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Michele Bachmann’s Odd Views On Slavery And The Civil War

In the middle of a 3,000 word piece in The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza expands on a topic that has come up before, the odd historical view of slavery and the Confederacy that Michele Bachmann seems to have:

Bachmann’s comment about slavery was not a gaffe. It is, as she would say, a world view. In “Christianity and the Constitution,” the book she worked on with Eidsmoe, her law-school mentor, he argues that John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams “expressed their abhorrence for the institution” and explains that “many Christians opposed slavery even though they owned slaves.” They didn’t free their slaves, he writes, because of their benevolence. “It might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible.”

While looking over Bachmann’s State Senate campaign Web site, I stumbled upon a list of book recommendations. The third book on the list, which appeared just before the Declaration of Independence and George Washington’s Farewell Address, is a 1997 biography of Robert E. Lee by J. Steven Wilkins.

Wilkins is the leading proponent of the theory that the South was an orthodox Christian nation unjustly attacked by the godless North. This revisionist take on the Civil War, known as the “theological war” thesis, had little resonance outside a small group of Southern historians until the mid-twentieth century, when Rushdoony and others began to popularize it in evangelical circles. In the book, Wilkins condemns “the radical abolitionists of New England” and writes that “most southerners strove to treat their slaves with respect and provide them with a sufficiency of goods for a comfortable, though—by modern standards—spare existence.”

African slaves brought to America, he argues, were essentially lucky: “Africa, like any other pagan country, was permeated by the cruelty and barbarism typical of unbelieving cultures.” Echoing Eidsmoe, Wilkins also approvingly cites Lee’s insistence that abolition could not come until “the sanctifying effects of Christianity” had time “to work in the black race and fit its people for freedom.”

Consider what Wilkins wrote about race relations in the South before the Civil War:

Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society which was the old South, was not an adversarial relationship founded upon racial animosity. In fact, it bred on the whole, not contempt, but, over time, mutual respect. This produced a mutual esteem of the sort that always results when men give themselves to a common cause. The credit for this startling reality must go to the Christian faith. . . . The unity and companionship that existed between the races in the South prior to the war was the fruit of a common faith.

This is reminiscent of the kind of justification for slavery that we hear in the infamous Cornerstone Speech by Alexander Stephens, who would go on to become Vice-President of the Confederacy:

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity.

Adam Serwer comments:

Wilkins’ utopian perspective on slavery is a staple of pro-Confederate, Lost Cause mythology, belied by all the contemporary accounts of actual slaves. It is central to not just to defending slavery as an institution and Americas’ failure to eradicate it until the 1860s but to justifying the post-slavery violence of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, not as the white supremacy reasserting itself, but as a reaction to the lawlessness of former slaves whose primitive nature made them ill-suited to freedom.

Lizza’s entire piece is worth a read, not just for its humorous moments (Bachmann apparently calls her campaign plane the “Barbie Jet”), but also it makes something very clear about Bachmann that I don’t think many people understand about her. The historical “mistakes” that Bachmann makes on issues like slavery aren’t evidence of ignorance, given her educational achievements assuming she’s ignorant is a vast understatement in my opinion. Instead, what we’re seeing is evidence of a world view that is very different from what most Americans encounter in their daily lives:

Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians. Her campaign is going to be a conversation about a set of beliefs more extreme than those of any American politician of her stature, including Sarah Palin, to whom she is inevitably compared. Bachmann said in 2004 that being gay is “personal enslavement,” and that, if same-sex marriage were legalized, “little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal and natural and that perhaps they should try it.” Speaking about gay-rights activists, that same year, she said, “It is our children that is the prize for this community.” She believes that evolution is a theory that has “never been proven,” and that intelligent design should be taught in schools.

The fact that someone like this is within a hair’s breath of being the frontrunner for the GOP nomination should concern everyone.

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    so she liked the book about Robert E. Lee … and that means she agrees with all of the authors other works … ok … seems like guilt by association without any actual association …

    weak tea sir … not even a nice try …

    couldn’t you find a good scary eyes picture to post ?

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  2. Jay Tea says:

    To echo Jeff: are the controversial quotes from the actual book she recommended? Doug’s rather vague on that point.

    I have several authors I think very highly of, yet won’t recommend all of their works.

    J.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 16

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have to agree with Jeff here Doug. So she liked a fantasy book very loosely based upon the life of Robt E Lee. What is the big deal?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  4. ponce says:

    Sounds like Bachmann’s beliefs could more accurately be described as belonging to a Christian cult.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 15

  5. MM says:

    @Jeff: Did you read the Ryan Lizza piece? There are other examples of her embracing some…unique interpretations of history and philosophy.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 11

  6. Gulliver says:

    An historic failure of leadership, the market losing over 600 points, and you want to focus on your dislike of Bachmann? Truly, your choice of subjects on a day like this is pitiful as well as transparent. You’re chock full of prattle and lather… just like the current administration.

