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Oct 26 2011

Bachmann’s Accuracy Problem

Former Bachmann aides have long expressed their frustration with her tendency to go off the cuff when speaking and throw out half-baked claims that are untrue. The LA Times documents several such incidents during the campaign over the last few months.

“Fifty-nine thousand this year came across the border, as was said in the introduction, from Yemen, from Syria. These are nations that are state sponsors of terror,” the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate said, citing a report she had heard. “They’re coming into our country!”

There were two problems with Bachmann’s passionate assertion. Yemen is not a state sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department. And the Border Patrol report to which Bachmann referred said that although 59,000 apprehended illegal immigrants came from countries other than Mexico, only 663 had ties to countries with links to terrorism.

Hey, she was just rounding up. A lot.

Some of her misstatements have registered as eye-rolling blips, such as when she confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy on the day she entered the campaign in June. Others have damaged her candidacy.

She won points in a September debate when she criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting a proposed requirement that young girls be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. But then Bachmann told a post-debate television audience that the vaccine had caused mental retardation, a conclusion drawn from a brief meeting with a weeping mother. Bachmann’s hit against Perry was lost in howls of dismay from physicians who said her untrue remarks would stunt vaccinations and endanger children.

On recent campaign swings through Iowa, she continued to trip over matters large and small.

In Sioux Center, Bachmann said high corporate taxes and crushing regulations had made the United States less competitive than other countries, a mantra common among GOP candidates. But then she went further.

“If you want to have a business in China today, if you want to build a building, you just build it, you don’t go through all the permitting process that we do here,” she said.

Businesses have to apply for multiple permits in China. A 2008 World Bank publication found that China was among the most difficult places anywhere to obtain construction permits, ranking 176th of 181. The publication ranked the best and worst places, and the United States fell in neither category.

Heck, she can’t even quote her own supporters correctly:

An embarrassing correction also marked a recent Bachmann move on Capitol Hill. This month, she introduced a bill requiring any woman considering an abortion to undergo an ultrasound that pinpoints the heartbeat of the fetus.

“A study by Focus on the Family found that when women who were undecided about having an abortion were shown an ultrasound image of the baby, 78% chose life,” Bachmann said.

That prompted a news release from the conservative organization, which said that while it supported the legislation, it had produced no such report.

“We don’t have any ‘studies,’ and we don’t publish any percentages like that,” Kelly Rosati, Focus on the Family’s vice president of community outreach, said in a statement.

This is standard behavior for wingnuts, of course. You’ve all encountered them in your everyday life as I have, I’m sure.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Bronze Dog

    I think we’re really and truly at the point that we can all treat “not intended to be a factual statement” to be the de facto Republican slogan.

  2. 2
    ManOutOfTime

    So which reality-based Repug do these assholes plan to work for? The only ones I can think of are deceased or got out of politics a loooong time ago. I guess if the pol is merely mendacious – Romney, Huntsman – as opposed to completely fabulous – the rest of them – including Ron Paul, by the way – then that’s okay. Who the hell did they think she was in the first place? Have they been living under rocks for the past decade?

  3. 3
    Trebuchet

    LA Times headline:

    Michele Bachmann’s misstatements LIES may be catching up to her.

    Fixed that for them.

  4. 4
    tommykey

    “If you want to have a business in China today, if you want to build a building, you just build it, you don’t go through all the permitting process that we do here,” she said.

    Maybe she meant Hong Kong.

    Of course, in the PRC, why certainly they build a building if they want to build it, and the people who are already living there, well they are just going to have to get the hell out. Is that what she had in mind.

    This is standard behavior for wingnuts, of course. You’ve all encountered them in your everyday life as I have, I’m sure.

    May favorite recent example of this is an e-mail my uncle forwarded to me that he received from a family friend. It claimed that President Obama intended to introduce a tax on all bank transactions, including deposits and withdrawals, cashing a check and so on. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi also supported it.

    The e-mail even claimed that Snopes backed up this claim and contained an apparent excerpt from the Snopes page that looked pretty damning.

    But then I actually read the Snopes article. The first part of the article contains the rumors spreading about this alleged Obama plot. Then the next part contained the actual facts, which is that the bill in the House of Representatives was submitted by an obscure PA congressman named Chaka Fattah, that his bill had ZERO cosponsors, and that every time he submits it, it never even gets brought up for a vote by the committee.

    The allegedly damning excerpt from Snopes in the e-mail was actually what you see when you search on the Snopes website about the bill and then you get a Google search result, and the excerpt was actually what you see on the Google search page.

    There’s another alleged Obama plot I’ll have to look into that a wingnut relative was mentioning the other day to me, that Obama wants to force every homeowner in America to buy some kind of plaque that you put on the front of your house saying how many people live there or something like that and it will cost like $4,000. Color me skeptical, but if I verify it’s a load of shit, I can’t wait to unload it on him at Thanksgiving.

  5. 5
    Larry

    When you see the world through her googly eyes, things just naturally get a bit confused. If the rest of the world can’t see things her way, well, that is just too bad.

  6. 6
    jolo5309

    Obama wants to force every homeowner in America to buy some kind of plaque that you put on the front of your house saying how many people live there or something like that and it will cost like $4,000

    That is partially true, it is a plot by The American Plaque Builders Association to ensure employment. The APBA are jealous of the obscene profits other organisations get and want a piee of the pie

  7. 7
    d cwilson

    Wingnuts truly live in their own little fantasy world. These are people who believe that Obama is secretly plotting to sieze their guns by doing absolutely nothing to seize their guns.

