THE WRONG RESPONSE TO RACISM…. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Sean Hannity that Americans shouldn’t believe reports about racist attacks from right-wing Tea Party activists.

“Remember when Speaker Pelosi walked arm in arm in a civil rights march across Independence Avenue, from the House buildings over to the Capitol. In three years I have never seen Nancy Pelosi cross the street the way that you saw in that picture. They deliberately went through that crowd, perhaps to try and incite something.”

Bachmann continued: “There were so many cameras there, Sean. No one recorded any racial motivation.”

I continue to marvel at this garbage. Indeed, far-right voices have a far better rhetorical option available, but they refuse to consider it.

In the aftermath of some painfully ugly racism and bigotry, the smart thing for right-wing members like Bachmann to say is that isolated incidents are not representative of the whole. Yes there was some racism, she could say, but Republicans and the Tea Party crowd denounce those efforts entirely. “We’re not going to let a few bad apples spoil the Tea Party bunch,” Bachmann could say. “Those racists don’t speak for our movement.”

But, no. Instead the message, in effect, is, “Don’t trust those black Democrats. They say they heard racism, but they’re probably lying.”

This is just blisteringly stupid.

For that matter, “there were so many cameras there,” and at least one of them picked up on a white activist spitting on an African-American lawmaker. Funny, Sean Hannity hasn’t found time to air it.

What’s more, many of the incidents occurred outside of cameras’ view. That said, when Bachmann’s buddies began hurling bigoted slurs at her Democratic colleagues, there were plenty of witnesses, many of them journalists who reported on them. What’s more, awide variety of Democratic lawmakers, many of them African American, including Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) have received faxes with images of nooses on gallows. The faxes have been given to law enforcement officials. If Bachmann wants to see them, I’m sure that can be arranged.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.