    Shameful…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 28

  7. PD Shaw says:

    Bachmann’s comment about slavery was not a gaffe. It is, as she would say, a world view. In “Christianity and the Constitution,” the book she worked on with Eidsmoe, her law-school mentor, he argues that John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams “expressed their abhorrence for the institution” and explains that “many Christians opposed slavery even though they owned slaves.”

    Certainly not a gaffe, Jay and Hamilton were in abolition movements and while Adams expressed his abhorrence in private letters, it was his son that was more clearly abolitionist. Many slaveholders thought slavery was wrong. The founding generation believed and assumed slavery was wrong and set it on the path to extinction; the subsequent generation perverted the original intentions by declaring slavery a positive good.

    They didn’t free their slaves, he writes, because of their benevolence. “It might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible.”

    Well, it was frequently illegal to free slaves (or educate them), or at the very least lack of civil rights protections to freed slaves made it very difficult to protect a freed slave from relosing freedom. Washington was unique because he had the resources to free his slaves by setting them up in property.

    Lincoln also did not think it was benevolent to free slaves into this type of society and promoted the idea of colonization until that alternative was no longer available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. CB says:

    Wilkins’ utopian perspective on slavery is a staple of pro-Confederate, Lost Cause mythology, belied by all the contemporary accounts of actual slaves…

    but theyre HEATHENS! the slaves just didnt UNDERSTAND the kind benevolence of the people who were locking them up and forcing them to work the cotton fields 18 hours a day for nothing! how could they, with their pea sized brains and their pagan rituals.

    im sure the fact that i find this to be shameless racism is proof of my liberal indoctrination

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  9. Rob in CT says:

    The Founders *did* tend to view slavery as an unfortunate thing (note: not necessarily a moral cancer, an ultimate evil, an original sin, but certainly bad), but dithered about doing anything to end it. Why? Because while during their time it was apparently not all that profitable, if you’re a gentleman farmer with slaves basically all your capital is tied up in those slaves. Give them up and you’re poor (of course, this ignores the possibility of using a government program to gradually emancipate, with payments to former slave owners, as I believe was done in the UK). So (to the slave-owning member of the Founding Generation) it was lamentable, bad, wrong, etc., but we just can’t get rid of it. Sigh. Obviously, other Founders were anti-slavery and didn’t own slaves. Go Adams Family!

    Then came the cotton gin. Slavery was suddenly *extremely* profitable, and BLAM, the rhetoric changed right quick. Suddently, slavery went from being a possibly necessary, maybe temporary, evil to the Right Way to Organize Society. Suddenly, pondering how to bring it to an end was deemed radical and offensive.

    The whole “we can’t free them, how would they survive!” thing was very popular in pro-slavery antebellum arguments. It went hand-in-hand with “we own them for life so we have to take good care of ‘em, whereas you awful Yankee factory owners hire & fire your wage-slaves at will!” Heh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  10. sam says:

    @Jay Tea:

    To echo Jeff: are the controversial quotes from the actual book she recommended? Doug’s rather vague on that point.

    Well, if you see the sentence that Doug replaced just prior to the quote that begins, “Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society “. Lizza writes, introducing that quote, “In his chapter on race relations in the antebellum South, Wilkins writes:” — indicating it came from the book on Lee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  11. An Interested Party says:

    The President can only hope that Bachmann can somehow secure the GOP presidential nomination…the ads would write themselves…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 11

  12. Moosebreath says:

    “Jay and Hamilton were in abolition movements and while Adams expressed his abhorrence in private letters, it was his son that was more clearly abolitionist. Many slaveholders thought slavery was wrong. The founding generation believed and assumed slavery was wrong and set it on the path to extinction”

    Hmm, so founders from New York and Massachusetts (and we can add Franklin from Pennsylvania) opposed slavery. On the other hand, founders from states where slavery was more profitable (such as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison) did not. Somehow that does not equate to the entire founding generation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Fiona says:

    Bachman, like Palin, treats American history as a mythology that promotes her views of the universe. One writer described this approach to American history as Bible II–a sacred text subject to a single interpretation. The difference between Palin and Bachman is that Bachman is a whole lot smarter and much better versed in this vision of history and better able to manipulate its code words. Palin is also all about self-promotion and whatever will win her the most fame and fortune, whereas Bachman seems to believe that she’s truly on a mission to save our country from the savages–be they liberal, gay, feminist, or secular. While I think the entry of Rick Perry into the race will cancel her out, it’s still scary that she can be doing as well as she is in the polls.

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  14. ponce says:

    but theyre HEATHENS! the slaves just didnt UNDERSTAND the kind benevolence of the people who were locking them

    No doubt Bachmann also believes all Americans living in poverty desperately want to shed the chains of the social safety net to provide the rich with more tax breaks.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 12

  15. PJ says:

    This is reminiscent of the kind of justification for slavery that we hear in the infamous Cornerstone Speech by Alexander Stephens, who would go on to become Vice-President of the Confederacy

    Stephens took the took the oath in February 1861, so when he gave the speech in March he was already Vice President of the Confederacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Fiona:
    Well put. BUt I don’t know that Perry is any wiser than this crazy woman.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 11

  17. PD Shaw says:

    @Moosebreath:”Hmm, so founders from New York and Massachusetts (and we can add Franklin from Pennsylvania) opposed slavery. On the other hand, founders from states where slavery was more profitable (such as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison) did not. Somehow that does not equate to the entire founding generation.”

