Two theories on Michele Bachmann’s dramatic ignorance. Eric Kleefeld thinks she’s reciting history from an alternate Earth:
Make no mistake: When it comes to economics, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) knows her history — even if that history is from another planet.
On Monday night, our friends at Dump Bachmann reported, Bachmann took to the House floor and paid tribute to the economic policies of Calvin Coolidge and the “Roaring 20s” (the era that ended with a massive monetary contraction and the Great Depression). One particular line really does stand out, though — saying Franklin Roosevelt turned a recession into a depression through the “Hoot-Smalley” tariffs:
Here’s what really happened: When Franklin Roosevelt took office, unemployment was already about 25%. And the tariff referred to here was actually the Smoot-Hawley bill, co-authored by Republicans Sen. Reed Smoot of Utah and Rep. Willis Hawley of Oregon, and signed into law by President Herbert Hoover.
So, in Michele Bachmann’s parallel universe, FDR became president much earlier, and some buggers named Hoot and Smalley tariffed the country to death. Oooo-kay. Makes for a lame-ass story, though.
Matt Yglesias thinks it’s time travel:
Kleefeld needs to read Michael Dummett on reverse causation. It’s true that Bachmann is making an unfortunate error about the names of Messrs. Smoot and Hawley. But her contention is simply that Roosevelt, though he took office in March 1933, was actually able to cause events in the past precipitating the very years-long Depression that led to his election. It’s a bit confusing, yes. And somewhat metaphysically controversial. But not at all something she deserves to be mocked for.
(Don’t try this kind of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm at home, kiddies. Poor Matt ended up hospitalized with a severe tongue dislocation.)
Cons seem to be working off of both theories. Hopefully, this will help you understand why they don’t believe they’re just ginormous fucking ignoramuses.