    Bachmann exists on a completely different dimension from other wingnuts. I don’t think it’s accurate to say she lies. I think she truly does believe all the nonsense she spouts. She just does not have a functioning BS detector.

    The thing about the HPV vaccine and “mental retardation” is a classic example. Her source for this was the pretigious journal of Some Woman I Just Met. She made no effort to have her staff vet this woman’s claims or even look to see if there were any studies about vaccine safety. She just went straight to the cameras with.

    She’s a combination of paranoid delusions and extreme gullibility. When those two competing impulses collide inside her brain cell, the result is a spewing of nonsense that is almost reflexive.

  8. 8
    feralboy12

    She makes shit up and believes it. Hey, it worked for Ronald Reagan.

  9. 9
    coronat

    I wrote a parody of the Beatles’ “Michelle” with the first line of “Michele, dumbbell, these are words that go together well…” and last line of “Did the shots you got when as a tot stir-fry your brain cells…”. A fellow performer didn’t like the tune saying it was mean and Michele wasn’t stupid because she went to law school and was a tax attorney. I wasn’t quick enough with a comeback since it took too long for me to pick my jaw up off the floor.

  10. 10
    raven

    Wingnuts truly live in their own little fantasy world.

    True. They live in a fact free, reality free world haunted by…demons and satan.

    The religious ones are always making up and circulating emails.

    1. Proctor and Gamble is run by satanists. Their historic logo is a moon and stars and their executives even admitted it on some daytime TV show. P&G has actually sued fundies for this libel.

    2. All those missing children were abducted by satanists and used in their bloody rites. They actually got the FBI to investigate this claim. They didn’t find a single case. The fundies still make the claim and a few of the Cindy Jacobs class ones make a living on the church circuit talking about it.

    3. UFO’s exist and are piloted by demons from hell. This “theory” is promoted by some of the top “thinkers” of fundieland and widely believed.

    I’m sure there are more and new ones made up every day. This isn’t my world so the only ones noticed are the ones that make the mainstream news.

  11. 11
    raven

    A fellow performer didn’t like the tune saying it was mean and Michele wasn’t stupid because she went to law school and was a tax attorney.

    She probably wasn’t stupid at one time.

    She does show serious cognitive impairment these days. Could be due to decades of toxic religion scrambling her mind.

  12. 12
    Modusoperandi

    raven “She probably wasn’t stupid at one time.”
    More like “knowing about one subject doesn’t make you an expert in all things”.
    On the other hand, Orly Taitz passed the bar exam…

  13. 13
    umlud

    When you see the world through her googly eyes, things just naturally get a bit confused. If the rest of the world can’t see things her way, well, that is just too bad.

    Well, this may well explain why TVMOB is such a global warming denialist: he’s got eyes more googly than Bachmann.

  14. 14
    d cwilson

    I’m not sure getting a law degree from the Oral Roberts diploma mill is a sign of intelligence. I mean, even question in every class is answered with “Jesus wrote our laws”.

  15. 15
    Modusoperandi

    d cwilson, still, she passed the bar exam.

  16. 16
    Modusoperandi

    No, wait. Disregard. I got my crazy confused.

  17. 17
    eric

    Former Bachmann aides have long expressed their frustration with her tendency to go off the cuff when speaking and throw out half-baked claims that are untrue.

    Those are just the pikers who left. Just ask her, and she’ll tell you that the hundreds of remaining New Hampshire staff disagree. :)

  18. 18
    jakc

    Facts are no longer “stubborn things”, and in the modern republican party, have no consequence. This doesn’t make Michelle stupid, only wilfully ignorant. The likely nominee for the R’s is no more likely to be restrained by facts. MB’s problem has not been her inaccuracy but her arrogance. In Iowa, her supporters have moved to Cain and elsewhere not because they disagree with her but because they have been offended at what they perceive as her high-handed behavior since winning the Ames Straw Poll. In the end, MB might still get consideration for the VP slot despite any idiotic statements she might make. The sad truth is that smart people are good at conjuring up reasons to believe stupid things.

  19. 19
    dingojack

    “Former Bachmann aides have long expressed their frustration with her tendency to go off the cuff cliff when speaking…”
    FIFY.
    Dingo

  20. 20
    Michael Heath

    jakc:

    In the end, MB might still get consideration for the VP slot despite any idiotic statements she might make.

    The odds of Rep. Bachmann getting the VP nod are slim to none.

  21. 21
    Aquaria

    She’s a combination of paranoid delusions and extreme gullibility. When those two competing impulses collide inside her brain cell, the result is a spewing of nonsense that is almost reflexive.

    My mother is a lot like this–dangerously gullible or scary paranoid sometimes, and she’ll say crazy stuff in the middle of an argument that has no connection to reality. She’ll just make it up, to win or get her way.

    I can tell everyone what it’s like to live with someone like this: You spend a lot of your life reminding yourself that your own mother isn’t worth jail, to keep rom strangling her for being so dishonest and selfish.

  22. 22
    fifthdentist

    @ Bronze Dog

    “I think we’re really and truly at the point that we can all treat “not intended to be a factual statement” to be the de facto Republican slogan.”

    More like the Republicans are not intended to be a factual political party. They want to control government, but don’t actually believe in good — or any — governance. When given the keys to the car they drive to Tijuana, charge tequila, cocaine, guns and hookers on dad’s credit card and then blame the Mexican gardener.
    Why it’s almost like a person who is the antethesis of Jesus’ teachings becoming a “Christian” minister in order to gain political power and fleece the stupid people out of their money and… Oh, no, I’ve gone cross-eyed

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