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What keeps me up at night is that maybe I haven't explained this the right way. In all the years I've been here, and during the relatively short time I've been doing these regular Bachmann updates...maybe I haven't explained it "the right way," explained why this is so important.

The short answer: I think I may have left out something in all of the tens of thousands of words I've written on this subject. I may have left out my personal belief that there's about a sixty per cent chance that America is going to go "more the way Michele Bachmann wants it to go" than the way that progressive or liberals want it to go and that this is going to happen in my lifetime.

Yeah: that's what I really think, right now; this summer. The craziest, most irrational tradition in modern American politics could really end up dominating American government. Not just "as bad as the Bush years," worse than that. An unapologetically crazy and irrational worldview, with pre-Enlightenment standards for knowledge and wisdom--dominating American politics and media.

I'm calling this a "Bachmann Update," so my very small group of readers will recognize the header--but this one is really more of a "Bachmann Update" update. That's your warning, for what follows...

Sometimes people do write in and say--why regular updates on this particular nut? It doesn't happens so much anymore. Most of the regular readers either:
--get why this political phenomenon is so important, or
--at least tolerate the regular Bachmann updates simply because she is "news" and "hot copy."

But it does worry me that there may be a better way of explaining why this political phenomenon is worthy of regular attention on the Kos and elsewhere. It worries me that maybe there's a better way to explain why this is so important, and that I've never figured out that "better way."

Tonight I realized my wife (who has to read what I write on the internet, it's in the pre-nup) didn't understand that I really did believe that it was a definite possibility, maybe even a slight probability, that the people who back Bachmann might really get into power. She didn't understand that I really do believe they might really "win": govern and make law for the rest of us, determine the course of daily domestic and foreign policy of the US and thus much of the rest of the world.

That's their aim; the aim of "the people who back Bachmann." And by the "people who back Bachmann," I don't mean the rank-and-file Republican supporters, the tea party true believers who show up at the rallies, or even the national conservative talk radio audience. I mean a small political elite composed of the leadership of the religious right, the conservative media owners, the right wing of the business and media communities. It's actually a very small number of people; it's not the millions who would like to see someone like Michele Bachmann become president or lead the Congress.

Yeah, I really do believe that that numerically small number of people and interests could come to dominate American government, and change it fundamentally...change the terms of public discourse, limit the parameters of "what is politically possible in the US," rewrite history and American political premises in their own interests.

Bachmann is a symptom of what has become a chronic political cancer in the US: the marriage of American conservatism to sectarian religious belief guided by a national conservative evangelical political hierarchy...conflating the idea of "true Christianity" with a conservative agenda. And I believe (this summer) that they have a better than fifty-fifty chance of dominating the government and making fundamental changes to the way Americans think about government and democracy.

All that stuff: "Judaeo-Christian religious authority as the real and ultimate premise of American government and legitimate authority." "A predominant worldview that demonizes other opinions as anti-American." "Beliefs about the supernatural as the final test for what constitutes facts and knowledge." "A new American political and social hierarchy with a "top" including people who dominate on the basis of their status as the representatives of the supernatural." I believe that that has a good chance of becoming a reality in my lifetime.

I don't believe that if that does happen, it's going to happen all at once. I've observed that the people that I'm referring to are what another diarist tonight called "incrementalists." They can wait; they have been waiting for decades. Right now they're waiting for Dem fails at the polls this fall; if that happens to a significant degree you and I will see "that nut" Bachmann as ideological leader in a newly constituted US Congress.

This is a strategy that has been played out over decades. Back in the seventies and eighties, the leaders of this movement began to encourage proteges to run for local offices (school boards, local government, etc.) Some of those candidates went on to run for state or federal offices, with middling success at first. But in the last two decades it's succeeded fairly regularly.

