However, there is far more to the false stories that Michelle Bachmann retails, and the serious ones reflect something much worse than ignorance on her part.
Take, for example, her comments a couple of years ago about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here is Bachmann, speaking on the House floor in 2009:
“As a matter of fact, the recession that FDR had to deal with wasn’t as bad as the recession Coolidge had to deal with in the early ’20s… FDR applied just the opposite formula, the Hoot-Smalley Act, which was a tremendous burden on tariff restrictions, and then of course, trade barriers and the regulatory burden and taxpayers. That’s what we saw happen under FDR, that took a recession and blew it into a full-scale depression. The American people suffered for almost 10 years under that kind of thinking.”
The truth is as follows: There was a short, deep recession in the early 20's. This was caused by the problem of overproduction ramped up during World War I. Our industries and in particular, our agricultural sector, increased output drastically to serve the war-devastated economies in Europe. After the war, no one could find a way to fairly decrease production, and as a result, there was considerable economic distress.
With the rise of new products- the automotive and aviation industries, electronics, manufacturers managed to recover in a few years; absent any meaningful government assistance, farmers around the country remained in an effective state of depression throughout the twenties, while three successive Republican presidents enacted massive tax cuts for the wealthy. The Smoot Hawley act to which Bachmann refers was passed by Republicans in 1930. Roosevelt was not president then. The economy continued to crash until March, 1933, when Roosevelt actually took office, at which point, as a result of his policies, it abruptly took a change for the better, and by 1936, GDP had recovered to pre-1929 levels.
Now, another Bachmann delusion, this one more recent:
"...we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States"
This is nonsense. Many of the founding fathers were slave owners themselves, and of course slavery was not ended until the 1860's, long after the founding fathers were all dead.
What is important about these falsehoods is that they are not mere misstatements like Obama's remark about having visited 57 States instead of 47. Bachmann's pseudo-history is designed to promote a right wing agenda by spreading an ersatz account of our nation's history. Her smears of Roosevelt are intended to convince people that Democratic economics, rather than Republican malfeasance, caused the Depression. Her remarks about the founding fathers are an attempt to deny that the North needed to fight the Civil War, suggesting that Southerners had abandoned racism long before 1860. These are not slips of the tongue, they are malignant ideological propaganda, spread by a person who knows perfectly well what damage she is doing, but who has entitled herself to act as she pleases.
Since the time of Reagan, the right in this country has been engaged in an attempt to rewrite our history into a fictional account in which everything good comes through allowing their greed and hatred. It is a dangerous game, and one which we ignore at our peril. Michelle Bachmann is, in the end, not an object of ridicule, but rather a willing agent of forces determined to destroy the American enterprise.