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Intro: "Rep. Michele Bachmann's creativity is unrivaled in contemporary politics. Consider her remarks yesterday to a gathering of the Republican Leadership Conference.... Bachmann's principal problem is that she combines the worst of two important traits: she's strikingly ignorant about public policy and she's paranoid to the point of delusion."

Michele Bachmann suggested that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in 'Obamacare.' (photo: AP)
Michele Bachmann suggested that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in 'Obamacare.' (photo: AP)



Bachmann's Latest Conspiracy Theory Is a Doozy

By Steve Benen, Washington Monthly

18 June 11

 

ep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) creativity is unrivaled in contemporary politics. Consider her remarks yesterday to a gathering of the Republican Leadership Conference.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the latest candidate to join the Republican presidential campaign, suggested Friday that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in the new national health care law.

"This hasn't been talked about very much - the president's plan for senior citizens is Obamacare," Ms. Bachmann told party activists here. She added, "I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens."

Bachmann's principal problem is that she combines the worst of two important traits: she's strikingly ignorant about public policy and she's paranoid to the point of delusion.

It's these qualities that lead Bachmann to come up with such odd theories. In this case, the unhinged Minnesotan believes President Obama is secretly trying to eliminate Medicare, forcing seniors into the Affordable Care Act. Is there any evidence at all to support this? Of course not, but that's not important right now.

In practical terms, Bachmann apparently thinks the president is secretly right-wing - she believes Obama wants to end the existing system of socialized medicine for seniors, and force these millions of seniors into the private insurance market.

Of course, there is a group of people who actually support such an approach. They're called "House Republicans." Indeed, the House GOP budget plan - written by Paul Ryan and endorsed by none other than Michele Bachmann - seeks to end Medicare and convert the program into an ACA-style system. Bachmann's conspiracy theory is that Obama secretly agrees with her far-right colleagues.

This isn't just wrong; it's mad-as-a-hatter crazy.

Bachmann's ability to come up with remarkable conspiracy theories has always impressed me. Remember the time the right-wing presidential candidate argued that the U.S. Census may lead to "internment camps"? How about when she warned of a "one-world currency" because she got confused about what a global reserve currency is? Or maybe the time she thought the "Lion King" was secretly gay propaganda? How about the time she said a bipartisan national service bill could lead to "re-education camps"?

This new one, though, is probably my favorite to date. Anytime a right-wing lawmaker talks to a right-wing audience and thinks it's wise to attack President Obama as secretly on their side, it deserves some kind of award.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

 

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+36 # charrob 2011-06-18 15:07
Obama is a republican: everything he's done since he's gotten into office proves this. He's escalated wars, continued the patriot act, civil liberties abuses, Guantanomo, expanded the executive, expanded "free" trade, destroyed the endangered species act, called for expanded oil drilling, refused to sign on to the moratorium on killing the whales, continues de-regulation on Wall Street and the destruction of Glass-Steigal, gave tax cuts to billionaires... HE'S A REPUBLICAN!
 
 
+57 # RSJ 2011-06-18 17:54
@ charrob: An interesting theory not based in fact. If Obama is such a Republican as you claim, why are billionaires like the Koch Bros. spending hundreds of millions to defeat him and the Dems? Would a Republican have tried to change the health care system so that insurers can't deny coverage for 'pre-existing conditions' and given money to establish more health clinics for the poor? Would a Republican have hired Elizabeth Warren as an economic advisor and promoted her CFPB? Would a Republican have made a deal to extend unemployment benefits for millions in need and get rid of DADT? I could go on, but I think I've made my point. He is not a perfect progressive, to be sure, but Obama is also not a Republican, by any stretch. (BTW, Obama didn't destroy Glass-Steagal -- that happened more than a decade ago.)
 
 
+66 # jon 2011-06-18 21:00
The Koch brothers are NOT Republicans, at least not Republicans that Dwight Eisenhower would recognize. They would be described by any member of what USED to be the GOP as Fascist/Nazis.