They don't campaign as "evangelical conservative" candidates, they tend to campaign under the Republican brand after capturing local Republican political units. The "stealth" aspect of the candidacies--proceeding under another brand (Republican) rather than telling voters what your real agenda is--is a tactic inherited from John Birch Society, an antecedent movement that played a key role in the modern evangelical political machine. They kept to these strategies of acquiring media, stealth candidacies, building the political action arms of the movement over decades--and so their proteges and and local support groups came to be players in districts where evangelical conservatives were significant.

And now, decades later--many of their candidates are in office, GOP figures who are positioned...positioned to take over in event of Dem fails in office. (And these protege candidates are not all blatant demagogues and haters like Bachmann; hardly any of them get or even court the media spotlight the way Bachmann does.)

The worldview that holds the strategy together is a weird mix of generalized right wing paranoia, a John Birch Society conspiratorial view of Washington DC, white anxiety, midwestern, western and southern political resentment, and a pseudo-Biblical Manicheanism that's peculiar to and chronic in their supporters.

It's the worst in the American political tradition, and it was supposed to be dead after Goldwater was trounced in the 1964 presidential election. It's not dead, it didn't get sent to the knackers "again" when Barack Obama was elected. It never completely goes away; it's been a chronic feature of American political history since the Ku Klux Klan was viable political force in American elections during the 1920s.

The particular style and the details of the paranoid rhetoric change (for example, in this generation "overt" expressions of hatred against African-Americans, Jews, immigrants, Catholics, etc. are "out," officially renounced by this incarnation of the movement and its politicians.) But the essence of this paranoid style is still there: "America is a Christian nation, the stuff the liberals represent is un-American, the people who disagree with us persecute us and have taken over America, they're an evil cabal of people who want to end freedom and enslave us, the nation really belongs to us, we are being crucified and we are the real Americans, not the tens of millions of Americans who disagree with us."

Michele Bachmann is a figurehead for that crazy paranoid worldview, which (like the Klan of the 20s) co-opts the brand of Christianity. And: as powerful as the Klan of the 20s was, this incarnation is far more powerful today. It has its own national media, its own airwaves, its own GOTV organizations. (A New Yorker article on Mike Huckabee last week parenthetically acknowledges something that Republicans have known for more than a decade: there is now a de facto conservative "evangelical" primary within the Republican national primary. When I started writing about Bachmann, journalists didn't even use the word "evangelical" to describe the movement--they were "the Christian right." (That's actually an insult to Christians outside the movement--as if the right wing views of the  movement were really the "biblical views," "the truly Christian views." Certainly some evangelicals complained of this; but where was their national media chain, where were their lobbyists, their political players with tens of millions of votes at their backs?)

It's still a de facto two party market in national politics. If the movement that I'm talking about dominates one of the two brands--and the relatively sane brand fails at the polls--the movement I'm talking about gets in. And the terms of the American political debate begin to change, because the movement I'm talking about begins to rewrite American law, procedural rules, even history--to reflect the craziness I've mentioned above. Their view of law is similar to that of Bush Attorney General Gonzales: law is something that people in power can use to discourage and suppress political opposition.

Even with minority status, their sympathetic media can stop progressive initiatives. And they know that time operates in their favor because Democrats, progressive and liberals divide, even as they have been taught to cohere.

I thought I was making all of the above clear by regularly using the word "proto-fascist" to describe the movement and its tens of millions of fans. But maybe I've never been clear enough. I keep mentioning an organization called the Council for National Policy, an organization that most Americans have never even heard of. (I'd even bet that most of the conservative evangelical voters who support the organization's political agenda have never heard of it. That's intentional.) I write about Bachmann regularly because she's one of the most visible symptoms of an enduring American political cancer. It's on the move, it's behind the conservative political views and politicians that most of you detest and fear--and it's positioned, this election cycle.

People don't have to make up a "boogey man" to scare progressives into working to keep the government out to the hands of conservatives and Republicans next year. There's a real threat; it's the one I'm writing about in these updates--and if you think it's just Michele Bachmann, you're not paying attention to what you need to know. It's a very real, very organized, very determined political movement that wants to govern and fundamentally transform the United States into something far worse than most people can even imagine.

