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Michele Bachmann: “titanium spine,” again

by Bill Prendergast on February 16, 2010 · 7 comments

The line she’s giving out today is that she’s being persecuted in Twin Cities media, again…

Which is another lie, of course–the established media here in Minnesota have always been de facto Bachmann allies, making the election of a kook possible. They spiked Bachmann quotes proving her extremism, prior to her election to Congress.

After her election to Congress Bachmann launched her ongoing series of fantastic and scurrilous charges against her elected colleagues (Barack Obama is “practicing tyranny” and running a “gangster government,” members of Congress with “anti-American views” need investigating, Americorps is running political re-education camps, etc. etc.)

The Minnesota political media’s response was quick. Editors commissioned a seemingly unending series of “sweetheart interviews” and “what a firecracker she is” political profiles–leaving Bachmann’s most inflammatory charges unaddressed, allowing her to talk about what a lovable little fuzzball she is. (Compare MN media mentions of foster kids v. “Obama is practicing tyranny/leading America in economic Marxism” mentions.)

The MinnPost distinguished itself by commissioning a fellow conservative to interview her (that’s the lovable little fuzzball interview.) The City Pages, usually pretty good on the Bachmann story, agreed to allow her answer questions submitted in advance (and had the nerve to present that to the public as the “definitive” Michele Bachmann interview.)

You can look through the various Star Tribune profiles of her political career–published over a series of years–and find absolutely nothing on what she’s done to address the chronic home foreclosures problem in her district. The Strib’s editorial page has acknowledged that she’s a conspiracy nut–but their “straight news reporting” and “analytical pieces” on Bachmann don’t acknowledge that essential component of her politics.

The PiPress? Well…the PiPress is the “Fredo Corleone” of Bachmann coverage. I’ve been reading Bachmann coverage since 2003, I can’t think of single valuable article about her that came out of the PiPress.
The extremist thing is really no secret, even though the big papers in the Twin Cities treat it as such. The Tea Party guys, for example, know that Bachmann’s a conspiracy nut like them. That’s why they were so disappointed with Bachmann’s failure to appear in Nashville this month. And as a recent Newsweek piece points out, those Tea Party guys believe America is in the grip of sinister conspiracies:…
…and those guys described in that Newsweek article–recognize Bachmann as “one of their own.”

But the fact that she’s a kook–the real deal, an elected official with a John Birch Society type view of the federal government as already subverted by conspiracy–is kept out of the Minnesota reporting. So is the story of how the national evangelical right mentored Bachmann’s career here in Minnesota: verboten, for Strib and PiPress readers to hear about that fact pattern.

Too bad: it’s fascinating, critical to understanding this politician and the national movement she represents, and it’s already documented…but professional journalists here in Minnesota won’t touch that. (Well, these days you can get some facts and hints from the Minnesota Independent–but at election time, how much weight does their reporting carry outside of liberal/progressive circles?)

Here is MNIndy reporting her appearance at NRA/Tea Party/GOP event in Bismarck, North Dakota:

In a 60-minute appearance in Bismark on Friday, Rep. Michele Bachmann laughed and sang and wept as she told attendees they must take America back for the Republicans to protect future generations.

How’s that for an image? Hysteria is on horseback in the modern GOP, but these crowds just love it; just love her. (There’s video at the MNIndy link below.)

Now, the “titanium spine” thing…

“You have to know who you are and what you believe and you have to grow a titanium spine because I am here to tell you, it doesn’t even take two months,” she said. “Because they will get to you if you don’t know who you are because these people are experts they are paid to do that to wear you down.

Who are “they?” Well, in the context of this particular Bachmann address, the enemies trying to wear her down are the Twin Cities press (the guys who have been throwing her softball interviews in return for the privilege of announcing that she gave them access.) But she rambles a little after that, and seems to conflate the American government with the Twin Cities press on her “enemies” list:

“‘Cause they want to win, because what do they have? They have the biggest ATM in the world; your back pocket. And so all they need are shills to go and put their hand your back pocket. And they win!”

… and this and laughing and singing and weeping, is what is representing the people of Minnesota against the elected government, the White House, the media…enemies, enemies, everywhere…

And you need a “titanium spine” to stand up to that aspect of the conspiracy–and that is what Michele claims to have.

On more than one occasion! In a Dump Bachmann posted video dated 2006, Michele claimed to have a “titanium spine” when it came to fighting gay marriage. It’s after 5:00 in the video, go to about 6:25 for the titanium spine claim.

That titanium spine folded pretty fast once she was elected to Congress. Michele’s interest in fight against gay marriage pretty much evaporated; gay marriage went from being her “number one earthquake issue that threatened Western civilization” to…nothing, really.

The homophobia had served its purpose in getting her the media exposure she needed to run–so her promise to continue to fight on that issue was abandoned. So “titanium spine” on any issue is just another Bachmann fantasy, part of the delusion. As I say, the teabagger culture just eats that up…but when you look at Bachmann’s voting record, you see that all she’s really stood up for in nine years in the legislature are the special interests teabaggers claim to distrust: the banking and finance lobbies, the Wall Street guys who ripped us off. And slavish devotion to the Bush administration and GOP Congress that teabaggers now denounce as “sell-outs.”

There has always been a really interesting news story in this career…but we’ve never had a Minnesota print journal willing to tell it. The St. Cloud Times has noted that she’s an extremist and they actually did an interview that included a couple of substantive questions. But we’re still waiting for a Minnesota publication to tell the “kook”–to document it. Believe me, it’s easy to do that…it’s already been done for them; the Bachmann “kook” quotes (out of her own mouth) have been available on the blogs.

The problem is that the news media here won’t publish them in their own venues. You can’t tell the Minnesota conservatives they’re stupid and they’re backing an extremist hypocrite and kook who actually supported BIG government throughout most of her political career. You can’t show Minnesota voters that one of the people representing the state in Congress–is, in truth, some kind of nut. You keep that out of your reporting if you’re a pro–because you lose too many readers that way, you lose too many advertisers, you lose “access to the powerful kook.”

Here’s the MNIndy article:…  

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