Religious Right and Tea Party Nation Turn to Michele Bachmann in Desperate Attempt to Defeat Health-Care Bill
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
In a last-ditch, desperate attempt to kill health-care reform, the captains of the religious right and the Tea Party Nation turned their lonely eyes to her -- the conservative queen of crazy, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. -- and a supporting cast of angry white men.
"So here we are; we're at the bottom of the ninth," Bachmann told a Capitol Hill gathering (video) of several hundred Tea Party protesters on Tuesday morning. "We've won every inning so far -- so that should feel pretty good."
"Yeah!" the crowd yelled back.
"All we have to do is to keep this up until Saturday," Bachmann said, "...and we are gonna kill the bill." Saturday is the day on which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to call a vote on the health-care reform legislation. In order to do so, the House will have to pass the bill, as is, that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve. It will do so with a package of separately-passed "fixes" to the Senate bill that will be taken up in the Senate via a budget reconciliation process, which cannot be filibustered. That means the fix package can be passed on a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of the 60 required to end a filibuster.
If the size of the crowd around Bachmann on a beautiful Washington, D.C., morning was any indication, the grass roots of the Tea Party movement appeared to have thrown in the town on their opposition to health-care reform. While a similar rally led by Bachmann in November drew thousands to Capitol Hill, today's event, promoted by the astroturfing group, FreedomWorks, drew a mere fraction of that number. At the Tuesday rally, Bachmann held back on some of the more colorful rhetoric she displayed at a "Kill the Bill" rally she headlined in her home state on Saturday, at which she compared President Barack Obama and Pelosi to Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez, and declared Obama to be "the first post-American president."
And even though the likes of Glenn Beck now rejects the tale of disgraced former Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., who claimed that allegations of sexual harassment against him were trumped up to force him out because he was going vote "no" on the health-care bill, Bachmann trotted out Massa's story as evidence of the brutality of Democratic leaders who were beating their members into submission. Quoting a story in the New York Post, a right-wing paper once owned by Rupert Murdoch, she referred to the tactics of Nancy Pelosi as being akin to those of the television mafia family, the Sopranos. (Speaker Pelosi is Italian.) "If they can't get these congressmen to vote with sugar," she said, "now they're going to come in with sticks."
Bachmann also predicted that Pelosi would begin making ethics charges against Republicans come election time. That's what happens, she said, "if you cross Nancy Pelosi."
At the Minnesota rally, Bachmann decried the proposed use of a procedural maneuver called "deem and pass" that would provide cover for House members who do not wish to be on record voting for the Senate's version of the health-care bill, either because it is not progressive enough for some or, on the issue of insurance coverage for abortion, regressive enough for others. Use of the deem-and-pass procedure would have House members voting on their fixes to the Senate bill in a budget reconciliation package. Once they had done that, the Senate bill will have been "deemed" to have passed without a direct vote, by virtue of the passage of the reconciliation legislation. This, Bachmann said, was "dictatorial" and "tyranny." She contended it had never been done before (actually, it has -- and by Republicans), adding that the people would not be bound to obey a bill passed in this manner.