Originally posted to Bill Prendergast on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:40 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this is why I "sacrifice" my time to GOTV (15+ / 0-)

    against my "better judgement."

    It's a very real, very organized, very determined political movement that wants to govern and fundamentally transform the United States into something far worse than most people can even imagine.

    thank you for the necessary reminder.

  •  this should be on rec list (14+ / 0-)

    tipped and rec'd. awesome diary.

  •  Is it possible under 'Regressive Incrementalism'? (15+ / 0-)

    ahumbleopinion wrote about it.

    Puzzling how the Regressive just keep moving ahead in spite of all the shit they pull off.

    A relatively short diary posted yesterday, which has few comments, follows up on what another Diarist wrote and makes some good observations.

    In a diary yesterday, One Pissed Off Liberal lamented the disastrous results of "Forty Years of Corruption and 'Conservatism'"  I don't think anyone would disagree with that assessment,

    but it did cause me to think about how they had managed to pull it off.

    Republicans - Masters of Incrementalism
    Jul 5, 2010 ... After forty years of Republican propaganda saturating the media and the political sound machine, it looks like incrementalism has been a pretty good strategy for them and I don't think throwing a few "Hail Marys" into the end zone will be very effective against their massive ground game.

  •  now that i am officially nauseaus, (15+ / 0-)

    i'm going to bookmark this and re-read it again tomorrow.

    after spending fruitless hours fighting to get people in the nyceve toenail diary to realize the real threat to progressive values - exactly what you so succinctly outlined - i am exhausted.

    tomorrow (or, rather, later today) i'll join you again and ask you what in the name of america can we DO to stop this cancer?

    this nation is in serious trouble.  when the u.s.s.r. collapsed years ago and people all around me were celebrating, i was sitting in a corner going "UH oh!"

    we are not immune - and when movements like the tea party "suddenly" emerge wearing the same ol' faces we've seen for decades with the same money backers, and the democrats and progressives are unalarmed, i am afraid.

    tomorrow, my friend - we need to talk - all of us need to talk! and we need do it quickly.  we have less than 4 months.

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 02:15:12 AM PDT

  •  A little question... (8+ / 0-)

    As I was reading this, I thought about Bachmann and wondered if she understands exactly what you're saying.  Does she know that she is merely a tool or does she really believe that she is THE answer?  I have no doubt that she believes the crazy things she says and that much of it is fed and fostered by the few you point out as head of this movement.  Does she understand that or is she just a convenient vehicle to move their agenda forward?

    I'm not saying this very well, but I hope you get my drift...

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 02:26:33 AM PDT

    •  She's a true believer, (7+ / 0-)

      and that's what makes her the most dangerous.

      Don't let the facts hit your narrative in the butt on the way out -- Rachel Maddow

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 04:19:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's a combination of both (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Ginny in CO

      ...I think she is a true believer. I can show you that she hides her own true believer beliefs when it's politically advantageous to do so. I'm also certain that she knows that she is telling lies when she's telling them.

      My opinion is that she understands she is "a vehicle for moving the agenda of this elite forward.) My guess is that she sees herself on a mission from God, and as part of a Godly cause organized by other people. And I believe that, like the early persecuted Christians or the Jesuits of the Counter-Reformation or the Communists of the twentieth century or the John Birch Society of the fifties and sixties--she thinks that it is acceptable and necessary to deceive people on the grand scale in pursuit of a greater "holy goal."

      I also think that she's a narcissist and has something I think they call "histrionic personality disorder"--but at the same time I think she's a true believer, sees herself as an agent of a "organized, secretive, truly Christian movement to save America."

      I believe she thinks that people outside the movement are the unwitting agents of Satan and his conspiracy against man. She's rarely said anything like that in public, but I think that is also a part of her personal belief system. (e.g. we have her on tape talking about homosexuality as a kind of mental disorder and saying "I think it is a part of Satan to say that this is "gay." That's an indicator (to me) of the way that she thinks about anyone who would oppose or significantly disagree with the movement she represents.)

