery (and later justifying this whopper by saying that Founding Father’s Son John Quincy Adams qualified as a Founding Father himself), the Bachmanites were furious. “Anyone can make a mistake!” they argued.

Not these kinds of mistakes. As I wrote in July: Continue reading

Obama’s Fractured History

"Don't know much about history..."

I have been, some say, too hard on Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, for their various gaffes related to our American heritage. The reason I believe that these politicians are especially blame-worthy for their fractured history is that they are all constantly evoking America’s historical past, especially its founding. If you are going to take on the responsibility of educating Americans about the Constitution (which Cain mixed up with the Declaration), Paul Revere (whose ride Palin mangled) and the Founders (to whose number Bachmann added John Quincy Adams), you better get your facts straight, because the public trusts what you say.

What then, is the proper and fair reaction when a President the media has anointed as brilliant states in a nationally televised speech before Congress that Abraham Lincoln was the “founder of the Republican Party”? Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Rep. Michele Bachmann

I think Hurricane Irene was sent by God to help the Red Sox. Hear me out! It makes mores sense than Michele's theory!

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

—-Rep. Michele Bachmann, GOP presidential hopeful and shameless demagogue, joining the discredited ranks of Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and others to assert that weather conditions constitute proof that God agrees with her.

You can read my views on this arrogant, manipulative species of idiocy here, here and here.  I’ve written about it too much, and as an American living in the 21st Century, I’m embarrassed that I should have to write about it at all. Continue reading

Tardy and Biased Ethics Half-Hero: National Organization for Women (NOW)

Well, better late, confused, ineffective, biased and hypocritica than never, I guess.

Well, what do you know! The National Organization for Women, after sitting back and tolerating (or perhaps enjoying) comedian Bill Maher’s repeated use of misogynistic language to denigrate women as long as the women—Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin—were anti-abortion and conservatives, finally spoke up and followed their mission when Maher’s show, as it was bound to do, went too far even for NOW.

NOW issued a release condemning Maher and his guests on HBO’s “Real Time” for endorsing rape and sexual abuse, or “angry fucking,” as proper punishment for Bachmann for the crime of not seeing the world as Maher and guests Dan Savage and Marc Maron do. While discussing Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus’s controversial gay Christian therapy clinic, the panel and Maher discussed “Mr. Bachmann’s” sexuality and marriage with Michele.  Marc Maron declared that he hoped Marcus “takes all that rage that comes from repression and denial and brings it into the bedroom. . . I hope he fucks her angrily, because that’s how I would, and I’ve thought about it.” Continue reading

More Than a Fool: Bachmann, John Quincy Adams, and Wikipedia

John Quincy Adams, Sixth President, slavery foe, and time-traveling Founding Father

I will strive a bit longer to avoid concluding that Michele Bachmann is as irresponsible, dishonest and dangerous as I strongly suspect that she is, though my determination may not last the time it takes to write this post. I won’t wait any longer to conclude that she is a fool.

In one short week since the controversy erupted over Fox News anchor Chris Wallace daring to ask her on the air, “Are you a flake?” and her subsequent botching of both her answer and the question’s fevered aftermath, she has stumbled into two flaky episodes. One—her mixing up Western movie star icon John Wayne with serial child killer John Wayne Gacy—was at least funny. The other, far less forgivable—her claim that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States”—has signature significance. Continue reading