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Monday, April 01, 2013

GOP reboot effort hurt by ‘bagger frootloopery

The Week:

Attention, GOP: Your rebranding attempts are being undercut by a segment of your party getting big headlines and lots of airtime — a segment symbolized by the Minnesota quote-machine, Rep. Michele Bachmann. Due to a series of gaffes, she is again on the receiving end of criticism, including from Fox News powerhouse Bill O’Reilly. The congresswoman is also, as reported by The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, “embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign — including an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties.” It’s almost as if Bachmann were a Democratic mole embedded in the Republican Party with the purpose of chasing away a wide range of voters.

Her latest sound-bite-producing comment, this time on ObamaCare, begged for audio accompaniment of the Twilight Zone theme. Try to imagine it: “Let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people. Let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”

While some Republicans have distanced themselves from Bachmann — or fled altogether, as Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins did from her ill-fated presidential campaign last year — she is still popular with GOPers who condone the paranoia-tinged political rhetoric that alienates independents, centrists, moderates, and many young people. Such rhetoric is in full display in too-out-there-for-Fox Glenn Beck’s theory that the real reason Bachmann is being investigated is because a faction of “radical Islam” embedded in the U.S. government is out to get her. 

But, no, it’s not what “they” are doing to Bachmann but, once again, what Bachmann is doing to herself.

Really, there’s not much here that’s a big revelation. Anyone with any familiarity at all with Shelly Bachmann wonders if she even understands the concept of truth. She says insane/stupid things and seems genuinely surprised when other people find them completely unbelievable.

But the Tea Party/talk radio crowd keeps pushing her out front, at which point she becomes embroiled in some controversy over some insane fairy tale she tries to sell. And then even mainstream Republican voters reject her again. Don’t forget, she was an early frontrunner in the GOP primary, before it all fell apart and she was demoted to an also-ran.

“Bachmann committed no major gaffe to lose that lead, no revelation of old affairs, like Herman Cain, or inability to debate well, like Rick Perry,” the story quotes Joel Mathis of the Philly Post as saying. “Instead, what seemed to put off GOP supporters was the same thing that’s always alarmed the rest of us about Michele Bachmann: She seemed just a little crazy.”

It’s at this point that you begin to realize that the problem isn’t with Shelly per se, it’s with the crazpants ‘baggers who idolize her. If Bachmann were to disappear from the face of the Earth, they’d find someone to replace here — Louie Gohmert or Steve King, maybe. Since these sorts of voters have power in Republican primaries, there would be no shortage of lunatic candidates.

The people who applaud like crazy when Michele Bachmann speaks aren’t effect of Bachmann’s celebrity, they’re the cause of it. She a projection of everything they believe and want to hear someone say. That Bachmann is their reflection says a lot about how far gone these people are.

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