  •  This "change the terms of public discourse" (8+ / 0-)

    has already happened.

    Meanwhile, this...

    "America is a Christian nation, the stuff the liberals represent is un-American, the people who disagree with us persecute us and have taken over America, they're an evil cabal of people who want to end freedom and enslave us, the nation really belongs to us, we are being crucified and we are the real Americans, not the tens of millions of Americans who disagree with us." so good it bears repeating, everywhere and anywhere.

    Thanks for the fodder--and the warning.

  •  As much as I like your Updates (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, amk for obama

    I really do think you have misdiagnosed the way things are headed.  If anything, Reagan's center right coalition drove itself and this country into a ditch.   Because the insane wing of the Republican party --as called by Reagan himself and exemplified by Bachman -- has finally reduced the GOPs ability to not only put up electable candidates, but govern.

    Nope.  Now is our time. Obama and Pelosi and Reid are forging a new domestic hegemony, a center left coalition that will dominate our politics for a generation or two.

    •  Id like to believe that optimism is justified (8+ / 0-)

      but way too many Americans are angry (without even knowing why), distracted, ignorant, and obsessed with trivialities. In the 30s, many in Weimer (including many Jews) didnt believe either that such an unimpressive bunch of louts and knuckle draggers could really capture power in one of the most sophisticated societies in the world.

      •  Ha! According to Goodwin's Law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross, RenMin

        the first person to bring up the Nazi's loose.  

        Anyhoos, it is not from an optimistic outlook that a draw my conclusions, but rather a study of history and current events.

        Be that as it may, I should think that a neutral observer would be far more likely to characterize your position as unduly pessimistic, rather than mine as optimistic.

        But one thing is for certain: within a few short years, we will know who is right and who is not.   I urge you to remember this interchange

      •  So true. Some Jews refused to leave (0+ / 0-)

        when more aware relatives begged them to because they believed that those warning them were absurd to think the advanced, highly civilized Germans could do awful things. Then when it became apparent they couldn't get out.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I'm asking you to believe in yours. Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:38:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I passionately hope you're right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But glumly fear that you are wrong.  While the cultural wars appear to be winding down with modest but real victories for our side, it seems to me that the political power war is going toward the dark side.

      Dude, your statistical average, which was already in the toilet, just took a plunge into the Earth's mantle. ~ iampunha

      by ETF on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 08:28:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish I were this sanguine (0+ / 0-)

      What you say is how it "should" be -- but doesn't seem to be how it is.

      "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

      by RenMin on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 09:20:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You already know that I hope you are right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Ginny in CO

      and that I am wrong. Some commenters, prior to Obama's election, assured me of what you're assuring us here: that a progressive or at least "center-left" coalition would dominate for decades to come--because that's what the American people "really" want.

      That's what I've hoped for since Reagan: an anti-conservative hegemony in American government that stopped the divisive McCarthy type crap that's come to dominate the GOP. There's a real possibility that that could still happen, if the voters and their families start to see tangible benefits from keeping Republicans out: the real blessings of health care reform, low unemployment, rise in home ownership, confidence in national security...a general perception that life is better, now.

      But I'm nowhere near as certain as you are that what we hope for, is going to happen. I explained why I fear the movement behind Bachmann: here's "the Dem fail" that I fear, the one that might allow this crazy incarnation of the GOP to get in...

      1. The oil spill. I don't recall the nation feeling so generally depressed and powerless since the days of the Iran hostage crisis during the Carter admin. The public "just wants it to go away, they want the pony or the magic wand," and they're not going to get one. I'm pretty sure they understand that the spill is not "the fault" of Obama and the Dems, but they are depressed at the thought that the leadership hasn't figured this one out yet.
      1. This summer's unemployment numbers. Way too high, and after a stimulus bill. Rule of thumb in American politics: if there are high unemployment numbers in "your district" with an election coming up--you're vulnerable and the opposition's got an edge.
      1. This one's purely paranoid theory on my part, but I think the calls for Michael Steele to resign are a sign that the GOP is in fact certain that's it's going to pick up significant seats in November.

