WILL PUTS ON LEATHER JACKET, DONS SKIS, EYES SHARK…. When my friend Mustang Bobby emailed yesterday to tell me George Will had written an entire column praising Rep. Michele Bachmann, I thought he was kidding. Will may be conservative, but he considers himself something of an intellectual and serious thinker. Bachmann is a right-wing clown, practically a parody of herself, who doesn’t even pretend to take policy matters seriously.
George Will may be getting increasingly lazy and cantankerous, but even he wouldn’t put his reputation on the line with a laudatory Bachmann column.
Will notes early on that, last October, Bachmann told a national television audience that she wants a neo-McCarthyist witch hunt, calling for an investigation into the un-American views of members of Congress. Soon after, she lied about it. In his column, Will blamed Chris Matthews for the outburst.
Will seemed especially impressed with one of Bachmann’s stunts in June.
Some of her supposed excesses are, however, not merely defensible, they are admirable. For example, her June 9 statement on the House floor in which she spoke of “gangster government” has been viewed on the Internet about 2 million times. She noted that, during the federal takeover of General Motors, a Democratic senator and one of her Democratic House colleagues each successfully intervened with GM to save a constituent’s dealership from forced closure.
If editors took a closer look at Will’s columns before they were published, they might have noticed that Bachmann’s “gangster government” accusations were proven baseless within two days of her remarks. Will sees this as an example of Bachmann’s “admirable” work, in which her allegations were proven “accurate.” In Grown-Up Land, this was actually an example of Bachmann coming up with a strange conspiracy theory involving the Obama administration, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), and a Republican GM dealer — who’d contributed thousands of dollars to Michele Bachmann.
And as for the fact that her remarks have been watched 2 million times online, M.B. reminds Will, “Hint: just because a video gets viewed 2 million times doesn’t make it proof of intelligent discourse, and it’s not always because they agree with her.”
But in the bigger picture, that George Will feels compelled to devote a column in praise of Bachmann suggests Will is a truly hopeless case. She’s the type of unhinged right-wing lawmaker Will should be condemning, not encouraging. We are, after all, talking about a lawmaker who thinks FDR passed “Hoot-Smalley” and caused the Depression. She thinks a bipartisan national service bill will lead to “re-education camps.” She doesn’t know what a global reserve currency is, so she keeps rating about “one-world currency.” She thinks the U.S. Census may lead to “internment camps.” She recently labeled school medical clinics as “sex clinics” (twice). She also recently urged her supporters to slit their wrists.
Michele Bachmann, in other words, is mad as a hatter. If George Will hasn’t noticed this, he should probably get out of the political commentary business.