    I did not write that all the founders “opposed slavery,” I wrote, as did Lincoln, that all of the founders thought slavery was “wrong,” it was a necessary evil. And that makes all of the difference in the division that formed in the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. Fiona says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t think he’s any wiser. But I do think he can present himself as being less extreme and having more executive experience. As such, he can appeal to voters who aren’t part of the Republicans’ evangelical base. I don’t think Bachman can make that appeal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. michael reynolds says:

    The GOP has long used dog whistle racism to play to its base. So this coming from the Minnesota Madwoman is nothing new.

    The GOP has essentially abandoned its conservative ideology. They careen wildly between belief points: one minute deficits are irrelevant, the next minute they’re all that matters. One minute they’re attacking Obama for cutting Medicare, the next minute they’re proposing to dismantle Medicare and attacking him for not cutting enough. They’re for states rights until they aren’t. Earned income tax credit is either great or it’s socialism. An aggressive war on terror is great, until it’s Obama doing it. Subsidies and tax breaks are evil socialism . . . except when they benefit GOP donors. Bail-outs are great under Bush, and ten minutes later under Obama, they’re evil. Freedom of religion for wacky Christian cults yes, for Muslims no. Violent Muslim rhetoric promotes violence, violent Christian rhetoric not so much. Less border enforcement when big business needs low-cost workers, and when the economy turns south it’s time to hate the Mexicans.

    The constants are racism, religiosity and servility toward the rich. Those never change. All the rest of it is noise. Meaningless. The core is hostility toward “the other,” a tightening of identity, and a primitive belief in propitiating the Powers.

    The GOP is becoming less of a political party and more of a tribe. It’s becoming the white people’s party. The party in particular of southern whites. The dominant emotions are resentment, a feeling of victimization, fear and rage. Those emotions are infinitely more important than any so-called ideology or belief system. People act on emotion, not on ideas. And the GOP is a foul stew of paranoid emotions.

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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Lincoln also did not think it was benevolent to free slaves into this type of society and promoted the idea of colonization until that alternative was no longer available.

    What Lincoln thought is beyond our ken, what Lincoln said was that Jim Crow would happen (in so many words).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: well said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  22. PD Shaw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think we have a pretty good idea of Lincoln’s thoughts on freeing slaves in this country:

    From the Peoria speech:

    What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, can not be safely disregarded. We can not, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the south.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw: PD, once again we are extrapolating a persons thoughts from their actions, their words… neither of which measure their thoughts.

    Jefferson did not like slavery, but he had slaves. This is not a straight line equation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. PD Shaw says:

    Does anybody here want to support Doug’s claim that Bachmann has made a mistake about the statements that Doug quotes from her?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. sam says:

    But then there’s this, PD, also from the Peoria speech:

    Little by little, but steadily as man’s march to the grave, we have been giving up the old for the new faith. Nearly eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a ‘sacred right of self-government.’ These principles cannot stand together. They are as opposite as God and Mammon; and whoever holds to the one must despise the other.

    Why should we not think that this most complicated of men, the first American president whose mentality is of supreme interest to us, was conflicted himself, that he did not, in some way, harbor within himself the very contradictions that seven years later would lead to the worst thing that ever happened to us? And that finally only in the crucible of that awful bloodletting would those contradictions finally be resolved in his own heart?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw: At what point will you admit that the founders were wrong, PD? You know, they were human????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. PD Shaw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m only repeating the Lincoln line on the Founder’s intent. I find it disconcerting that this blog keeps repeating the contrary party line from Douglas, whose side lost the war. One may argue that Lincoln was wrong, but I don’t think one can reasonably argue that Lincoln’s views are beyond the pale and therefore mistaken.

    I started a longer response to your earlier post, with quotes from Peoria to the White House, where he tells a group of Black Ministers that “I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us.” I don’t think a single quote captures Lincoln’s views, but Bachmann is much closer to them than most of her critics on this point.

    I will not be voting for Bachmann under any conceivable circumstance. I just hate to see opposition to her to grow into bad history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @sam:

    Why should we not think that this most complicated of men, the first American president whose mentality is of supreme interest to us, was conflicted himself, that he did not, in some way, harbor within himself the very contradictions that seven years later would lead to the worst thing that ever happened to us? And that finally only in the crucible of that awful bloodletting would those contradictions finally be resolved in his own heart?

    That, my friend, is a beautifully written paragraph and obviously penned by someone with some experience of this world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. Max says:

    You want a real conservative in the Senate for a change? Someone who won’t vote for Obama’s agenda? Check out Andrew “CAS” Castanuela
    http://www.facebook.com/CASforSenate

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  30. steve says:

    ““little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal and natural and that perhaps they should try it.””

