James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What God said to Bachmann (or not)

As expected, Michele Bachmann is running for president of the United States, holding that God told her to run.

In fact, when God called me for a chat shortly after Bachmann made that claim, S/he mentioned in passing that S/he “told the silly woman to shut up and stop making both of us look like fools.”

S/he sighed – sounds like a strong wind rushing through a canyon – and sadly conceded, however, that “Michele has delusions of competence and hears only what she wants to hear.”

That's all; we then moved on to other examples of religious irrationality, such as the phenomenon of athletes on opposing teams giving credit to God when their teams make good plays.

(Sorry about that S/he thing. God has a husky voice, sort of like those of Marlene Dietrich and Tallulah Bankhead in their later years; it's impossible to be specific about gender without visual clues.)

What's that? You doubt me because you don't believe God would take time to chat with a worn out old journalist while on a break?

The answer to that is a question: Why would God talk directly to an intellectually dishonest, demonstrably ignorant and nastily prejudiced politician whose stances on major issues are contrary to the teachings of the Christ she claims with every other breath to adore and obey? If her, why not me?

(Ignorant? Consider the story she told in Iowa about how the founders of this country “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” That might have amused Sally Hemmings while she nursed the kids she bore Thomas Jefferson. Bachmann also maintained that everyone of every color and ethnicity enjoyed equal opportunity back then, just as soon as they hit our shores. Perhaps someone should point out to her that several of the founders were slave owners, and that slavery was legal in this country until 1865. But it wouldn't help; if the facts are uncomfortable, Bachmann and followers will choose to believe a fiction every time.)

Should any of Bachmann's followers see this, they no doubt will accuse me first of blasphemy. God, after all, belongs to them. But if the deluded, cruel and overwhelmingly narcissistic Michele Bachmann is allowed to claim an intimate speaking relationship with God, if she can claim Him as a personal adviser, any small blasphemy I commit here in an attempt to defend the innocent deity surely will be forgiven.

Here's what really has put the gravel in my gut:

The corporate media decided a long time ago to play the hell out of Bachmann (reference intended) and by treating her as legitimate, they have given her status she does not deserve and has in no way earned. So millions of Americans are taking her candidacy seriously, and other Republicans -- including those whose intellectual reach means they cannot help but recognize the shamefulness of the whole scene –- are pretending that she's respectable and that her nasty and often utterly silly positions are rational and sober.

Media have created false legitimacy for Bachmann and the right-wing, billionaire-financed propaganda machine known as the Tea Party. In so doing, they have declared that the stupidities of a radical mob, marginalized throughout our history, now are worthy of consideration.

And those irrational extremists, feeling power for the first time, are going nuts with it. They're overrunning all sanctuaries of sanity in both big political parties. Politicians who know better, but who are pants-wetting cowards, are crawling for the support of people who are only a step or two from needing full-time mental health care.

We are now treated to the embarrassing spectacle of a Tim Pawlenty, uptight, designed and built on the model of a robot corporate executive, trying to out-Christian Bachmann, although, since she has absolutely no other claim to office, she is the unmatchable ultimate Christian in this race to distort both religion and American politics.

Michele Bachmann, in the Monday, June 13, Republican candidate “debate,” was required to answer a question about what is needed to revive the production of jobs in this country. Her answer: Do away with the Environmental Protection Agency because it's responsible for killing the economy and creating all the unemployment.

This is a serious candidate for president?

Anyone who could make such a claim is a danger to herself and, especially, others.

Ed Rollins, a veteran, no-conscience Republican campaigner said in January that Bachmann would be a terrible candidate for the Republicans and can't be taken seriously. But that was before she came up with the money to hire him to run her campaign. Now he talks about how her appeal to the religious right can make her a real candidate.

Morals, real morals, have no place in Republican politics. A whole lot of other Republicans who made similar statements about her incompetence also have recanted out of fear of her take-no-prisoners supporters.

Anyone seriously trying to understand the Bachmann phenomenon –- we'll leave the almost as illegitimate Sarah Palin out of this for now –- has to ask why the national “news” media have created it.

The short answer is this: Today's journalists are an ignorant, pop-culture-addled bunch who lack an understanding, let alone acceptance, of professional ethics. The owners of big newspapers and broadcast outlets stand to profit handsomely from the election of easily controlled ideologues such as Bachmann. A Bachmann, like a major flood or a tornado, is sure-fire attention grabber and very easy to cover, since the coverage follows a simple formula; any new journalism school grad can do it and get great play without straining a single mental muscle. Looka me! I are a journalist!

So now the stuff will start to fly in my direction. One aspect of the Bachmann style of Christianity is that it's adherents (not sure we can say practioners) brook no criticism. They demand not just respect but bowing-and-scraping humility from everyone else.

Even mild criticism is an excuse for them to claim victimhood, although they control 99 percent of the stories told about them in the corporate media, and the great majority of American politicians live in fear of crossing them.

At the same time, they go out of their way -– often far out -– to be disrespectful to and, indeed, to abuse people who do not swallow every nugget of their nonsense.

But here's a generally unacknowledged truth: If you don't give a rat's behind what they think, they can't get to you.

Pity more politicians haven't the guts to recognize that and act on it.


A note to Star Tribune reporter Kevin Diaz and his bosses: Your recent story about Bachmann at the top of page one, headlined “An outsider from the start” and with the subhead reading “Michele Bachmann's hard-hitting conservatism has put her on the cusp of a Republican presidential bid” is a shameful piece of promotional crap, starting with that sub-head and going downhill from there.

You and others like you put her “on the cusp” of presidential candidacy by repeatedly presenting the appearance of legitimacy where none existed.


There is far too much going on in my life now and for the next few months; I can't maintain any semblance of regular appearance here, although I have a great many pieces in the works for this space. Until September, I'll post something new when I can, but it probably won't be often or much. (No serious illnesses or other life disasters. Just a whole lot of other, legitimate claims on me and my time and attention. And I grow old; attention must be paid.)