Archive - Jun 30, 2009


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Memo to Michelle Bachmann: OH, YOU'RE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS?

Covering the antics of Michelle Bachmann is trickier than you might think. I mean, yes, she is constantly saying things that are both stupid and crazy. That's a given. But the more she says stupid and crazy things, the higher the bar for covering her stupid and crazy things becomes. It's no longer enough for her to simply spout some black-helicopter anti-government fantasy du jour. My interest requires more to be piqued.

Which is why you didn't hear a peep from me when Bachmann went on the Washington Times radio show* and dropped this ACTUAL QUOTE:

"The mother lode of all data information will be from the Census. … Unfortunately, the Census data has become very intricate, very personal, a lot of the questions that are asked. I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that."

Now, I'm well aware that census-fear is so far out there on the wingnut crazy-idea matrix that it is usually only expressed by people who live on compounds. But this is our dear, sweet Michelle we're talking about here. She might just fear counting because she doesn't understand it. Maybe she's worried a felt vampire will show up at her house and tell the government how many people live there. My point is, with Bachmann, you can never tell which idiocies are just the passing fancy of a clearly malfunctioning brain, and which idiocies are part of a deliberate and new policy stance.

In the weeks since that fateful quote, however, Bachmann has made it clear that she views the 2010 Census as the devil's abacus, and warned that the Obama administration would use the 2010 results to throw another Malkin Party:

"If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps. I’m not saying that’s what the Administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private, personal information that was given to the census bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up." - Bachmann, on Fox News.

Note that whenever someone says "I'm not saying" in a situation like this, that statement should always be parsed as "Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying". For example, I'm not saying that Michelle Bachmann has a lead-lined room in her basement where she sleeps every night to keep the IRS from impregnating her with a gay communist fetus. I'm just saying that, historically, people with an irrational fear of the census have built such rooms.

Then she went on Glenn Beck, claimed that the Census should really be used to ferret out illegal immigrants, and shouldn't be asking "the date and time that we leave mental stability". No, really. And no, I don't have a decent explanation for why that moment didn't cause the entire universe to spontaneously implode, but I guess I'm glad it didn't.

The best part? People from the Census Bureau now get to try to explain to Michelle Bachmann that they are not in fact a shadowy government conspiracy to turn our precious personal information and bodily fluids over to ACORN, but in fact are part of a centuries-old tradition of collecting data about the United States because running a country is easier when you actually know stuff about it. This was, by the way, the single worst job in the entire world until Michael Jackson suddenly needed a probate attorney.

I wish the Census Bureau the best in its attempts, but I hope they realize that mere words flowing into Bachmann's ear-holes are not actually going to place information into her brain. They should instead consider an elaborate ruse where actors, portraying Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin, give Bachmann a "secret classified briefing" that reveals how the Census is actually a tool of the CIA used to root out socialists, and that the Shadow Census, as it's called, is actually being run by George W. Bush out of a secret control room in the basement of his new Dallas home. Because when you're dealing with Michelle Bachmann, all the facts in the world are powerless against any lie she's insanely predisposed to believe.

*"Bachmann went on the Washington Times radio show" may be the wingnuttiest eight-word phrase in the English language, come to think of it.