    I believe that this is a mistake by Bachmann. I dont know any group that suggests “trying” homosexuality.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. ponce says:

    Why should we not think that this most complicated of men, the first American president whose mentality is of supreme interest to us…

    Thomas Jefferson?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam:

    @michael reynolds:Let me 2nd MR. I can only say Sam that my own words are sadly insignificant compared to your own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, damnit, another awesome zinger, Michael. Your knack for cutting to the chase and spelling it out in the barest possible words even a mouth-breathing right-wing knuckle-dragger can understand is impressive. You a writer or something (snark)?

    I couldn’t agree more. Fifty years of steadily amplified right-wing propaganda and walled-off education have finally come home to roost. What was once amusingly considered far-fetched conspiracy is now trumpeted by these people as erudition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. Jack Moss says:

    Oh stop it. Barack Obama too had weird ideals and questionable influences. They were summarily ignored by this blog and others. We were told that it didn’t matter if he was a friend of a domestic terrorist, or a racist preacher with whom he shared more than 20 years.

    If that was the case then, then it’s the case now, it doesn’t matter. Additionally by Lizza’s admission his article is loosely sourced (read no collaboration) and Bachmann’s camp is denying much of the article’s veracity. He was on Keith Olbermann’s show on little watched Current TV and just from the conversation you could tell Lizza had more than a ax and agenda to grind.

    What should concern us isn’t Michelle’s reading choices, it’s the speed by which people like you and others are so quick to condemn her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  35. Tina says:

    Why was Protestant Slavery the Smoking Gun of Civil War?
    The Civil War was the bloodiest war in American history. American Protestant slavery in the Constitution denied Blacks’ humanity and citizenship. Paul Kalra’s “From Slave To Untouchable: Lincoln’s Solution” shows how this inevitably led to Civil War and killing of 620,000 Americans.
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    This is the 150th anniversary of Civil War that claimed 620,000 American lives. American Protestant slavery in the Constitution denied Blacks’ humanity and citizenship. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney opined, “The framers of the Constitution had not regarded Negroes as citizens, and the present condition of the race warranted no change in their legal status.” Why was Protestant Slavery the smoking gun of the Civil war?
    “From Slave to Untouchable: Lincoln’s Solution” provides answers to:
    • Why the Blacks could not be set free outside the citizenship tent.
    • How breeding of Blacks for sale required slavery expansion into new territories.
    • Why immigrants from Europe were reluctant to compete with black noncitizens.
    “From Slave To Untouchable: Lincoln’s Solution” by Paul Kalra (ISBN 978-0-9647173-6-7) has endorsements:
    • A foreword by Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
    • Hailed by Harold Holzer, editor of the New York Times Civil War series, “Your project is intriguing and original and provocative.”
    • Stanley M. Elkins, History Professor, “A very persuasive case for the unique character of American (Protestant) slavery and its implications for the status of American blacks right down to twentieth century.”

    A press-kit is available at http://www.SlaveToUntouchable.com .
    ###
    Contact Information:
    Tina Singh Email: OnlyChief@hotmail.com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The constants are racism, religiosity and servility toward the rich. Those never change. All the rest of it is noise. Meaningless. The core is hostility toward “the other,” a tightening of identity, and a primitive belief in propitiating the Powers.

    What an extreme, bitter man you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  37. Anonne says:

    It is a page from Glenn Beck’s agenda – to whitewash history by telling some alternate universe spin. The way that you undermine support for the institutions we have is to retell history in a way that deceives people into thinking that they are borne of illegitimate or marginal concerns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:
    Then it should be no problem for you to refute me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  39. anjin-san says:

    What an extreme, bitter man you are.

    How exactly do you define extreme? This is a Republican blog, and public opinion on that comment is running 4-1 in favor of.

    Dogmatic Republicans tend to get confused in here because informed opinions are valued and boilerplate tends to get laughed at. You know Jan, the sound you have been hearing directed at you ever since you showed up…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  40. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nothing to refute, Michael. It was simply an observation of your writing, a certain disdain of others that seeps out in your posts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  41. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    This is a Republican blog,

    Who are you kidding? This is a romper room full of progressive democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  42. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Max: There are Republicans in Congress voting for Obama’s agenda? Obama even HAS an agenda? When did this happen?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  43. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Doug:

    “The fact that someone like this is within a hair’s breath of being the frontrunner for the GOP nomination should concern everyone.”

    I think, rather that her identity as “someone like this” insures that she will get neither the GOP nomination nor the Presidency.

    Unless, of course, von Clauswitz is correct about nations getting the governments they deserve. In that case, all bets are off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @jan:

    It was simply an observation of your writing, a certain disdain of others that seeps out in your posts.

    Not “others.” Ideologues, people who pretend to debate but just restate talking points, people whose minds are closed, and of course I really have a hard-on for bigots.

    I also really dislike people who threaten to harm my country — as the Tea Party did for narrow, partisan reasons. I don’t understand the kind of mentality that puts ideology ahead of love of country. I used to think we all agreed on that.