      All the parties say that, but I think the GOP leadership really does believe it based on their pro research.

      Because if they were sure they were already washed up, they'd keep Steele on as a "fall guy" to take the blame for a fail. They wouldn't be fighting each other to be the replacement for him--if they thought that they were going to be the fall guy this year.

      The last one is just a "sign," a political "weather vane." It's the first two that concern me; the oil spill and the unemployment figures.

      You seem to think the last election and the legislation this year was transformative...I don't see that, yet. In my opinion, most elections aren't transformative and the results are driven by particular conditions on the ground at the time of the voting. So I still say: sixty per cent chance that government can go Michele Bachmann's way, in event of a Dem fail this fall.

      •  Thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay (0+ / 0-)

        I suppose the difference between you and I may be result of training as much as temperament.  That is to say, I take a historical and not a political view of current events. And there are aspects of American history that have led me to conclude as I have.

        First, the long term trends in demographics favor Democrats.  The Republicans have been fighting this "browning of America"  for decades and explains a lot of their success and failures during the 1960s onward.  Now, they are stuck in a corner created by their own success at cornering the white male vote by pandering to white male privilege.  Where they can go from here I just don't see.
        While they may, of course, be able to dominate local politics by putting up such people as Bachman, as a national party they are finished for a generation.

        Now, the implosion of the Republicans by pandering to the insane wing of the social conservatives happened much more precipitously than I would have guessed.  Primarily because, quite simply, I would not have predicted that the other two legs of the tripod that supported the Republican hold on power (security hawks and Big Money) completely skrewed the pooch (with Iraq and the Meltdown).

        And I think it quite clear to most Americans who is to blame for our current problems.  Simply put, they don't really care what the Republicans say because they have tuned them out.  And rightfully so.  

        Your basic premise that because people are angry and will blame the incumbent party is actually contradicted by what happened during the Great Depression.  People voted Dem and continued to vote Dem even though things did not improve.  

      •  Bill, Steele is not going anywhere (0+ / 0-)

        the powers that be think it's more disruptive to replace him now than keep him till January.

        Are you aware that Bachman's husband does "reparative therapy" for gays? In my book that means that he is a suppressed gay. Which means Michelle is in a very sick relationship at home.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I'm asking you to believe in yours. Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:47:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone who does not believe this is true (10+ / 0-)

    should read "The Family." These people are scary and they are in our government now. They are also, imo, not Christian in any way that Jesus would recognize.

    •  I believe the term as used during (4+ / 0-)

      the last 30 or so years, is Dominionists.  Which also highlights why grifters like Palin and Beck operate like old time televangelists and faith healers.

      Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

      by nargel on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 08:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In "The Family" Sharlet compares their beliefs to (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nargel, vcmvo2, Hirodog, Bill Prendergast

        the dominionists (pp 44) but they are a separate group with some really effective tactics and different goals. Palin, Bachman and Beck may be influenced or followers of the dominionist theology. The Family uses any of the evangelicals or fundamendalists to advance their agenda - without really explaining it to their puppets.

        Bill, I think this aspect of the crises that face us has not gotten enough attention - especially recently. A year ago Rachel Maddow had Sharlet on her show quite a bit. Haven't heard much recently. (I don't get a chance to watch it regularly.)

        The only thing that comes close is the situation unfolding in Colorado Springs. The city has been referred to as a Mecca for the religious right - Dobson has his own zip code there. The city has gone with all of the conservative fiscal strategies to the point where they are now leading the country in the extent of cutbacks from lack of revenue. Street lights have been turned off and the city parks are not being maintained - residents have been asked to mow and remove trash. The city swimming pools are not open, the bus service has been stopped after 6 pm and the yellow cabbies are acting as cop assistants to report possible crimes. The only recourse you have if your home is burglarized is to leave a report on a voicemail which results in a written report but no investigation.