What USED to be called the Democratic Party, now stands for what Dwight Eisenhower would have described as the Republican Party.

I'll bet good ole "Ike" is spinning in his grave over how his beloved nation has been stolen by the same kind of guys that he and so many other Americans fought against during WWII.
 
 
+63 # RSJ 2011-06-19 04:49
@ Jon: You're right, these are not Eisenhower Republicans, nor even Goldwater conservatives. The current incarnation of the GOP are actually neo-fascist imperialists who believe the state should serve the interests of the wealthy and corporations, which is exactly what Mussolini believed. It is only due to our corporately-own ed media, lusting after the tax cuts and deregulation the GOP offers, that more people don't realize this.
 
 
+32 # Regina 2011-06-19 10:34
They're not even Reagan Republicans, even as some of them celebrated Reagan's 100th birthday. The present-day Republicans are indeed Mussolinian fascists; the "Tea Party" -- in total ignorance of American history -- is a gang of nihilists, even anarchists The Democratic Party has become a bunch of wimps crawling into what historically was the Republican position on most major issues. It is only the least of the evils, not an actual best choice.
 
 
+15 # Kolea 2011-06-19 11:09
I am in broad agreement with what you say, but beg to differ just a bit. I think it is important.

There is much that is semi-fascist in Republican ideology today. But some which differs. The commitment to "individual liberty" can be dismissed as hypocritical or conditional, but it is often deeply felt. Perhaps those differences will be reconciled with the right charismatic leader and the result will be fascism. But not yet.

Mussolini's quote about Fascism being "corporatism" is often misunderstood on the left. "Corporatism" in political theory means something different than "domination by the corporations." Folks should Google it.

"Fascism" is a useful concept for understanding what is going on, but, IMO, we lose necessary clarity if we allow our emotional hostility to Republicans and repressive, pro-corporate policies to cloud our analysis.

And yes, both the Republicans and MOST Democrats ARE imperialists, who believe the US has the right (or "responsibility ") to dominate the world and dictate what goes on in every little country around the globe.
 
 
+19 # Anarchist 23 2011-06-19 14:13
"Fascism" is a useful concept for understanding what is going on, but, IMO, we lose necessary clarity if we allow our emotional hostility to Republicans and repressive, pro-corporate policies to cloud our analysis.

I don't think that the men, women and children that are going to be hungrier, homeless, unemployed, uneducated,and sick are just experiencing emotional hostility! What has happened to the country since Ray-gun and before, certainly with the killing of JFK and the escalation of the viet Nam War, has been an assault upon the people and principles of what was once a great country with the possibility of fullfilling it's dreams as a democracy. Now we are just slaves to the nightmare being imposed upon us.
 
 
0 # Michael Pedersen 2011-06-23 03:28
Well said. You don't really sound like an anarchist, more like a thoughtful citizen. Hope you are registered to vote and active in trying to make positive change.
 
 
+6 # RSJ 2011-06-20 15:57
@ Kolea: Here is the quote attributed to Benito Mussolini re: corporatism and the state:

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

Mussolini, like Hitler, came to and maintained power thanks to the backing of wealthy business interests who benefitted greatly from fascism. Without that support, both dictators would have gone nowhere. Similarly, without the backing of corporations, the GOP would today be mainly a regional party in the south, with few elected officials elsewhere.

I do have an 'emotional hostility' to those who are trying to destroy America and turn it into a fascistic corporate state; if it clouds my analysis, so be it. Too many Americans have died or come home permanently disabled fighting for our freedom and our rights to see this as purely an intellectual exercise. I think one of the problems liberals and progressives have had in the past 40 years is that they tend to be too dispassionate about what we stand for, and it often comes off as if we don't care that much. This isn't a college debating society, it's the future of the country we live in and we should honor our ancestors by trying to preserve what we have inherited. That requires not only intelligence and honesty, but passion as well.
 
