UK paper: Bachmann offers ‘statesmanlike lecture’ in Oxford Union speech

The UK’s “Independent” newspaper covered U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s speech Friday at the Oxford Union, and pronounced it, apparently much to the reporter’s surprise, “a statesmanlike lecture.”

The story (h/t to Blois Olson) says that Bachmann, the former U.S. presidential candidate and “Queen of the Tea Party,” laid claim to be the political heir to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Said the story:

The Minnesota Congresswoman, who has not ruled out another tilt for the Republican nomination in 2016, has become notorious for adopting positions so outlandish they make mainstream conservatives weep.

… So when Mrs Bachmann swept into Oxford’s debating chamber on Friday afternoon, her student audience anticipated that the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus would add to her cache of outrageous statements and wacky theories.

Not so. She instead, the story says,

…used the occasion to relaunch herself as a credible leader with intellectual pretensions.

…Keeping her “batshit button” carefully hidden, Mrs Bachmann embarked on a statesmanlike lecture titled: “Seeds of Progress: The struggle between innovation and bureaucracy.”

The reporter concludes:

Whilst Bachmann revelled in her distinguished surroundings the lustre appears be coming off the Tea Party star. The movement is in retreat and Republican managers are eyeing-up Presidential candidates who can appeal to an ethnically-diverse electorate.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/17/2014 - 10:57 am.

    Of course,

    her allusion to Shakespeare
    (““I come to praise Great Britain not to bury you,” said Bachmann. “) refers to the beginning of one of the great rabble rousing speeches of all time (“I come to praise Caesar, not to bury him”) .
    Since the Independent article doesn’t actually quote the speach in any detail, we don’t know if the Brit reporter simply missed some of the ‘dog whistle’ code words.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/17/2014 - 11:31 am.

    Interesting analysis by Oxford’s Tom Packer

    “Overall, Bachmann’s speech reminded me that scholars should acknowledge when their preconceptions have been invalidated. Leaving aside the image of her as an ignoramus, I had been under the impression that Bachmann lacked any sense of humour. On the contrary, her talk was relaxed and amiable, the jokes mostly coming across as authentic and heartfelt, notably the gentle humour about her children (“they all want to be the boss”). By simply expressing humour and transcending the admittedly abysmal expectations of her intellect, Bachmann performed far better at Oxford than many of her enemies must have anticipated.”

    The British left has had misogynistic tendencies with female conservatives in the past, as we know, a trait they share with those on this side of the pond.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/17/2014 - 05:57 pm.

      You mean

      Tom Packer, the Jesse Helms fan?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 02:14 pm.

      A very low bar

      “By simply expressing humour and transcending the admittedly abysmal expectations of her intellect, Bachmann performed far better at Oxford than many of her enemies must have anticipated.”

      In other words, she set the bar so low that a slug could have vaulted it.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/18/2014 - 10:08 pm.

        She didn’t set the bar

        her misogynist critics did.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/20/2014 - 11:22 am.

          On misogyny

          Being a critic of Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin doesn’t a misogynist make. Critizing them for BEING women would qualify. But if you can’t divorce criticism for someone’s policies from the gender-specific pronoun that precedes it, that’s on you.

          I know the republican party didn’t discover sexism until Sarah Palin was nominated as the VP candidate in 08… even though she was only nominated as such because she was a woman, first, and governor, second… which to me, smacks of misogyny. We of course remember how well she was vetted for actual executive qualifications, and what it ultimately did to McCain’s candidacy, as well as the Republican Party.

          Many regulars here will recall your complaints about women even being granted the right to vote. Your disdain for women in general is fairly well documented in your comment trail.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2014 - 02:15 pm.

      Please explain something to me

      Why is disagreement with the policies espoused by Rep. Bachmann “misogyny?” Are you–the commentator who came out against women’e suffrage–saying that we must defer to the opinions of women?

      As a follow-up: How is this any different from saying that opposition to President Obama is based on racism?

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/18/2014 - 10:07 pm.

        It’s called sarcasm, sir

        I’m only suggesting what those on the left would be saying if the situation were reversed. And your Obama reference makes my point.

  3. Submitted by Brian Simon on 03/17/2014 - 12:58 pm.

    depends on the argument made

    It is not very brave to argue that bureaucracy stifles innovation; few would dispute that basic premise. Where the tea party types lose their way is in claiming that gov’t bureaucracy is inherently bad & in ignoring the tradeoffs made when favoring innovation over bureaucracy. The real question is in finding the appropriate balance between maximizing innovation while mitigating risk. Where gov’t bureaucracy can serve well is in minimizing societal risks from private behavior. If companies want to risk everything on a new product idea they ought to be able to do so. Unless there is a significant public risk for that private behavior. We see this in some of the financial risks undertaken on wall street. Ideally corporate bureaucracies would stifle wall street innovations that expose the larger economy to significant risk. But we know that doesn’t happen, which rep resents a market failure that government must step in to resolve. I.e. bureaucracy.

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