        I think the elections could go either way. A lot of it will depend on whether the Left gets over itself and goes out to convince other liberals and independents that we ARE getting stuff done, that not voting will just make us more vulnerable. The axe hanging over that is how much Citizens United influences the whole system. I am hoping for a backfire.

        Too much sanity may be madness. The maddest of all is to see the world as it is and not as it should be. Don Quixote "Man of La Mancha"

        by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 09:46:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Useful information. While I knew that the (0+ / 0-)

          Family was Dominionist in nature, I wasn't aware that the split was that large.

          "convince other liberals and independents that we ARE getting stuff done"?  That is easier to do when stuff is publicly and strongly actually being done in the first place.  For example, starting your discussions (bargains) at the mid point, giving up all or almost all of your key points in order to get 'bipartisanship' that never happens at vote time.  Passing unemployment 'extensions' that extend nothing for Tier 4 types and last, what, a couple of months?  I'll mention Public Options that should have been, at least, the start of the bargaining rather than off the table before that.  I could go on at length but you get the idea.  I will not argue "better than McCain", that is a very low bar.  I'm arguing based on Obama benchmarks and simple logic.

          Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

          by nargel on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:07:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of people have listed the big (0+ / 0-)

            but not always seen changes going on.

            You bought the propaganda that the PO was a) the panacea to the HC systematic problems, b) that the HC bill wasn't designed to make radical change that will help (it was — and now that Berwick is in we will see some action), and c) that it was off the table. It wasn't Not until Reid tried to force it thru the Senate where it badly misfired.

            And if Obama hadn't courted "bipartisanship" we would not have gotten the stimulus bill at all OR Specter to come over and thus get any sort of health care bill at all.

            Or the budget bills — which allowed for reconciliation as well as other good things.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... I'm asking you to believe in yours. Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:59:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Insulting people is not the way to persuade (0+ / 0-)

              them to your viewpoint.  You can call it 'bought the propaganda' all you want;I see it as using my own intelligence to make a value judgment.  I've been watching the political landscape and been making public judgment calls, correctly, since the early '60s and my track record is pretty good (unfortunately) so I think I'll stand with my take on things.

              Reconciliation?  You mean the once a year option that doesn't fix the filibuster mess?

              Torture is for the weak. After all, it is just extended wheedling.

              by nargel on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:44:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm equally as pessimistic as you, Bill, (4+ / 0-)

    and as you say, the republican party has laid a groundwork for extremism reaching back for decades.  At its least subtle, the John Birch Society was purged by Bill Buckley and the saner conservatives but the flame of craziness kept burning.  Rather than dying out because of lack of interest, the evangelical movement gained traction with those who believed themselves oppressed.

    I do see the encroachment of the religous right on all sectors of our local, state and national government but do believe that those who do attain public office are rarely able to hold their positions once their agendas are revealed.  Bachmann is exposed almost daily and will eventually be outsted by her own party, IMO.

    This is about corruption, bribery and extortion which we are seeing in stark relief through the passage of weakened Dem reform bills, naked greed exposed as an apology to BP and the manipulation of voters by promises of a Christian America.

    My only optimistic view comes from the fact that corrupted politicians continually want more which creates the need to eliminate those who compete with them.

    Please continue to post Bachmann Updates, Bill.

    If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

    by msmacgyver on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 05:01:40 AM PDT

  •  ...and it won't end until Armageddon (4+ / 0-)

    The "side effect" of these Christianists is to bring about the "end of the world", in their vision.  You can see the seeds of it in Palin's "foreign policy" manifesto, recently posted to Facebook.  Her goal is to so provoke the rest of the world that it responds in kind.  This would hasten Armageddon - not the "real" kind foretold in fantasy fiction, but one deliberately brought about by Christianists.  Put the likes of Bachmann in charge, and the world ends.  Which is very much to their liking - their doctrine is that if they can't have this world to their liking, then no one will.  Our very own form of domestic abuse.  Too bad we can't take out a restraining order against them...

