An Army of Bachmanns

It seems as if not more than a day can pass without Rep. Michele Bachmann making news with some new conspiracy theory about how Democrats in Congress and the White House are out to destroy this nation … and here she is again warning that the expansion of the AmeriCorps program will lead to indoctrination camps for young Americans:

It’s under the guise of — quote — volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. …

I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.

Bachmann just barely survived her re-election bid last November after calling for investigations of members of Congress in order to “find out if they are pro-America or anti-America” and has gone on to establish herself as one of the most incoherent, least stable public figures in recent memory.   

But apparently the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez and right-wing radio host Mark Levin think that what the conservative movement and the GOP need are more candidates like Bachmann – at least according to Lopez’s most recent column based around Levin’s new book” Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto”:

When the actions of a Republican president set the scene for the current commander-in-chief’s CEO firings, we need a new level of attention from all Americans. In Levin’s words, we need “a new generation of conservative activists, larger in number, shrewder, and more articulate than before, who seek to blunt the Statist’s counterrevolution — not to imitate it — and gradually and steadily reverse course. More conservatives than before will need to seek elective and appointed office, fill the ranks of the administrative state, hold teaching positions in public schools and universities, and find positions in Hollywood and the media where they can make a difference in infinite ways.”

We appear to be living in a paradigm shift, in which the government is taking over in unprecedented ways. If you’re uncomfortable with what you’re seeing, get to work.

There are countless examples of citizens who have shared Levin’s concerns at one time or another throughout America’s history and have gotten involved in politics because of them. One of Levin’s contemporary favorites, as anyone who listens to his radio show knows, is Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She’s someone the Left loves to hate; in fact, left-wing groups pulled out all the stops in their attempt to defeat her last year. She got involved in politics a decade ago after one of her foster children (she and her husband have taken care of 23 over the years, in addition to raising five children of their own) came home from high school with a poster to color for math class, instead of serious homework. She realized there was something wrong with the public-school standards in her home state and got involved in improving things. Her efforts would eventually take her to the state senate and, now, the U.S. House of Representatives. Ask her about it and you’ll get the sense of a woman who is thinking not about an office but about her country.

Talk to Bachmann about politics and the future, and it is clear that she has “liberty and tyranny” on her mind (both literally — she cited the book on Sean Hannity’s show — and foundationally). What she says seems to stem not from political ambition but from those concerns that got her into politics in the first place. She views herself as a back-bencher with an opportunity and a responsibility at a crucial time in American history. She’s a former federal-tax-litigation attorney who now sits on the Financial Services Committee. Also a small-business owner and an educational entrepreneur (she helped found one of the first charter schools in the country, which is still running), Bachmann brings a breadth and depth of experience to Washington that Gotcha! sound bites do not do justice to.

At a moment when the conservative movement is in disarray and the GOP is floundering, Lopez and Levin are suggesting that the best course of action is to rally its Bachmann-like members to take action and get involved in politics at various levels all over the country?  

And they wonder why they keep losing elections.