Presidential politics might be America’s greatest spectacle. Matt Taibbi writes a nice rant on Michelle Bachmann in the new Rolling Stone. The piece is an enjoyable introduction into the legacy of irrationality presented by the now-presidential candidate. I’m interested in a paragraph on page two, where Taibbi talks about how mockery and disagreement are used as a fuel to turbo-charge her desire to win.
Snickering readers in New York or Los Angeles might be tempted by all of this to conclude that Bachmann is uniquely crazy. But in fact, such tales by Bachmann work precisely because there are a great many people in America just like Bachmann, people who believe that God tells them what condiments to put on their hamburgers, who can’t tell the difference between Soviet Communism and a Stafford loan, but can certainly tell the difference between being mocked and being taken seriously. When you laugh at Michele Bachmann for going on MSNBC and blurting out that the moon is made of red communist cheese, these people don’t learn that she is wrong. What they learn is that you’re a dick, that they hate you more than ever, and that they’re even more determined now to support anyone who promises not to laugh at their own visions and fantasies.
It is a good insight. The question is how to politically challenge these kinds of thinkers without giving them more ammunition?