 
+19 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2011-06-19 04:19
Quoting RSJ:
@ charrob: An interesting theory not based in fact. If Obama is such a Republican as you claim, why are billionaires like the Koch Bros. spending hundreds of millions to defeat him and the Dems? Would a Republican have tried to change the health care system so that insurers can't deny coverage for 'pre-existing conditions' and given money to establish more health clinics for the poor? Would a Republican have hired Elizabeth Warren as an economic advisor and promoted her CFPB? Would a Republican have made a deal to extend unemployment benefits for millions in need and get rid of DADT? I could go on, but I think I've made my point. He is not a perfect progressive, to be sure, but Obama is also not a Republican, by any stretch. (BTW, Obama didn't destroy Glass-Steagal -- that happened more than a decade ago.)

It's very obvious, RSJ, that these are Koch-creep agents trying to influence voters any way they can! It's funny, how all of the new bloggers turn up here with anti-Obama statements that sound EXACTLY LIKE the repugs' LYING POINTS! To add insult to injury, non-repugs usually make it difficult or even impossible to invade their blogsite. When are you ridiculous "teabaggers going to get a clue? AM-SCRAY YESTERDAY!!! Your content gives you away!
 
 
+2 # RSJ 2011-06-20 15:58
Thumbs up, TrueAmericanPat riot.
 
 
+24 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2011-06-19 04:29
Please lets not acknowledge this fearmongering lunatic as a Christian...she is FAR FROM IT! Hey Ms. Bachmann; have you EVER read THIS PART of the Bible? It reads, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a SOUND MIND"(2 Timothy 1:7). She CLEARLY LACKS the latter two! And I'm sure she and her cronies avoid it like the plague.
 
 
+2 # Dorian Brown 2011-06-20 15:38
You rock, True AP. Noone could say it better.
 
 
+16 # Harold R. Mencher 2011-06-19 06:55
The Glass-Steagal Act was destroyed under Bill Clinton. I'm not a Republican or a Tea-Partier who are either naive and ignorant or are Republicans in disguise.

When it comes to the few, and I do mean very few, right things that Obama has done, like Obamacare and appointing Elizabeth Warren to temporarily run the CFPB, he only goes halfway.

Under reconciliation at the time, which only requires a simple majority vote of the Senate (51 votes), Obama had the votes in both houses of Congress to pass a single-payer healthcare Bill, completely leaving out the private-for-pro fit health insurance companies, but he didn't.

As far as Elizabeth Warren is concerned, she has yet to be confirmed by a now more hostile Senate than existed prior to the 2010 midterm elections. She and the CFPB have yet to grow any real teeth. Whether Obama does these things this way by design or because he's simply a weak and ineffective president, I don't know, but I do lean towards the former.
 
 
-7 # Pickwicky 2011-06-19 09:35
Simply nonsense.
 
 
+9 # Kolea 2011-06-19 11:31
Obama supports an "imperial presidency," represents corporate interests more than those of middle class and working families, supports neo-liberal "free trade policies" and other corporate-frien dly policies, but such views are scarcely limited to "Republicans." A heckuva lot of Democrats support the same corporate, pro-imperial agenda.

The Democratic Leadership Council may have dissolved, but that is at least in part, because their mission has been taken on by much of the top Democratic leadership. There is an uneasy tension in a society which tries to be both "democratic" and capitalist. As capitalism concentrates economic power more and more and as the political process is dominated by that economic power, both parties will tend to represent the corporate agenda. When the Democrats reprresent the interests of working and middle class people, it is a result of the relatively RARE periods that public opinion is energized into strong social movements with relatively clear demands. The Dems will then compromise with those movements in ways the Republicans will not. The GOP, meanwhile, tries to co-opt rightwing irrational populist movements, movements they often finance, to gain more votes for their version of the corporate agenda.

So not only "Republicans" are imperialist and pro-corporate.
 