    I also used to admire a lot of Republicans. I usually voted Democratic, but I never thought the GOP was sick. I loved Everett Dirksen and Hatfield and Bob Dole and cranky Alan Simpson. I admired George HW Bush. I admired McCain before he ran one too many races and foisted that malicious creep Sarah Palin on the country. I remember telling my young daughter about McCain, explaining why his arms moved strangely, explaining to her that he’d been tortured, explaining that every time she saw him move that way she should think, there goes a hero.

    But the GOP became the party of Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch and the Tea Party. It was round-the-clock hate and rage and nihilism. It was torture and attacks on gays and Mexicans. It was denial of science and promotion of the most primitive Christianism. It was racism, long after the pitiful excuse of the southern strategy had expired. The party of Lincoln — a party born in heroism, a party born to save this nation and to give us our greatest president — was now the party of Glen Beck and Hannity and Palin and Bachmann.

    The best you have right now, Mitt Romney, is a man utterly lacking in conviction, a spineless technocrat willing to pander to imbeciles and embrace bigotry to achieve power. That’s your best. Do you know how degraded a party is when Mitt Romney is their best?

    I’ve often disagreed with the GOP. Often been furious at them. Never before thought them un-American and un-patriotic. Now I do. I think the party is sick to its core.

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  45. Only in the modern conservative Bizarro World is it unacceptable to quote from a book from the person’s list of “must read” books as a reflection of that person’s beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  46. Murray says:

    “… the odd historical view of slavery ..”

    It’s not odd, it’s disgusting.

    Any endeavor to rationalize or trivialize the evil of slavery and it’s heritage – segregation – is worse than a crime. It’s a sin.

    It becomes dangerous when articulated by self proclaimed Christians who believe they are entitled to judge and condemn based on a perverted vision of Christianity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  47. anjin-san says:

    This is a romper room full of progressive democrats.

    Then why do you hang out here? One might conclude that you are a paid shill. You are obviously lying about being a Democrat..

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  48. mantis says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Only in the modern conservative Bizarro World is it unacceptable to quote from a book from the person’s list of “must read” books as a reflection of that person’s beliefs.

    Oh you simply must read this book. It’s awful!

    Yeah, you’re right. Doesn’t work.

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  49. mattb says:

    Having just finished the article, I think the more disconcerting (especially if one wants to “read into” what she not only is reading but open states are great works) is Bachmann’s citing of Francis Schaeffer’s(*) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Schaeffer) student, Nancy Pearcey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Pearcey) – both of whom were biblical literalists with strong views on political/christian activism.

    In 2005 Bachmann stated that Pearcey’s book “Total Truth” was a “wonderful” book. In that book, Pearcey writes: Nevertheless, the overall systems of thought constructed by nonbelievers will be false—for if the system is not built on Biblical truth, then it will be built on some other ultimate principle. Even individual truths will be seen through the distorting lens of a false world view. … We cannot simply borrow the results of secular scholarship as though that were spiritually neutral territory discovered by people whose minds are completely open and objective — that is, ad thought the fall had never happened.” (46)

    This passage is particularly disconcerting as it — in it’s broader context — draws a schism between secular and Christian Scholarship and understandings of the world and weights the equation towards the latter. Which — considering that Christians can’t always agree on what is Christian — opens up the ability to reject things based on personal world view/narrative versus objective evidence.

    (*) – Schaeffer as I’m discovering is a pretty interesting figure. Tough very extreme in some views (as the New Yorker article puts it, he “condemned the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism.” At the same time he argued against theocracies and held rather progressive views on environmental stewardship)

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  50. @mantis: Funny thing is that the book is partially available on Google Books, including the more offensive parts about slavery.

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  51. jan says:

    Seeing all the Bachmann negativity here, I thought I would lighen it up a bit with this:

    Michele Bachmann the Bill Clinton of the 21st century

    IMO, much of the contempt for her is generated by the secular left. Religion for them is like shinning sunlight on a vampire. Much like the rapacious efforts of the ACLA to erradicate every cross in the nation, the left is determined to fight having any person ardently involved in their religion from accessing higher office …an exception, though, might be made for a Muslim.

    Here there is much talk about what Bachmann reads, inferring her beliefs might be too off base and ‘extreme.’ However, when Obama ran for office why was it copasetic of him to have so many leftist/socialist even former ‘terrorists’ among his associations in the not too distant past. The right screamed about them. But, the progressives were either silent or supportive.

    So, Bachmann, though she is extremely provocative, is representing the other side of the coin for what we currently have as a President. I doubt she will win the primary. In fact I hope she doesn’t. However, she is no less qualified to seek the presidency in her experience or professional resume than Obama was. And, as for ‘extremism,’ she is equal to Obama on that front as well, just a different type, that’s all.

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  52. An Interested Party says:

    Michele Bachmann the Bill Clinton of the 21st century

    She’ll be involved with blowjobs in the Oval Office? Who knew…

    And, as for ‘extremism,’ she is equal to Obama on that front as well, just a different type, that’s all.

    A statement written with no proof whatsoever to back it up…

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  53. mattb says:

    Jan,

    In all seriousness, could you perhaps give your rational for why Michelle Bachmann — if elected president — would be different than, say, George W. Bush?