  •  Republican Gomorrah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill Prendergast, jlms qkw

    by Max Blumenthal is even better (more detailed) than The Family.  It will be out in paperback soon, if not already.  Its an excellent guide to the Radicals now in control of the GOP

    •  I agree that Republican Gomorrah is better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA Berkeley WV

      than the Family. I only recommend three books on this phenomenon to interested people, and RepGom is one of them.

      The other two are:
      -- Michele Goldberg's "Kingdom Coming," which has a parenthetical history of the relationship between the "modern religious right" and the old John Birch Society.
      --Kevin Phillip's book on the development and operations of the religious right ("American Theocracy," 2006.)

      When I started out writing about Bachmann, there were hundreds of pieces and many books on the religious right, some receiving very good reviews. None of them drew attention to the national organization and its membership and methods of operation. That's only begun to change in the last four years.

      Instead of buying more books, I suggest that you go to a chain bookstore and ask if they have copies. Look in the index and see if there is an entry on Council for National Policy.  There won't be an entry on Bachmann, but you can read a few pages about the national organization that created her career and the careers of would-be Bachmanns.

      I don't recommend The Family to people on this subject even though it's extremely well-written and helpful on "how the people in the movement operate." The reason I don't recommend it: no mention of the operations of the Council for National Policy in that book. It examines affiliate organizations without identifying "the effective leadership body." If the author missed that particular "gorilla in the elevator," I can't recommend the book.

  •  But They Divide As Well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, ETF

    As much as people like to talk about ponies and Obamabots or such nonsense, it's the right that has currently fractured. The establishment Republicans, the ones whose ideology boils down to money, know that they made a mistake lighting a fire under these Tea idiots. Now it's become a real movement of advocates for a bizarre form of purity that adheres to ideas that are not grounded in reality.

    Yes, I think there's a danger that a group of people on their left will all scrabble for the steering wheel while taking their eyes off the road but the danger of a division has already come to fruition for Republicans.

    The Modern GOP: A holy pwned subsidiary of the Tea Party.

    by The Lone Apple on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 05:33:37 AM PDT

    •  We're not talking about the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...even though what you say is true. Republicans and conservative do divide.

      But this is not a diary about "the Republicans and conservatives." This is a diary about a specific political machine that's existed for more than thirty years--it has never divided.

      And this is why I stay up at night--I have lot of trouble explaining the difference between "what I'm talking about here" and the people you're talking about in your comment.

      I'll try again. Even if you wanted to, you could go to a meeting of "all the Republicans and conservatives in the US." There are simply too many of those people to fit in a room or hall or even in a small city.

      But if you wanted to and were allowed access, you could go to a meeting of the people that I am writing about in this diary. It's probably no more than a few thousand people, their umbrella organization is currently called "The Council for National Policy." These are the people I'm writing about here, the people I say are positioned to take a large share of American government in event of a Democratic fail. These are the people who have been grooming stealth evangelical conservative candidates (like Michele Bachmann) for decades.

      That's where we're failing to communicate. I'm not talking about the relative amorphous "religious right" (though I am talking about its leadership.) I'm not talking about "Republicans and conservatives" (who do divide over agenda and strategy.)

      I'm talking about something else; a specific, low-profile hierarchy of unelected political powerbrokers. Most people don't know about it, but it's real and there is occasional coverage on it in the national news media. To get an idea of how powerful and real it is, try a google news search on "Council for National Policy" along with the name of any of the leading GOP candidates for the White House. (You could also try "Council for National Policy" and "George W. Bush" or "Dick Cheney.")

  •  My sympathies (6+ / 0-)

    for your wife...having to proof all of must have a good lawyer... :)

    It's not only her ideas but that she has people who actually vote for her AFTER they hear those ideas and that the media, while sneering and condescending towards her which probably actually helps with those who would support her, gives her a National platform without dissent, much of the time. Oh, they laugh and scoff but they don't take her seriously. They better.

