Michele Bachmann: Tea Party favorite, GOP stalwart, deadbeat, possible thief.
Over a year after she dropped out, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has refused to pay five staffers from her failed presidential bid, according to a former top campaign official. Peter Waldron, her controversial former national field coordinator, told Salon the dispute started when former Iowa straw poll staffers refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement that would bar them from discussing any “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity” they witnessed on the campaign with police or reporters.
Waldron said the staffers are owed a mere $5,000, and that Bachmann has more than $2 million in her campaign account, but has refused to pay unless the staffers sign the agreement. Negotiations over payment with Bachmann Finance Chairman James Pollack eventually broke down and Waldron decided to go public with the news, posting a press release on Christian Newswire this evening.
“I feel a moral obligation to see that my Christian brothers and sisters are paid for worked performed in good faith. I’ve continually communicated by telephone and email with Mr. Pollack for 1 year but he broke every promise made to me to pay the staff. I appealed to Dr. [Marcus] Bachmann for help. I appealed to Representative Bachmann’s Chief of Staff Robert Boland to intercede with Mrs. Bachmann on behalf of her loyal Iowa staff — all of whom are married, all have children,” Waldron said in the press release.
“It is sobering to think that a Christian member of Congress would betray her testimony to the Lord and the public by withholding earned wages from deserving staff,” Waldron added.
Wait a second; a nondisclosure agreement gagging staffers from discussing “unethical, immoral, or criminal activity?” What’s that all about?
“Reached by phone, Waldron confirmed the details and said the nondisclosure agreement stems from the campaign’s alleged misuse of an email list;” Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports. “A home-schooling group accused the Bachmann campaign of stealing the list, which was contained on a volunteer’s laptop, and then using it to fundraise for the campaign. The home-schooling group has sued the campaign and Waldron said there is also a criminal investigation pending, explaining that he spoke with police about the incident ‘several times.’”
The problem here is that Bachmann is a member of the religious right and, as such, literally believes she’s engaged in battle with Satan. All of us lefties, feminists, atheists, gays and gay-friendly folks, pro-choice people, etc. are the devil’s minions. When you’re locked in battle over the fate of humanity, nothing is out of bounds and every dirty, criminal trick is moral. When you think your adversary is literally the devil, you have no real incentive to fight fair — it’s not immoral to cheat Satan. In fact, it’s required. You can even — as is the case here — cheat allies. The end, being automatically Just and Holy, justifies the means.
Of course, this is the same psychology that terrorists use to justify murder. The difference really is only a matter of degree.
You would have been forgiven for experiencing some ideological whiplash earlier this month when, after listening to two days of speeches emphasizing the profound threat that rights for gay people, legal abortion, and the freedom of religion pose to our society, the attendees of the far-right Values Voter Summit handed a resounding straw poll victory to self-proclaimed libertarian Ron Paul.
Paul’s particular brand of libertarianism has taken hold in the imagination of the Tea Party, allowing its leaders and activists to claim a patriotic devotion to absolute freedom while simultaneously supporting policies that curtail the freedom of women, gay people, and religious minorities.
Who wants to be called a Right-Winger, Neocon or a Neanderthal these days? Welcome to Cafeteria Libertarianism.
"Libertarianism" has become the new code word to cover all that conservative Republican politicians love. They love to invoke a libertarian philosophy when they cut taxes for corporations and the rich, rail against health care reform, take the ax to the social safety net, deregulate Wall Street and block clean elections laws. It’s about freedom, they say. Come on, let’s get the government off of our backs!
The trouble is, the current GOP’s newfound embrace of libertarianism is a hoax. What today’s GOP practices is what I call “cafeteria libertarianism”: picking some freedoms to champion and others to actively work against. It’s an attempt to make the same old policies sound more palatable by twisting a much misunderstood ideology — with a uniquely marketable name — to help make the sale.
Take California Rep. David Dreier who is anti-choice and ironically, to say the least, anti-gay. When asked by a local news station this summer how he could appeal to Tea Party voters, Dreier responded, “I describe myself as a small-‘l’, libertarian-leaning Republican. I want less government and lower taxes. I believe in a free economy, limited government, a strong defense and personal freedom, that’s why I’m a Republican.” Dreier’s supposed embrace of libertarianism came as a surprise to those of us who have been following his life and politics for years. But Dreier’s not snacking alone at the Libertarian cafeteria — “libertarianism” has become a code word for GOP politicians hoping to appeal to Tea Party voters and corporate funders without the rest of the country taking notice.