    So, Bachmann, though she is extremely provocative, is representing the other side of the coin for what we currently have as a President.

    Actually, that isn’t quite true. Generally speaking Obama did a lot of work to distance himself from those “radical leftists” — going so far as to, as at least one Right Wing Commentator put it, through his own pastor under the bus.

    For better or worse, Bachmann tends to double down on her support for past associates — like John Eidsmore:

    Eidsmoe has stirred controversy. In 2005, he spoke at the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a defiantly pro-white, and anti-black, organization. (Eidsmoe says that he deeply despises racism, but that he will speak “to anyone.”) In Alabama last year, he addressed an event commemorating Secession Day and told an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.” In April, 2010, he was disinvited from a Tea Party rally in Wausau, Wisconsin, because of these statements and appearances.

    Bachmann has not, however, distanced herself, and she has long described her work for Eidsmoe as an important part of her résumé. This spring, she told a church audience in Iowa, “I went down to Oral Roberts University, and one of the professors that had a great influence on me was an Iowan named John Eidsmoe. He’s from Iowa, and he’s a wonderful man. He has theology degrees, he has law degrees, he’s absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects of our godly heritage.”

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/15/110815fa_fact_lizza#ixzz1UYujSovS

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  54. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @jan:

    Seeing all the Bachmann negativity here, I thought I would ligh[t]en it up a bit with this:

    Boy, I was hoping that you were really for real going to lighten it up instead of being snide. So much for that.

    IMO, much of the contempt for her is generated by the secular left. Religion for them is like shinning sunlight on a vampire.

    This is the kind of mischaracterization that a partisan religious zealot makes. Atheists don’t desire to see religion eradicated–an improbable and unrealistic desire anyway. Atheists merely want religion to stay personal and private. I think one can more than make the case that religion plays way too much a role in politics. To see this confirmed, merely look at all the Republican candidates bending over backwards to sign religious pledges or having prayer “meetings,” etc. Would you seriously try to argue this is not the case?

    Much like the rapacious efforts of the ACLA to erradicate every cross in the nation, the left is determined to fight having any person ardently involved in their religion from accessing higher office …an exception, though, might be made for a Muslim.

    Again, another mischaracterization only someone deep in the well could make. You are making no attempt to be fair to your opponents here. In any event, why would atheists, who apparently wish to eradicate religion, make an exception for a Muslim? You can’t have it both ways, Jan.

    Here there is much talk about what Bachmann reads, inferring her beliefs might be too off base and ‘extreme.’

    We don’t have to read to know that she is extreme–her own words reveal her for what she is: an extreme right-wing theocratic conservative who holds views not representative of most of this country. The dog whistle isn’t only heard by dogs.

    However, when Obama ran for office why was it copasetic of him to have so many leftist/socialist even former ‘terrorists’ among his associations in the not too distant past. The right screamed about them. But, the progressives were either silent or supportive.

    That’s because most of these associations that the right wing screamed about were tenuous at best and hardly formative in any substantive way. Besides, people who are “on the left” generally hang out with people who are… on the left. Nothing surprising there. Bachmann’s views, however, by her own admission, are deeply informed by right-wing and religious theories–theories, by the way, rejected by most of the civilized world.

    So, Bachmann, though she is extremely provocative, is representing the other side of the coin for what we currently have as a President…. And, as for ‘extremism,’ she is equal to Obama on that front as well, just a different type, that’s all.

    This is a ridiculous characterization and comparison, and I think you know it. Someone who is “provocative” at least makes you think about whether or not your own beliefs are right. Bachmann does not make people think; she only provokes visceral reactions in people. Furthermore, there is nothing in Obama’s background, education, or actions and words that make him out to be anything more than what he is, namely, a centrist Democrat who infuriatingly goes out of his way to appease the Right.

    Bachmann’s background, education, and actions and words, however, clearly show that she is a product of 50 years of rightwing (and religious) propaganda and paranoia. Again, her own words demonstrate that.

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  55. @michael reynolds:

    Not “others.” Ideologues, people who pretend to debate but just restate talking points, people whose minds are closed, and of course I really have a hard-on for bigots.

    But Jan isn’t a ideologue. I’m an ideologue; Jan is a partisan.

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  56. mattb says:

    Stormy, can you unpack? I think I see the difference you are drawing but I’d prefer to get your definitions.

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  57. @mattb:

    To be an ideologue, you have to have an ideology; that is “(1) a complete set of ideas, (2) belonging to a coherent group, (3) about the structure of forces in society, about the existing mechanisms of economic distribution, (4) conflicts in society, and means to improve the present status”.

    People like Jan are just blindly loyal to a particular group and say whatever it is they think they need to say to advance the interests of that group. Today she may be at war with Eastasia. Tomorrow, who knows?

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  58. jan says:

    @Eric the OTB Lurker:

    Eric, albeit a well written indictment to my post, it is over-stated as to what I wrote. I describe a “secular left” and you go on about a partisan religious zealot and defend “atheists.”
    People who are secular, don’t have a connection with church. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a connection with God, unlike an atheist. For instance, I consider myself a secular in that I infrequently go to church. However, I believe in and have a high regard for God.

