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OPINION

Bachmann, God, and the Press

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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In June of 2008, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama delivered a speech in Minnesota in which he said, “…I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment…when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” And he meant it. Newsweek reporter Evan Thomas declared him God-like. Comedians pronounced him too profound… too brilliant to make jokes about.

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By contrast, Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann joked to a Florida audience “Washington D.C.! You’d think by now they’d get the message; an earthquake and a hurricane. Are you kidding? The American people have done all they possibly can. It’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it!” Bachmann was laughing when she said it, the audience was laughing as she said it, but Left-wing blogs and newspapers went wild. They accused her of being a false “prophetess," and inferred she was a “crazy woman.”

In the words of Herman Cain, “America’s got to learn how to take a joke!” But the American media doesn’t want to learn how to take a joke when it comes to conservative candidates—especially ones who claim strong faith in God. Those candidates can’t have senses of humor, but they can—they must—be targets of ridicule.

Congresswoman Bachmann has had more than her share. The narrative is that she is gaffe prone...an unserious candidate. She shoots from the hip… she misspeaks…and her eyes open too widely, as demonstrated by an unflattering photo on the cover of Newsweek.

Congresswoman Bachmann has certainly misspoken on occasion. She said, for instance, that the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired in New Hampshire rather than Massachusetts. No other candidate has made such grave factual errors. Except for maybe one. In 2008 Candidate Barack Obama said in a campaign speech that he had been to “all 57 states” and had one more to go. Since there are 57 Islamic states and 50 American ones, it should have received major coverage, but Obama was too "brilliant," too God-like for it to be mentioned by the same press apoplectic over Bachmann.

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Bachmann recently said she was raised in Waterloo, Iowa, the same town as John Wayne. The press quickly pointed out that John Wayne was born in a neighboring town…while John Wayne Gacy was born in Waterloo. Pretty funny, actually…but no allowance was made for error…just ridicule for this “very serious” misstatement.

In a 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos, Candidate Obama spoke passionately about his “Muslim faith.” After a few moments, Stephanopoulos gently interjected “your Christian faith” to jog his memory. How helpful of George and how generous of the press to overlook that silly little mistake.

All candidates make mistakes, but all mistakes are not equal. To misstate one’s personal religious faith is no small error. How many Christians who would blunder in that way? Both of Obama’s errors should be deeply troubling because they reveal troubling things about him. Bachmann’s misspeaks are verbal blunders, not signs for concern about her loyalties and core beliefs.

The media instructs us that Congresswoman Bachmann can’t be taken seriously. She has the equivalent of two PhDs in law, is a former Federal Tax Litigator, served in the Minnesota Senate for six years and in the U.S. Congress for four. She has raised five children and been foster parent to 23. But she’s incapable, unserious, ”flaky,” in the words of Chris Wallace.

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Obama, by contrast has one degree in Constitutional Law. He was head of the Harvard Law Review but unlike students in that coveted position before him, never wrote anything. He was a Community Organizer associated with Rules for Radicals Saul Alinsky and the now thoroughly disgraced ACORN. He served two terms in the Illinois Legislature where he indecisively voted “present” 130 times. He served four years in the U.S. Senate, spending most of that time campaigning for President. He cannot speak even to a group of children without a teleprompter, but according to the mainstream, he is brilliant.

Every major magazine cover has featured Barack & Michele Obama in the most complimentary way, but none has yet to feature the famous photo of Obama in a fedora, leaning against a wall smoking a cigarette. Michele Bachmann is a beautiful woman. It is difficult to take a bad photo of her, but Newsweek chose a ridiculous one with her eyes opened wide for their cover. It didn’t do much to mar Bachmann’s beauty, but certainly revealed their dangerous bias.

Audiences love Michele Bachmann when they hear her in person, but their own perception is tainted with these distorted accounts and slanders. Even media sophisticates on FOX absorb the poison. Sometimes, as in the case of Chris Wallace, they even inject more of it. Seemingly eager to prove themselves as smart as the New York Times crowd, many fail to make critical assessments counter to those of the elites.

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America is a big girl. She can make up her own mind up if the press will do their constitutional duty. Congresswoman Bachmann is a serious candidate. Inconsequential factual errors are not the same as waffling on deeply held views. Never once has she waffled or been unclear on those. Americans must be free to evaluate her based on her record, not some slanderous caricature that obscures a clear view.

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