Friday, October 24, 2008

Michele Bachmann and the Conservative Future

GOP Representative Michele Bachmann, from Minnesota's 6th District, has lost a double-digit lead to Democratic challenger Elwyn Tinklenberg following her appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews on October 17.

A new poll finds Elwynn with a slight, statistically-insignificant lead over Bachmann, 45-43 percent.

Bachmann's under fire for criticizing the Democratic nominee, saying, for example, "the people who Barack Obama has been associating with are anti-American, by and large." The ensuing left-wing backlash has engulfed her campaign and put her political career in jeopardy.

As noted, I made a contribution to Bachmann's reelection campaign the other day.

I've been moved by the controversy surrounding, as I see Bachmann as an embattled foot-soldier in the culture wars following September 11, 2001, which have now reached manic pitch on the eve of the presidential election.

Bachmann's been eviscerated by the netroots left and its allies in the liberal press corps, and
she's taped a new campaign advertisement saying, "I may not always get my words right but I know that my heart is right because my heart is for you, for your children and for the blessings of liberty to remain for our great country."

This is not the big "apology" some folks on the left were anticipating, and I'm glad: Bachmann's got nothing to be ashamed of, and
no need to apologize:

  • When the Senate Majority Leader, a Democrat, gets up to the podium and proclaims, "The Iraq war is lost!" in an effort to counteract any positive consequences of an upcoming change in strategy, is that pro-American?
  • When "Jihad Jack" Murtha scores a propaganda victory for Jihadists who are killing our soldiers by unjustly and without evidence labelling Marines "cold blooded murderers," is that likewise pro-American?
  • When an entire party, in the name of politics, tries to undermine the efforts of our troops in harms' way during wartime, is that pro-American?
  • When Obama's long-time self-confessed mentor and pastor of over 20 years stands in the pulpit and screams, "G*D DAMN AMERICA!" is that being pro-American?
  • When another long-time Obama Associate, William Ayers, bombs the pentagon and other targets, and later regrets only that he didn't cause more murder and mayhem, is that also pro-American?

But notice the video above, which features Bachmann in a congressional district debate in November 2005. During the talk Bachmann proclaims that "not all cultures are equal," to which the Huffington Post responds:

One comment she has never explained came during a debate she had while running for Congress the first time in November 2005. Prompted by a question on the rioting in France and Europe at the time, Bachmann said "not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal," letting it be known that she thought that people of the Muslim faith had an inferior culture to that of the United States and the West.

She held forth on the European unrest, referring to a generation of unassimilated Muslim French youth addicted to cable television, led in her imagination by al Jazeera to wreak havoc. Yet it was Bachmann who seemed entranced by cable news. Her knowledge of what was actually happening in France seems to have come entirely from a FOX news-style script. In fact, the unrest was no jihad, had nothing to do with religious faith or Muslim culture or al Jazeeera. It was more akin to the riots in the U.S. for expanded civil rights in the 1960s or those that followed from the Rodney King police beating in Los Angeles in 1991. The European riots came after two suburban youth were killed in a police chase. The unrest centered on decades of discrimination that had manifested itself, for example, in school acceptances and hiring practices and police force racial profiling.
Actually, that's not quite accurate.

In fact, Bachmann pretty much nails the analysis, and Huffington Post is spinning Bachmann's comments as a purportedly earlier example of beyond-the-pale extremism.

Note, for example, Robert Leiken's analysis in, "
Europe's Angry Muslims," from the July/August 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs:

Jihadist networks span Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the spread of radical Islam among the descendants of guest workers once recruited to shore up Europe's postwar economic miracle. In smoky coffeehouses in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in Hamburg and Brussels, Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham and "Londonistan," and the prisons of Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles, immigrants or their descendants are volunteering for jihad against the West. It was a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, born and socialized in Europe, who murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam last November. A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals - eligible to travel visa-free to the United States.
Also, here's Robert Spencer rebutting the notion that "the unrest [of 2005] was no jihad, had nothing to do with religious faith or Muslim culture":

Why have the riots happened? From many accounts one would think that the riots have been caused by France’s failure to implement Marxism....

One might get the impression from this that France is governed by top-hatted, cigar-smoking capitalists, building their fortunes on the backs of the poor, rather than by socialists and quasi-socialists who have actually strained the economy by spending huge amounts of money on health and welfare programs. Nor does the idea that the rioting has been caused by economic inequalities explain why Catholics and others who are poor in France have not joined the Muslims who are rioting. Of course, all the news agencies have either omitted or mentioned only in passing that the rioters are Muslims at all. The casual reader would not be able to escape the impression that what is happening in France is all about economics — and race.
Compare Spencer to Bachmann's intitial comments in the video:

I just want to say only in France, only in France could you have suburban youth rioting because the welfare benefits aren't generous enough. And that's... That's what they're telling us now is happening there. And only in France could that happen.
Representative Bachmann is more attuned to France's "Muslim street" than are her detractors on the radical left.

And that's why I've contributed to her campaign, and I hope others will as well (go to Bachmann's campaign page,

Michele Bachmann's fighting the fight conservatives need to wage. She's now a bit chastened by the backlash, but as the comments in her new advertisment indicate, she's sticking to "what's right in her heart."

That's a stand for traditional values, a stand for ideals, and a refusal to cave to intense political pressures from nihilist moral relativists.

two-thirds in the Minnesota National Public Radio poll disagree with Bachmann's comments on Barack Obama's radical associations, for more reasons than I can discuss here.

Thus, in the microcosm of American politics that is Minnesota's 6th congressional district, we're seeing the battle for the conservative soul unfold in miniature, at the level of an individual GOP policy-maker beseiged by the hordes of moral equivalence who're now emboldened by the prospects of a Barack Obama administration, a candidate who will represent the very values against which Bachmann's so courageously warned.