In politics, it's often difficult to know whether someone is crazy or just behaving in a crazy way for career and financial reward. Are they crazy or are they deliberately saying crazy things as a means of pandering to crazy voters. There's a continuum for evaluating this dynamic, with "crazy" on one end of the spectrum and "crazy... like a fox" on the other end, and when it comes to Michele Bachmann, she's totally crazy.
On his show last night, Chris Hayes defended Bachmann, and suggested that anyone who calls her crazy, especially the laundry list of blogs that posted lists of her craziest blurtgasms, is simply being dismissive.
Hayes said to panelists Joan Walsh and Dan Savage, "People call Michele Bachmann crazy a lot, people on our side, broadly, and it always drives me crazy a little bit because I just feel like that word has this kind of dismissive venom to it that doesn’t grapple seriously with someone who just has a set of beliefs."
I'm not sure if Hayes was simply being classy and above-the-fray, or whether he was just being naive about the utter gibberish that's belched out of Bachmann's yapper on a regular basis, but needless to say I think he's missing the point of what it means to call someone like Bachmann "crazy."
Most politicians are sociopathic narcissists -- even the good ones. There's something broken or misaligned inside the head of a person who thinks he or she can best rule the nation almost exclusively. If you're capable of staring into a mirror and seriously observing the visage of a human who has what it takes to be one of just 535 Americans who's responsible for deciding on laws that control the lives of 310 million people and very course of American history, you're a sociopathic narcissist. Tack on the fake vacant smile, the very serious haircut, the glad-handing and the endless, desperate campaigning during which you spend millions of dollars of other people's money in order to repeatedly affirm to entire populations of people that they should select you to rule over them -- if you're wired to endure and even enjoy that process, you're a power-starved nut sandwich. I say this as a political junky who's devoted his adult life to following this stuff. Politicians are insane.
So with that as a launching point for Michele Bachmann, all you really need to do is factor into the equation her googly-eyed self-confirmed ideology that skews into the realms of a raving street loon and conclude, yes, she's absolutely crazy. Hayes thinks her positions are just a set of beliefs, but that's a little bit like saying cancer is just a set of cells.
Agreeing that abortion should be illegal -- that's an idea, a political position and a belief. It's wrong, but it's a legitimate point of view. But Bachmann believes Obamacare will allow children to get abortions during school. She believes zygotes are protected under the 14th Amendment, effectively criminalizing women who have abortions for any reason at any stage. She believes the founding fathers, many of whom were slave-owners, worked "tirelessly" to abolish slavery even though they didn't. She doesn't believe in evolution because humans didn't evolve from blades of grass. She believes that hurricanes and earthquakes are punishments from God for, yes, the budget deficit. She believes that Democratic presidents Carter and Obama are responsible for swine flu outbreaks. She believes the climate crisis is a hoax and that there aren't any studies -- not one -- that show carbon dioxide is harmful. She believes that same-sex marriage will mandate that schools teach children "to perhaps try" homosexuality. And she believes a McCarthy-style inquisition is a good idea.
Yes, in the loosest definition of the term, these are beliefs. But they're crazy beliefs, formulated via mental illness and proud ignorance. And she's allowed to not only vote on laws, but she's allowed to sponsor and co-sponsor laws that impact America. Put this another way, if you walk into your doctor's office and just before he examines your prostate, he says to you with a straight face, "If your prostate is enlarged, it's a punishment from God for all of your credit card debt. Now bend over the table," that's not a belief, that's medically inaccurate and extraordinarily crazy, and he should not be practicing medicine.
And it's not just the so-called "beliefs" that make her crazy, it's crazy that she doesn't mind saying these crazy things out loud in public over and over again. To some extent, we all have the ability to think up crazy ideas, but most of the time we keep them to ourselves. Michele Bachmann, like Gohmert, Stockman and other fellow members of the Crazy Caucus, doesn't mind loudly repeating these fever-dream mumblings -- these geysers of ridiculousness -- on national television or into the next nearest open microphone. She owns them. She believes these nuggets of crazy must be entered into the public record for the betterment of the United States. That's crazy.
However, none of this is meant to imply that she's a moron. You can be crazy and savvy enough to succeed in life. Look at Donald Trump or Alex Jones. You don't get to Bachmann's station in life without being good at the game. That doesn't make her smart, just good at the process. She also graduated from law school -- a feat that requires a quantity of gray matter. If she wasn't passably smart, ambitious and good at her career, perhaps she'd be assembling a unitard out of plastic grocery bags for the amusement of the shadow people while insisting radio deejays are sending her coded messages about the Goblin Conspiracy. Nevertheless, Bachmann will continue to succeed in life outside of Congress, but thankfully she won't be anywhere near the floor of the House chamber where she can vote on things. Because, yes, she's crazy.