 
+2 # Dorian Brown 2011-06-20 15:34
Obama is neither authentic or a man of his word. He is all about himself and his political agenda. His escalation of wars and Guantanomo and lack of concern for the very real problems facing so many people in the US today is disgusting. He opened the door for the Republicans to reign in congress and possibly the next election. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman would not be given serious political consideration at any other time in American history. The reason people are even listening to them is because of Obama's lack of leadership and authenticity. It's not his color or race that opened the door for these narrow minded bigots to be on center stage; it's the man himself. He campaigned on his promise of hope, change and a better world for people who have become unemployed and have faced foreclosures on their homes since he became our president. Health insurance has gone up, stocks have gone down, gas and food prices are up. Obama lacks the qualities needed in a president and he lacks the character to do anything about it.
 
 
+27 # Activista 2011-06-18 15:30
Bachmann is IQ challenged - but this is only difference from Obama -
both support Patriot Act (police state)
both support Wars (on Libya she is more liberal than president).
If US could elect stupid Reagan - all is possible.
 
 
+4 # Dorian Brown 2011-06-20 14:53
Michelle Bachman is not only IQ challenged, she is myopic, delusional, untrustworthy and FRIGHTENING. On the other side, Obama is a terrible president not because he is IQ challenged or delusional but because he cares more about himself and his political agenda and bourgesois values than taking care of the people who entrusted him enough to vote him into office and it is not about being half-black or half-white. Obama is the reason someone like Bachman has an audience.
 
 
+50 # BradFromSalem 2011-06-18 15:47
Michelle has proven my theory that EVERYTHING THEY SAY WE ARE, THEY ARE. (modified from lyrics to We Can Be Together, Jefferson Airplane).

THe Republicans vote for legislation to get rid of Medicare, then blame it on Obama and the Democrats? Priceless!
 
 
+32 # Yakpsyche 2011-06-18 19:43
You all need to understand the principle which psychologists call "projection". This is the process by which one puts upon another that which is within one's own psyche, conscious but not explicit, or subconscious, in a manner parallel to how a movie or slide projector puts out on the screen of consciousness for all to see, that which is actually inside the machine, but not seen. (the film with the image).
So, Ms. Bachmann is projecting. She is ascribing to another those features which are actually present but not made explicit, in herself.

This is an extremely common process. When you understand the principle you'll see it ALL OVER THE PLACE. I do it. You do it. They do it.

The challenge, of course, is to see it in yourself, and not continue to repeat the error, and not to insist that this is actually how the other person really is, but to instead take full responsibility for your own processes; to take ownership of your own "stuff". Taking ownership and personal responsibility for the self is something for which politicians as a whole are not particularly well known, as I'm sure many readers of this site are well aware.
 
 
+21 # RSJ 2011-06-19 04:42
You make a good point, Yakpsyche, but most progressives don't rewrite history (or the Bible) to bolster their current ideology as it shifts with time (the GOP once supported a mandated health care system similar to 'Obamacare,' for example; now they are against it and deny they ever supported such a program), or try to pretend ideas that have repeatedly failed, such as lowering taxes for the wealthy to create good-paying jobs, actually work. It's always good to take an honest look in the mirror, but the Republicans have become entirely the party of corporate lies and hypocrisy that make the rich richer and the poor poorer, at the expense of the middle class. I can think of no group on the left with an anti-democratic , inhumane agenda comparable to this.
 
 
+22 # P Blanch 2011-06-18 21:10
Yeah,she's crazy like a fox. They are so emboldened by how well there lies have worked over the years they think they can just reverse the truth now and the sheep will believe them. Tell the story over and over enough times and they WILL believe it. When the dems don't ever respond to any of it, it's even worse.
 
 
+6 # RSJ 2011-06-19 04:30
But, P Blanch, the number of sheep are diminishing, fleeing the flock as their wages descend and jobs go away and they are beaten up by their Republican 'shepherds.'
 
 
+14 # GeeRob 2011-06-19 09:33
I don't believe the sheep are diminishing. How do you explain the elections of 2010? I will never understand people who vote against their own best interests.
 
