Washington Post leaves Michele Bachmann speechless

As long as she's appearing in front of friendly right-wing audiences, seated across the studio from friendly right-wing radio show hosts and cable news gab fests -- as long as she stays in the echo chamber -- Michele Bachmann is an unstoppable force, the Washington Post says this morning in a profile of the 6th district congresswoman.

But the minute she steps outside that bubble, where people from the reality-based community can ask her uncomfortable questions about the outlandish stuff she offers up on a regular basis, she's in trouble and knows it, so she rarely does, the paper says.

"She doesn't need mainstream media any longer," says Lawrence Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota and a longtime Bachmann watcher. "She has whatever cable show she wants to do, talk radio, the Internet, Fox TV.

She won't even do business with her own local newspaper:

Her hometown newspaper, the Stillwater Gazette, ordinarily receives no notice about public events where a reporter might be able to pose a question to her.

A favorite host: Jason Lewis on KTLK:

A relaxed Bachmann doesn't receive uncomfortable questions, and Lewis, in turn, can steer her into intriguing discussions mainstream journalists can't. She sounds liberated in Lewis's world.

And why on earth, she says, should anyone be concerned about a legislator actually legislating?

Bachmann emphasizes that to focus on the passage of bills is to miss the whole point about her: She is in Washington, she says, to beat back government's attempt to "eclipse freedom in people's lives."

Her ground rules for an interview with the Post include a demand that she not be asked any questions about her re-election campaign. And she's left speechless when reporter Michael Leahy asks a perfectly reasonable question:

Now she voiced frustration with what she regarded as the "media's focus" on her "language." She listened to a question about comments she had made regarding a federal program designed to expand the national number of community volunteers, a measure authored by the late Massachusetts senator and liberal lion Edward Kennedy and signed into law by President Obama. She was asked about her charge that the program would lead to political "reeducation camps" for its young participants.

Dead silence came over the telephone line.

After a while, it was time for the mainstream media's next question. "Are you there, Congresswoman?"

The silence lengthened.

"Are you there, Congresswoman?"

At which point she clearly indicates she doesn't want to address the question -- and never does. It's not fair, she tells the Post, to hold her accountable for things she says.

Read the whole profile here.

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