  •  You aren't alone Bill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill Prendergast, RenMin, ETF

    Remember the feeling of election night? Could you believe we'd be at this place such a short time later? I'm very concerned about the mid-terms because of that enthusiasm gap. Can people really not remember who and how we got into this mess? Do they not really understand how the Republicans have blocked progress (sadly, sometimes with the help of a few Democrats)? Are Bachmann, Steve King, Louie Gohmert going to be joined by equally nutty Sharron Angle and Rand Paul?

    I'm afraid it's going to happen much sooner that we ever dreamed on election night.

  •  Who ever said that evolution only (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill Prendergast, jlms qkw, RenMin, ETF

    works in one direction?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 06:37:14 AM PDT

  •  I'm curious about Bachman's district (3+ / 0-)

    I know that she has generally won by close margins, but I am curious as to what it is about her district that people would vote for her. My understanding that in part it is the absence of competent media covering her, though that is true in a lot of places.

    Randian for me means "Prince Randian" from the 1930s horror classic Freaks and is not a reference to libertarianism.

    by Randian on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 07:42:02 AM PDT

    •  I have a "boilerplate" reply to your question (4+ / 0-)

      ...but I'm working on a different computer today and I can't give it to you today. (I live in Bachmann's district.)

      I'll give you a very short answer with no background or examples.

      1. Since the district boundaries were redrawn about ten years ago, the district is effectively "gerrymandered Republican." That means that any conservative Republican can win this seat. Once a conservative Republican gets the nomination, they are favored to win.
      1. Since that's so, how did Bachmann get the GOP nod to run in a district that's such a desirable race for a senior GOP candidate to run in? She got the nomination to run because she and only she had the solid backing of the evangelical conservatives. Denying "their Michele" the chance to get into Congress would have led to a backlash from the state's evangelical conservatives that would have hurt the state GOP generally.
      1. The geographic boundaries of the district include a concentration of real wingers, I mean really out there, John Birch Society beliefs about government. Besides being a protege of the evangelicals, Bachmann draws these "the federal government is conspiring against us" guys--and that thinking is quite common.
      1. There is an "independence party" vote that neither established party really controls. If Bachmann controlled it, she would win by ten per cent more. If a Bachmann opponent controlled it, they would add ten per cent to their vote total and easily defeat Bachmann or any Republican. Prior to the last election, the "leaders" of the Independence Party crossed over to the Dems to nominate Bachmann's opponent. But the independent voters they supposedly represented to did not deliver the votes on election day. They despise Minnesota Democrats even more than Republicans and they voted for a maverick unendorsed candidate.
      1. The Minnesota news media. To this day, its "coverage" operates in Bachmann's favor. During her rise to national prominence, state news organizations simply didn't run pieces about her craziest statements or outright lies. Their "journalism" on Bachmann focused on the fact that she was a Minnesotan mom and foster mom who was also a conservative. Not a word in print or broadcast about her crazy political worldview, even though that kind of thing was brought to their attention and the common conversation of political junkies in the state.

      And to this day, if you want to find out "what nutty thing or lie Bachmann spewed," you go to the national media or the conservative or liberal or progressive blogs--not the professional news people in Minnesota. There's an effective blackout on the "Bachmann's a nut" angle of the story here in MN professional political media.

      Can you believe it; that's the short answer--and I still left some stuff out.

  •  I, for one, have admired your (3+ / 0-)

    commitment to keeping us informed
    on Bachmann and your fears that she and her ilk
    keep you up at night.

    somehow, your steady diaries offer some degree of comfort to some of us (me!)...
    kinda like it's reassuring to know that someone
    (a talented Bill Prendergrast, perhaps) is keeping tabs
    on someone, that frankly, scares the hell out of me, too.

    so, again...
    I offer my thanks.

    please keep up the great writing
    and always remember that your presence
    is not only welcome, but comforting.


    "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle." -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 08:30:38 PM PDT

  •  I normally enjoy your diaries but (5+ / 0-)

    this is the best one ever.  I'd have missed it had Rescue Rangers not included it tonite.  Maybe you should consider a rerun on this one.  More eyes should see it.

    What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?

    by Julie Gulden on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 09:18:34 PM PDT

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