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Bachmann overdrive

BY BEAU ELLIOT | FEBRUARY 01, 2011 7:10 AM

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You’d think — yeah, I know; thinking takes a damn lot of energy, if not energy drinks and a bit of the X-Games, and then you wind up with Michele Bachmann anyway. So what’s the point?

Speaking of Bachmann, if not the X-Games (though both seem to involve snow), listening to new — well, semi-new — Gov. for Life Terry “Two Books” Branstad lately, you’d think that the state of Iowa was broke and thus, he needed to haul out the budget cleaver and make like Sweeney Todd.

Especially when it comes to higher education and K through 12 education (which we do not ever call lower education).

Curious. Especially when you consider that ex-Gov. Chet Culver, as much as we all love to dislike him, left office with a surplus of more than $300 million.

So you are excused for wondering why we should slice the budget to ribbons when we’re running a surplus.

Because, Branstad says, we will run into a deficit down the road (that infamous down the road) — he says $600 million to $700 million, a state government agency says more like $200 million, so you can see that projecting deficits is a bit like predicting the weather — and because we’re going to run into that deficit, we need the surplus to cut taxes.

Clear?

Why are we going to cut taxes when we’re facing a deficit? you ask. Because that’s the way conservatives work — they want to shrink the government until it resembles a dried prune (and you know how much people adore dried prunes).

Apparently, Iowa conservatives want to shrink the government so much that we’ll go from having three public universities to having something like 1 1⁄4 public universities. Thus demonstrating Iowa’s historic commitment to education.

See where curiosity gets you?

Curiosity is deadly for cats, according to ancient lore. But then, ancient lore also had everything in the universe revolving around the Earth, and we know how well that worked out. (See Michele Bachmann.)

Events in Tunisia and Egypt have driven Bachmann pretty much off the news cycle, and I suspect she’s still wondering what’s going on. (Actually, I suspect she’s still trying to find Tunisia and Egypt on the map. Well, even more actually, I suspect she’s still trying to find a map.)

Bachmann visited our fair state recently, setting off speculation that she might run for president among the speculators who do that sort of thing (behind closed doors, we would hope). Being in Iowa, naturally, she had to give a speech (you ever notice that when politicians come to our state, the first thing they do is bless us with a speech?), and she enlightened us by describing how the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery in this country. She then, according to Gail Collins of the New York Times, pointed to John Quincy Adams as one of the Founding Fathers who did that tireless work. (Well, of course it was tireless — they didn’t have Goodyear back then.)

Yeah, I know — your average Iowa fifth-grader could probably correct Bachmann’s “sense” of history. The Founding Fathers, of course, famously included some slave owners, perhaps most notoriously Thomas Jefferson. The Fathers, as I like to call them, did not work tirelessly to end slavery; they compromised on slavery in order to ensure the Southern states joined the union.

And, of course, Quincy Adams was not a Founding Father; he was the sixth president of the U.S. (1825-29). Afterwards, he served in the House of Representatives (1831-48), in which he did work on antislavery measures.

I’m just speculating, of course, but you would be excused for believing that Bachmann is an example of what happens when you cut education spending.

Bachmann for president?

What? Charlie Brown isn’t available?


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