 
+3 # RSJ 2011-06-20 03:43
@ GeeRob: How do I explain the 2010 elections? The people who voted for Obama in 2008 mostly stayed home. Despite the media nonsense that it was a 'game changer,' the turn-out was low in 2010, which favored the GOP. I don't understand people who vote against their own interests, either, but I bet there will be fewer of them in the Rust Belt states and Florida and New Jersey in 2012.
 
 
0 # Observer 47 2011-06-21 12:20
I hope you're right about 2012, RSJ, but I have no confidence that you are.
 
 
+9 # P Blanch 2011-06-19 09:47
I hope your right.I'd love to think so.I'm watching Wisconsin everyday to find out!
 
 
+9 # JohnnyK 2011-06-18 21:20
Bachmann, like Palin is just another Republican airhead and the people can see through her.

She is so wacky that the Republicans will drop her.
 
 
+19 # h.m. sutton 2011-06-18 21:59
The sad thing here is that a lot of people believe this crap. So much for the educational system we have developed in this country--and so much for so many people simply being able to THINK!
 
 
+20 # fhunter 2011-06-19 02:54
Bachmann is a LUNATIC. She will get the vote of the 62,040,610 morons, who voted twice for Bush(43).
 
 
+5 # RSJ 2011-06-19 04:33
fhunter, she won't even get the GOP nomination. She's basically another Pat -- Robertson or Buchanan. They attract attention through controversial soundbites and then fade away after Iowa and New Hampshire.
 
 
+9 # Pickwicky 2011-06-19 09:43
Please be right, RSJ--Bachmann troubles me more than Palin. Palin, being more into 'image' can be semi-controlled by puppet-masters, but my hunch is that Bachmann,an ideologue, is more unmanageable.
 
 
+28 # maddave 2011-06-19 04:09
Today - and for almost half a century - America is undergoing a quiet revolution in which the middle class is being destroyed just a surely as if they were sabered down by vodka crazed Cossacks on horseback. The super-rich who finance the elections of our officials - specifically our legislators whose hand has traditionally controlled the throttle - are amassing wealth at a rate unprecedented in the USA. Concurrently - since the 70's - wages and salaries of labor and middle Americans have stagnated.

Consequently, We The People are generally afraid - some are becoming desperate & restive -as we watch the destruction of the gains and progress wrought in the early 20th Century by organized labor and progressive government.

In 2008, We The People joined hands to elect Obama because he promised changes that have, thus far, been stymied by legislators allied with Corporate America. We see ourselves as defenseless against (for example) ethanol-induced food-price inflation and speculator-driv en increases at the gas pumps - which hit fixed income retirees the hardest. .

Is it any wonder then that the Tea Party -- represented by Michelle Bachman and the Sharon Angle's -- attracts followers from our growing number of frustrated, over-propagandi zed, desperate/disil lusioned/disaff ected Americans?
 
 
+9 # Kolea 2011-06-19 11:46
I agree with much you've written. But I wonder if you miss an important point when you say "Obama promised" things. Yes, there are some explicit promises he made and has since broken or failed to get passed. If we go back to his campaign, an awful lot of it was stage-managed pablum, vague rhetoric into which optimists could project their hopes.

We looked at Obama and misread his cultural style, intelligence and history assuming that behind that vague rhetoric was a progressive, sophisticated former "community organizer who remained a sort of European-style social democrat. The right read the same signs and ALSO concluded he was more left-of-center than he really is.

Obama is a CENTRIST, which to me, means he does not deviate from policies he believes are in the long-term, rational self-interest of the corporate elite which owns this country.

I agree the rise of the Tea Party is very similar to the conditions which have given rise to "brownshirt" or "blackshirt" rightwing populist movements in other periods: the collapse of the middle class, an attack on the national dignity (9-11) and serious crises (economic and ecological) which amplify apocalyptic fears and create a willingness to reach for radical, intemperate answers.

If the left cannot come up with an alternative popular vision and program, the future is grim.
 
 
0 # Michele h 2011-06-20 14:41
Dave, you are the voice of reason. I could not have said it better. your intelligence shines through!
 
