Does Minnesota really need two crazies in the House of Representatives?

We’re all used to Michele Bachmann’s paranoid/delusional rhetoric by now, but is it not enough to have one raving nutcase represent our fine state in the House of Representatives?

Apparently not, since Rep. John Kline is afraid President Obama is going to brainwash schoolkids to embrace socialism when he gives a back-to-school address to kids next week.

Give. Me. A. Break.

He’s the president, folks. You may not agree with his policies, but he’s the freaking president. I think Dave Thul (yes, a conservative) gets it right:

In the midst of the recession, a war in Afghanistan, fears over terrorism and H1N1, isn’t it at least possible that Obama may inspire kids to study hard and stay in school, and above all to keep dreaming about what they might be or do someday? If the president uses the speech as a political tool, asking kids to help him pass health care reform or save the earth by passing cap and trade, then yes, we will have a right to be upset. But give Obama the chance to speak before you decide to take offense to his words.

I personally would not be upset if he discussed those things, but I can understand why someone who disagreed would. But I think we can reasonably assume that our president is going to eschew the hot political topics of the day and focus on promoting the value of education, hard work and ambition. Then again, maybe those values are part of a liberal/socialist agenda, too. Are they?

Update: Moments after I posted this, a link to this media resources page appeared on the White House Facebook feed. Coincidence? You be the judge. (Answer: yes.)

I believe the look is one of incredulity

Or in other words, “Do I really have to take this person I’m talking to seriously?”

Observe Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (to whom my reaction has been tepid at best, but I’m warming up to him after this) listening to, and attempting to answer, a question posed to him today by Rep. Michele Bachmann, regrettably of Minnesota’s regrettable 6th District:

Pay particular attention at 1:14. That is precisely the moment where Secretary Geithner realizes he’s dealing with a crazy person. Priceless.

Soon the look of incredulity may become known simply as the Bachmann Effect.

Regrettably, I also bothered to visit, the site that apparently posted this C-SPAN clip on YouTube (as evidenced by the omnipresence of their URL in the clip), and I have to guess from that site’s stance that they actually think Michele Bachmann is right in all of this. Sheesh. Where were all of these right wing constitutional literalists during the Bush presidency?

One last comment on the general matter of how this person got elected to Congress, and what that says about her district, the caption in the still from this clip says it all: MN-6 is a prime example of gerrymandering at its worst. There is no logical reason that Woodbury (an eastern suburb of St. Paul) and Waite Park (one of the cluster of communities that makes up the St. Cloud micropolitan area, 92 miles away) should be in the same congressional district. The 6th district wraps around the northern ring of Twin Cities suburbs and extends awkwardly to the northwest, appearing like some blocky beast preparing to devour the metro area in its gaping, Limbaugh-esque maw. More specifically, it’s the most politically conservative area (if it can even be called an “area”) of the state, sitting on top of the geographically smaller, more densely populated, most liberal area of the state — the 5th (Minneapolis) and 4th (St. Paul) districts. The district is contorted in its southeastern-most corner to absorb the population of the conservative eastern suburbs instead of extending into more moderate, less populous (but more geographically contiguous) areas around St. Cloud.

Minnesota's 6th congressional district

I’m not sure who was responsible for the gerrymandering of the current Minnesota congressional district map — whether it was Democrats looking to sequester hardcore conservatives in a single district, or Republicans hoping to expand their influence over a generally “blue” (or at least “indigo”) state. But in the end, all that matters is that it produced an environment that would not only elect Michele Bachmann, but even re-elect her after she had already become a national laughingstock last fall.

(Thanks to Dusty Trice for this one.)