Michele Bachmann, the former Republican Congresswoman, who crash-landed in her attempt to get the Republican nomination for president in 2012, got a lot of attention this week for telling a right-wing radio host that her idea of religious liberty was everyone being able to say "Merry Christmas."
Yes, yes, it was stupid. Because after all, given how so many conservatives like to prance around that they're strict constructionalits, we know that the original intent of Freedom of Religion was for everyone to be able to say "Merry Christmas." And yes, it was stupid for her to add how there are "a lot of Jews" in New York, and once upon a time "they would even say Merry Christmas." And if only you could get those pesky Jews to wish people a Merry Christmas, then all would be well with the world, and religious liberty will shine.
(Note to Michele Bachmann: "a lot of Jews" still wish people celebrating Christmas a very Merry Christmas. And so too do Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and even I'm sure Zoroastrians, who have every right to be pissed off and say nothing, given how Christianity took so many of their religious tenets.)
The thing is, though, for all the attention Ms. Bachmann got for her silly comments, it was another comment in her interview that has gotten overlooked and is far worse. After all, what Michele Bachman says is borderline meaningless, around the level of word salad coming from Sarah Palin. But it was her quoting Donald Trump that leaped out to me as far worse. Because he could actually become president.
After telling the host how much Trump "gets and understands religious liberty," she gave an example to prove her point.
"He even said, ‘I don’t understand, when I was growing up, everybody said Merry Christmas. Even my Jews would say Merry Christmas,’” she noted.
Sigh. In the words of GOP god Ronald Reagan, there you go again. First it was "my Black." Now it's "my Jews." Who knows, maybe he said it because he wanted people to know that, unlike with Black people, he has more than just one.
I know that Donald Trump is big on being megalomaniacally possessive, with among other things "TRUMP" emblazoned on most everything he owns, from elegant towers to bankrupt airlines, insolvent steaks, unsold wine, and fraudulent universities, but perhaps it would be goof if someone let him know that people aren't actually his. And at least with Jews, if he keeps it up, insisting that they are his, he should know that they have a very good phrase specifically for the occasion, "Let my people go."
In fairness, this is just a quote from Michele Bachmamn, so it's possible that Donald Trump didn't say it. Of course, being Donald Trump, it's just as possible if not more so, that what he said was worse. And given his track record, it's reasonable to think he did indeed say it, let alone the latter. Besides which, it would be an odd sentence to make up, even by Michele Bachmann standards. And in the end, there's been no denial from the Trump campaign. So, I believe it's an accurate quote.
Just a really stupid, offensive, paternalist, egomaniacal, racist, clueless one.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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