    That’s because most of these associations that the right wing screamed about were tenuous at best and hardly formative in any substantive way. Besides, people who are “on the left” generally hang out with people who are… on the left.

    Obama’s associations were far from tenuous. He was mentored by Frank Marshall Davis, a Stalinist agent, as a youth. For twenty years he attended a church with Rev Wright fomenting leftist/racist sermons. And, he was socially, politically and professionally connected with Bill Ayers of the notorious Weatherman infamy. He didn’t just ‘hang out,’ but was totally immersed in the radical left movement and environment. How you can even equate Bachmann’s conservative past, religious leanings and collaborations to Obama’s! Asserting her’s to be more radical (on the right) is just ridiculous and/or myopic. And, all of the above associations listed (and there are more), about Obama’s background being too benign as to make him anything but a centrist, shows such a statement to be absurd.

    Bachmann’s background, education, and actions and words, however, clearly show that she is a product of 50 years of rightwing (and religious) propaganda and paranoia. Again, her own words demonstrate that.

    A sampling of her background: born a Norwegian Lutheran democrat; raised by a single mother until a teen; worked in a Kibbutz in Israel; got a B.A. from Winona State U.; Studied at O.W. Coburn School of Law, where she became the (now controversial) assistant for John Eidsmoe; got a tax law degree and worked 5 years for the IRS; had 5 children along with 23 foster children; had a Christian Counseling service with her husband; served in the Minn State Senate and now the U.S. House.

    Like Obama’s background is littered with leftist associations, so is Bachmann’s with her Christian involvements. To insist, though, that Obama’s past is just fine, while Bachmann’s is an extremist worthy of excoriation, to me, is not being fair-minded. They each have social tendencies which one side or the other tends to take issue with. Neither are ‘neutral’ personalities. But, if you accept one, then it seems hypocritical not to accept the other as being at least a viable candidate. You aren’t required to vote for her. And, I’m not going to vote for her. But, I support her abilities and being qualified to compete for the position, just as Obama had the opportunity to do so.

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  59. jan says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    People like Jan are just blindly loyal to a particular group and say whatever it is they think they need to say to advance the interests of that group. Today she may be at war with Eastasia. Tomorrow, who knows?

    The loyalty you are talking about basically describes the majority on this blog. Without missing a beat, most of you are like Rush Limbaugh “dittoheads” in how you agree with points each of you intellectually makes. Of course his dittoheads are rightwingers and yours’ are leftwingers. But, the homogeneous nature of your progressive-speak is strikingly similar to what Limbaugh’s is at the opposite end of the political continuum.

    Sure, I’m an anachronism on this blog because I, and a few others, bring up a different POV, which actually spices up an otherwise straight-line progressive dialogue. With people like me, though, you can aim your ideological arrows, slinging whatever strikes your fancy, afterwards feeling pompously reassured that you have properly disassembled a restive, out-of-sync soul from yourselves.

    However, it’s been a fascinating experience participating in such a closed, yet high-minded cyber environment. Yes, I am fiscally in the conservative camp, and will definitely vote that way in 2012, because that is currently the #1 issue for me. However, my social/ cultural and philosophical bents are blended, fitting no current conventional ideology. Because of that, I have to laugh as here I am a “republican operative,” and in ultra right mediums I am referred to as a “democratic operative.”

    The reason for that is I see problems with the left having fiscal immaturity saturated in magical thinking, and the right being bound in social handcuffs. However, there are more and more who think as I do, having a mixture of right/left ideas, which accounts for indies becoming an unnamed but competitive 3rd party out there in the weeds, ultimately weighing in heavily on who wins elections. Therefore, I have no desire to be in the progressive political rut many of you reside in, as ruts soon become self-committed holes. And, the deeper each side sinks down, the harder it is to peep above the edge and even dare consider an alternative or another perspective, other than your own and those who are stuck with you.

    Also, it’s not hard to figure out why DC is in such a mess and can’t compromise on anything. Just look at how the leftist majority on this blog tolerates few if any opinions outside of the progressive perimeters of thought.

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  60. An Interested Party says:

    He didn’t just ‘hang out,’ but was totally immersed in the radical left movement and environment.

    Indeed! He’s the Manchurian Candidate! Are you scared yet?

    But, if you accept one, then it seems hypocritical not to accept the other as being at least a viable candidate.

    You are slightly confused, my dear…I’m sure there are plenty of Democrats who would love for Bachmann to secure the GOP presidential nomination…to them, that would be the gift that kept on giving…

    …and in ultra right mediums I am referred to as a “democratic operative.”

    What have you ever written that would cause anyone to accuse you of that?

    The reason for that is I see problems with the left having fiscal immaturity saturated in magical thinking…

    Oh yes, because the right’s idea of tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts is just so much more mature and free of magical thinking…please…

    Also, it’s not hard to figure out why DC is in such a mess and can’t compromise on anything. Just look at how the leftist majority on this blog tolerates few if any opinions outside of the progressive perimeters of thought.

