Diary

Bachmann Expected to Submit to Mockery and Misrepresentation

The following is my letter to the editor of City Pages in the Twin Cities responding to their recent cover article and interview with Michelle Bachmann:

You cannot expect Michelle Bachmann, or her party, to go along with [the current health care reform bill] when it is fundamentally at odds with her entire ideology. Of course the parties need to cooperate and compromise in order to accomplish anything meaningful. However, compromise is only possible within the constraints of one’s principle. In the health care debate, along with virtually every other initiative this administration has floated, you evoke a fundamental disagreement regarding the proper role of government. Conservatives cannot be expected to merely massage the details of a plan which runs contrary to their entire paradigm. Republican ideas will likewise never be deemed as “enough” by those who believe the government should be unrestrained in its “problem solving.” As long as the proposals put up for debate grossly engorge and empower government, it will be necessary for Republicans to be “the party of no.” To criticize them for it is kind of like blaming a linebacker for doing his job. If you want cooperation, you need a proposal which does not test the limits of conservative and libertarian tolerance.

A perusal of other letters to the editor on the same subject serves as an interesting exercise in metropolitan anthropology. On the one hand, you have folks who rightly point out the absurdity of City Pages expecting Bachmann to sit down for an in-person interview when their organization is blatantly antagonistic, as evidenced by their even-handed cover.

On the other side, you have a rabid core readership incensed that City Pages would publish anything without being able to submit Bachmann to “follow-up” antagonism. Oh, you’re going to superimpose my head on an image of Sarah Palin and call me crazy? Sure, I’ll gladly sit down for an interview. Would anyone be so inclined?

City Pages enthusiastic bias is further demonstrated, as reader and Bachmann associate Bob Stephenson points out, by an inability to get basic facts right:

…you referred to her now famous Hardball appearance, and you incorrectly reported that she said that the “government would do well to investigate ‘anti-American’ congressmen.” What she actually said was that the American media should do so, not the government, which is something quite different.

This is an ironic oversight in an article which rests heavily upon Bachmann’s alledged use of “misinformation.” At the very least, City Pages deserves credit for printing Stephenson’s correction.