When Republican politicians call themselves libertarians they, with very few exceptions, mean they want a small government when it comes to corporate accountability and a big government when it comes to people’s private lives. They don’t want Congress to regulate mine safety, but they do want to penalize small businesses that offer abortion coverage for employees. They don’t want to get in the way of Wall Street bankers fleecing consumers, but they’ll spend endless resources throwing up any and all possible barriers to gay people who want to marry whom they love.
It’s this cafeteria libertarianism, actively pushed by the corporate Right and wholeheartedly embraced by the Tea Party, that has allowed Congress and state legislatures to launch an all-out assault on corporate regulation, workers’ rights, and campaign finance restrictions — all while simultaneously conducting an energetic campaign to intervene in women’s health care, throw up bureaucratic hurdles to the right to vote, harangue practitioners of religions they don’t like and decide who can and cannot get married. Of course you need some powerful intellectual trickery to pull this off — how else can you say that you’re all for states’ rights and at the same time support amending the Constitution to prohibit states to define marriage?
The expert at this kind of trickery is libertarian poster boy and perennial presidential candidate Ron Paul, who enjoys an admiring following in the Tea Party movement and among some liberals who like some of the items that Paul has selected from the libertarian menu. Paul, despite his reputation as a hard-line maverick, picks and chooses the liberties he supports just as much as the rest of the GOP: sure, he famously defied his party to oppose the PATRIOT Act and the War on Drugs, but he also called Roe v. Wade a "big mistake" and supports the federal “Defense of Marriage Act.” And he’s far from alone: the oxymoronic anti-choice, anti-gay libertarians are now legion.
H/T: Michael B. Keegan at the Huffington Post.
Before President Obama entered the White House, there was a widespread consensus — even among leading conservatives — that the Constitution leaves most decisions to We the People and the leaders we elect. The election of a center-left president eager to move the nation in a progressive direction, however, killed many conservatives’ belief that democracy is a good thing. As an alternative, Tea Partiers embraced tentherism, the belief that everything from Social Security to Medicare to child labor laws to the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution.
hiser on Sep 16, 2011 at 9:50 am
Before President Obama entered the White House, there was a widespread consensus — even among leading conservatives — that the Constitution leaves most decisions to We the People and the leaders we elect. The election of a center-left president eager to move the nation in a progressive direction, however, killed many conservatives’ belief that democracy is a good thing. As an alternative, Tea Partiers embraced tentherism, the belief that everything from Social Security to Medicare to child labor laws to the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution. Watch a brief compilation of leading lawmakers declaring that virtually everything is unconstitutional:
A new Center for American Progress white paper — written by an author who should be very familiar to the readers of this blog — outlines exactly what would happen if the right succeeds in imposing its constitutional agenda upon the nation. The core of the paper is an explanation of everything that will cease to exist if the Tea Party gets it’s way:
- Social Security and Medicare
- Medicaid, SCHIP, and other health care programs
- All federal education programs
- All federal antipoverty programs
- Federal disaster relief
- Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
- Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
- Federal civil rights laws
h/t: ThinkProgress Justice
SUMTER, SC (WIS) - The chairwoman of the Sumter Tea Party is taking some heat after posting a joke on Facebook about killing the president and first lady.
Shery Lanford Smith posted the joke on her public profile Thursday afternoon, according to a screen-capture taken by the Sumter Item’s Nick McCormac. Smith removed the post after being asked about it.
In the joke, the Obamas’ helicopter pilot says to his co-pilot, “I could throw both of them out of the window and make 256 million people very happy!” Smith also posted, “If you’re one of [the] 256 million, pass it on,” implying she herself would be happy to see the Obamas killed.
The joke has been circulating for years in various forms which have included the names of multiple political figures. “It’s just a joke,” Smith told the Item when contacted about her post. “I had no idea it would be an issue.”
Smith was elected chairwoman of the Sumter Tea Party in February 2011, according to the organization’s now-defunct website.
You think the Tea Party is about inclusiveness and fiscal conservatism? Think again, as this is proof that the Teahadists are just xenophobic racists who hate the Obamas because they are Black Democrats. These Teahadists make me and every decent-thinking Americans sick!
H/t: WIS10 (NBC) Columbia, South Carolina