Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is it a Lie, or is it Memorex? Michelle Bachmann is not quite sure...

A week ago, Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachmann was on Hardball with lovable psycho-boy Chris Matthews. When Chris challenged her on her recent statements about Barrack Obama being anti-American, she not only backed her original statement, but gleefully called for McCarthy reminiscent investigations into the patriotism of other office holders.

Reaction was swift, and thankfully, much of that reaction was outrage and disgust. Bachmann's opponent in Minnesota, Elwyn Tinlenberg, received a sudden influx of nearly half a million dollars in donations the next day, while NRCC chairman Tom Cole thanked Bachmann for linking this year's Republican election races to one of the Right Wing's darkest moments in US history by pulling her campaign funds.

Apparently, Michelle Bachmann is not only stupid enough to think that calling for a new political witch hunt was a good call, she's also dumb enough to think that no one would notice if she denied having ever said what she was recording as saying on a major cable news channel.

With both sides calling her an out-and-out idiot, she quickly scrambled to release a recorded statement (good call on avoiding another interview, Michelle) that was neither a retraction, an apology, or even an acknowledgement of the trouble she'd gotten herself into.

What's more mind-boggling to me isn't the complete ambiguity of her statement, but rather the 'choice' she says Americans now face: "We could embrace Government as the answer to our problems, or we could choose Freedom and Liberty." Where do you start to tear this pseudo-intellectual crap apart? Do you start at the inference that or government isn't interesting in or capable of delivering Freedom or Liberty? How about the idea that government is to blame for all of our problems today, so the one thing we shouldn't do is expect it to set things straight? Am I the only person that could read this as a call to Anarchy? And exactly what the hell do Freedom and Liberty have to do with the problems that most Americans are facing today? A lot of people are in agreement that the humongous debacle that our economy has suddenly become can be blamed on a little too much Freedom being afforded to financial institutions over the past few decades. It was a very good call not to make this statement in an interview setting, as I have no doubt Bachmann would have been dumb enough to explain upon questioning that Freedom and Liberty is achieved by preventing the government from actually helping anybody struggle through the hard times that it's blatant mismanagement have caused.

(On a personal note, I find it exceedingly funny that the party Ayn Rand, who became a symbol for them because of her praise of cold rationalism and hatred of unintellectual emotion-based politics, now constantly races to emotional qualifiers like "I know what's in my heart" when cornered on the illogical stances they take. But that's me; I dig irony.)

This is the kind of stuff that drives the logical part of me to irrational degrees of anger and frustration. We live in a day and age where people are recorded with and with out their knowledge to a frightening degree on a daily basis, and these are just the average everyday people with no fear of media scrutiny.

And yet... and yet... not only do politicians repeatedly forget that when it comes to the media, the microphone is always on, they have this stubborn inability to realize that once they have said something on camera, it can be played back again later!

Granted, this attitude might have been more successful twenty years ago, when an adamant denial like the one Bachmann made would only be exposed if the interviewer later dug up the tape and played it, and even then it would be too late to have any real effect of the lie. But now, in the day and age of YouTube, streaming video, viral emails, and relentless bloggers, trying to pull this kind of day-to-day revisionism borders on being absurdly ignorant.

I'm not going to get into the whole Bush/Wristwatch nonsense, because it truly does sadden me, but the fact that side-by-side videos like these are popping up on a weekly basis exposes an underlying truth that we as a collective of people being governed and ruled by these people need to fess up to.

The truth, the honest truth, is that they've always lied like this. They've always treated the public with contempt and disdain, and have always acted on the belief that we never pay attention long enough to actually be aware of what they are really up to. And for the longest time, they've been right. The only reason we are catching up with them and their lies is that they haven't yet figured out how to adapt their way of life to the rapidly changing technology and the new world that is emerging from it.

And when they do, that's when we're really going to have to start watching our backs.

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