Michele Bachmann, great liberal hope

The Tea Party favorite goes after President Obama from the left on healthcare and race relations

Published June 20, 2011 2:40PM (EDT)

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., answers a question during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Monday, June 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) (AP)
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., answers a question during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Monday, June 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) (AP)

Michele Bachmann, who was glitter-bombed by a gay-rights activist on Saturday but did not seem to notice, continued her "she's surprisingly formidable" tour this weekend with a speech at the RightOnline Conference, an Americans for Prosperity-sponsored conservative response to NetrootsNation, the annual conference for liberal activists.

The reviews of Bachmann's speech are in!

Bachmann's speech was the usual stuff about how Obama made the recession and debt and a bit about how much gold is worth now because Obama is intentionally devaluing our currency (illustrated by making people fold dollars into segments). But there was some odd new material. Like most shameless Republicans, her Medicare talking points come from what is usually referred to as "the left," because she accused the president of wanting to take away senior citizens' free government healthcare. Weigel:

But then came the Medicare argument. Bachmann's case, as it was in New Orleans, is that seniors deserve to keep what is effectively a single-payer system. If the ACA is not repealed, "they'll be rolled into Obamacare. That's the future for senior citizens in this country. And nobody is telling this story." She warned them of the rationing that would come, augered by the rising costs of plans. "This is your intro to ObamaCare. You're not getting more care. This is the future for you."

Yes, why is no one telling the story of how the Democrats' healthcare reform bill apparently privatizes Medicare? A lot of people would be interested in that story! Like, does Paul Ryan know he's wasting his time? He already won!

Obviously old people are an essential part of the Republican coalition, and so defending socialism-for-them is to be expected. What would be weird is if Michele Bachmann started attacking Obama from the left on, like, black issues. Which, according to CNN, she proceeded to do:

"The president promised the African-American community, he promised the Hispanic community, that he would make their lives better. And that is what we want for every American," Bachmann said.

"This president isn't working. He's failing the Hispanic community. He is failing the African-American community. He's failing all of us," she continued.

What did the old, white audience think of this line of attack? Do they even want the Hispanic community working?

Here's the question: Is Bachmann delusional enough to believe that she can make a serious play for the disaffected liberal vote? (And how can Bachmann appeal to black voters when she knows that every time a black person votes it's actually ACORN-sponsored voter fraud?)

Even if it was just trolling, Michele Bachmann is now the only 2012 candidate to have brought up the black unemployment rate. Let's see if anyone else takes her bait! Maybe we'll get a jobs program after all, as part of some absurd effort to embarrass Obama.

(Also: Roll Call reports today on a 2009 anti-healthcare reform rally Bachmann held at the Capitol that was paid for with her taxpayer-funded office account, a rather direct violation of House rules in addition to an example of common hypocrisy. Everyone knew that she was doing this back in 2009, but Roll Call does have a couple more examples of Bachmann engaging in her favorite activity: wasting taxpayer money.)

By Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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2012 Elections Healthcare Reform Michele Bachmann R-minn. Race Unemployment