Looking to China as a model

I’ve generally overlooked most of Michele Bachmann’s recent nuttiness, in large part because her campaign is falling apart so rapidly and there just doesn’t seem to be much point in highlighting her nonsense.

But this gem from last night was just too beautiful to let go by unmentioned.

“So what would I cut? I think, really, what I would wanna do is be able to go back and take a look at Lyndon Baines Johnson’s The Great Society.

“The Great Society has not worked, and it’s put us into the modern welfare state. If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situ — they save for their own retirement security. They don’t have pay FDIC. They don’t have the modern welfare state. And China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with The Great Society, and they’d be gone.”

Even for Bachmann, this is just amazing.

Sure, it stands to reason right-wing candidate would call for the destruction of “the modern welfare state”; that’s become a rather standard part of any far-right ideology. But once a President Bachmann takes a sledgehammer to the Great Society, what does she want to replace it with? A Chinese model.

Bachmann considers programs like Medicare to be “socialist,” which she thinks is bad, and looks longingly at Chinese communism, which she thinks is good.

Remember over the summer when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll and looked like a top-tier candidate? A few months later, it still seems hard to believe.

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Steve Benen

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.