    Hahahahahahahaha…keep the jokes coming, dear…that is extremely amusing, considering the “teas” who you seem to support have no clue about compromise and helped the country almost come to default because of their hard-line position…no wonder Stormy Dragon made a 1984 reference…

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  61. Scott O. says:

    @jan:

    Yes, I am fiscally in the conservative camp

    Me too. That’s why I vote for Democrats. They’re far from perfect in that area but better than the alternative. Were you paying any attention to politics during Bush’s terms?

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  62. @jan:

    Without missing a beat, most of you are like Rush Limbaugh “dittoheads” in how you agree with points each of you intellectually makes.

    But I don’t agree with most of the commenters on this blog.

    That’s what makes you a partisan: your judgement of me has nothing to do with anything I’ve actually said. All that matters is I’m not a loyal member of your tribe, so I must be a member of the enemy’s tribe.

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  63. @An Interested Party:

    no wonder Stormy Dragon made a 1984 reference…

    The ironic part here is that the 1984 reference was prompted by a essay on the book I read a number of years back arguing that it shouldn’t be seen as a literal description of how a totalitarian dictatorship will work, but as a metaphorical discussion of the things people mentally do to themselves in the name of party politics in modern democratic states.

    That essay profoundly changed the way I interpret what goes in national politics. The reason I say ironic is that Jan would probably be suprised to find out the place I read that essay was The National Review.

    Of course, back then The National Review had things to say that were worth listening to.

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  64. mattb says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That’s what I thought. In my line of work “Ideology” is used a bit differently.

    And speaking of partisanism… @jan:

    Like Obama’s background is littered with leftist associations, so is Bachmann’s with her Christian involvements. To insist, though, that Obama’s past is just fine, while Bachmann’s is an extremist worthy of excoriation, to me, is not being fair-minded. They each have social tendencies which one side or the other tends to take issue with. Neither are ‘neutral’ personalities. But, if you accept one, then it seems hypocritical not to accept the other as being at least a viable candidate.

    Bachmann is — without a doubt — a viable candidate. I’m pretty sure that has never been in question. As for these “questions” about her background and associations — as you correctly bring up, Obama was put through a wringer as to his past associations (and citizenship). And it is completely the perview of partisans to suggest that those associations do/don’t matter. Ultimately the choice is left to the electorate.

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  65. mattb says:

    Jan,

    However, my social/ cultural and philosophical bents are blended, fitting no current conventional ideology. Because of that, I have to laugh as here I am a “republican operative,” and in ultra right mediums I am referred to as a “democratic operative.”

    I’d love to see the “unconventional side” of you… could you possible provide a link to a few of the forum posts that you have mentioned? That might help us understand the non-talk radio talking points version of you.

    With people like me, though, you can aim your ideological arrows, slinging whatever strikes your fancy, afterwards feeling pompously reassured that you have properly disassembled a restive, out-of-sync soul from yourselves.

    Jan, for me at least, the issue isn’t that you’re conservative — or have a different viewpoint. The fact is that we have a number of conservative posters on this site who I appreciate (Boyd and PD are both examples). Heck, even Jay Tea has his good days.

    The issue I have with you is three part…

    First, I have yet to see you demonstrate any sign that you are interested in a discussion and a broadening of your views. Largely your posts seem to be trying to prove your point of view and score points against the other party.

    The second issue that I have is that, to date, your posts display a hyper partisanship — Conservative/Republican = Good, Liberal/Democrat/RiNO = Bad, Obama = Radical Socialist, Tea Party = Our last hope to restore the US — that doesn’t match reality. In other words, you’ve yet to do anything but represent the voice of “talk radio.”

    Further, as in the case with your quoting of the Rasmussen poll, at times you have such HUGE blinders that you miss the fact that it didn’t support your larger argument. And when that gets pointed out to you, rather than admitting to the mistake, you double down on your argument and accuse those who pointed out the mistake of being the ones who are wrong. And then you just disappear from the thread entirely.

    A number of us “so called” liberals have actually admitted to being wrong on threads (I’ve done so a number of times). That’s the first step towards having a discussion. If you were to do that (try to have discussions versus just proving your side right) then you might get a different reception here.

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  66. Catfish says:

    what does any of this have to do with jobs and the high unemployment rate?

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  67. WR says:

    @jan: Your lovely little encomium to your own moderateness would have been a little more convincing if you hadn’t spent weeks here cutting and pasting from some of the most ideologically rigid hard right sites like Red State. Why are you so desperate to pretend to be something you aren’t? I mean, it’s got to be hard to maintain the persona of a former Democrat chased out of the party by nasty leftists who nows lives both in the midwest and California, depending on what RNC talking point you choose to emphasize.

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  68. Bruce says:

    Maybe you’ll want to place a twitter icon to your website. I just bookmarked the url, but I had to do this by hand. Simply my $.02 :)

    My blog:
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  69. Phil says:

    @Jeff: Denounce the bad bits then. If you endorse or recommend something you ought to know what is in the text. So I could endorse Hitler if I liked the autobahns?

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