 
-11 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-06-19 05:03
Conspiracy theories are typically nuts but this particular one is supported by quite a bit of evidence. Not that it is much of a conspiracy -- since most of the folks involved have made their positions known.

Obama and his health care team have repeatedly stated their preference for a single-payer system. But they all know that such a system could never be passed legislatively. I think it reasonable to suppose that Obama and his team felt that the best way to reach their preferred policy would be to let the legislature come up with something (which like all committee products was bound to be byzantine and unworkable), allow it to fail, and then come in and save the day with a single-payer system.

There is plenty of actual evidence for this hypothesis being true: Obama stating that the current bill is merely a "first step", Dennis Kucinich backing off on his objections to the bill after he had spoken privately with Obama, Obama's refusal to be involved in the details of the legislation, stupidly unworkable details included in the legislation, refusal to include any real measures that control costs, etc.

I don't much like Bachman but I think that she is essentially correct on this point.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+5 # Kolea 2011-06-19 19:44
Except that Bachman is saying Obama wants MEDICARE to fail and you are saying Obama is willing to have his "Obamacare" system fail in order to move towards single-payer, i.e., something like "Medicare for All."

So you should realize that her "theory" is backassward. If Obama truly wants single-payer," (which I doubt), he wants Medicare to be SUCCESSFUL and serve as a rationale for its expansion. Bachman is crazy. But you are just mixed up in your train of logic here.
 
 
+39 # smilodon1 2011-06-19 05:49
"...she believes Obama wants to end the existing system of socialized medicine for seniors..."

Do you know what you're talking about? Medicare isn't socialized medicine. Medicare is a single-payer system that works very well. Too bad everyone can't get Medicare and put the health "insurance" companies out of business.
 
 
+1 # Lenore Rapalski 2011-06-19 10:54
I'll probably sound just like her when I say that I was wondering today if the President was going to let the Republicans crash the Medicare bus and then either step in and fix it or let it help him be re-elected by our senior citizens of which I am one. But it worries me that mine may be a version similar to M. Bachman's and I do not consider myself a conspiracy theorist.
 
 
+9 # Lee Black 2011-06-19 11:02
The British passed National Health Care in 1947 while they were in dire straits trying to recover from the devastating bombing of the war. They've had over 60 years of not enriching insurance companies who make money by not providing the care they are supposedly selling.

During those 60 years those insurance companies have built political power that resists any reform.

I think Obama is doing the best he can in the circumstances and his 'steps' are toward single payer care.
 
 
+10 # angelfish 2011-06-19 11:37
Aside from the fact that what they call "ObamaCare" is in REALITY "RomneyCare", HOW this woman remains a viable Candidate for ANYTHING but Psychotic Stepford Wife of the Month Club is beyond amazing! Surely anyone with a modicum of intelligence has seen her convict herself out of her OWN mouth! In the past, terrified of constituents in a Ladies Room at one of her venues, she became hysterical and accused them of "holding her against her will" and even tried to prefer charges against them! The Law Enforcement people, sanely and reasonably refused to arrest the two women who had merely SPOKEN to her about the content of her "message". She is a LOONY TUNE, with the potential for damaging this Country even MORE than the "shrub" did! At best, she is Comic Relief on the Political Stage, at worst, like Nero, does she have a Fiddle?
 
 
+11 # prissy 2011-06-19 12:13
Another mommy dearest grizzly whose delusions breed indiscriminatel y.
 
 
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2011-06-19 13:45
Another Religious InBred
 
 
+9 # HerbR 2011-06-19 18:05
Throughout this so-called discussion, I kept being reminded of one of George Orwell's (Eric Blair's) famous aphorisms:
" 'Freedom, Freedom, Hurrah for Freedom. Freedom for you and for me and for Everybody", cried the Elephant as he trampled among the Chickens ! ' "
 
 
+2 # radjohn31 2011-06-20 20:49
All you have to do is look into her eyes and you can see she's not right in the head! Poor Michelle, hasn't got a clue!
 

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