Michele Bachmann says she cares about the poor, gets another "Four Pinocchios" rating [VIDEO]
Bachmann: Caring about the poor if and only if doing so scores her political points.
Image by Tatiana Craine
During a floor speech last Friday, Michele Bachmann mangled an attempt at a Shakespeare quote (She said "Thou protesteth too much" -- the actual quote is "The lady doth protest too much"). But that's not significant here.
What is significant is that during the same speech, Bachmann claimed she was among a group of Republicans who "voted against the sequestration because we knew all of these calamities [for poorer Americans] were in the future." There's no evidence, however, that Bachmann has ever given a rip about cuts to Head Start, Meals on Wheels, and other programs serving low-income Americans. As a result, she's earned another "Four Pinocchios" rating from the Washington Post's Fact Checker -- her second in just over a month.
Here's the specific Bachmann quote at issue:
"There were numerous Republicans that voted against the sequestration because we knew all of these calamities were in the future. And so it reminds me of the Shakespeare line: 'Thou protestest too much.' Didn't you know this was going to happen? We knew it. That's why we voted against this bill."
Here's video of her making that statement in the course of butchering Shakespeare:
The Post went to great lengths to uncover anything Bachmann said during the runup to the August 1, 2011 Budget Control Act suggesting she voted against the bill due to concerns about how spending cuts would affect poor people, to no avail. From the Post:
What we found instead were comments by Bachmann complaining that the Budget Control Act did not cut spending enough. She especially decried the fact that the debt ceiling was increased, arguing instead that the government could avoid default simply by making immediate and steep cuts. "We needed real cuts and a fundamental restructuring in the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars to solve the spending crisis we are in," Bachmann said in a statement after the bill was passed. "Someone has to say NO to more spending. I will."
While Bachmann made no mention of the impact on poorer Americans, she added: "This deal puts our national security at risk because of the severe cuts to defense that kick in should the President not do his job in the next few months."
In fact, when Bachmann voted against an alternative Republican-proposed bill around the same time that would've cut federal spending even more than the Budget Control Act, she said: "The motion does not go far enough in fundamentally restructuring the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars." Doesn't exactly sound like someone whose "heart breaks" for the poor, does it?
The Post got in touch with Bachmann's spokesman, Dan Kotman. He unhelpfully attempted to clarify by saying Bachmann didn't necessarily vote against the Budget Control Act just because of how sequestration would impact the poor. Rather, she voted against it simply because it was a bad idea, Kotman said.
"Rep. Bachmann has been consistent from day one that sequestration is a bad idea, which is why she voted against it," Kotman told the Post. "She opposed sequestration on a number of levels, and for a number of reasons, including the fact that bureaucrats seem to choose the most painful cuts to make their point. That has unfortunately proved true."
But Kotman couldn't come up with any 2011 Bachmann quotes where she discussed her concern about the plight of the poor.
In concluding that Bachmann's statement deserves a Four Pinocchios rating, the Post writes: "The evidence shows that she did not warn of the 'calamities' that she says have befallen Americans in the sequester... [instead,] she actually proposed cutting spending even deeper and faster on the very programs she now professes to care so much about."
Bachmann, of course, believes she never gets the facts wrong. But we'd suggest it's impossible to get them wrong when you're willing to rewrite history for your own purposes.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.