This past week’s The New Yorker blog offered a window into the liberal soul in it current state of ideological corruption, in which virtually all that remains is reactionary negativism. Chronicling his interviews with a group of Brooklyn bar flies at an Atlantic Avenue dive, The New Yorker’s John Cassidy pronounced that the Bachmann presidential campaign was tantamount to Nazism. According to a Cassidy, “From National Socialism to Poujadism to the Tea Party, the suggestion that the motherland needs reclaiming from alien forces has been central to populist right-wing movements.”
Using the other “N word” in reference to Bachmann is over the top. Comparing Bachmann to European fascists denies reality and ignores the facts.
Bachmann is a Christian Zionist. In 1974, Bachmann volunteered on a Kibbutz. This was in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. She remains a staunch supporter of Israel. According to Bachmann, the United States and Israel “share the same exceptional mission — to be a light unto the nations.”
By crudely trashing Bachmann, Cassidy disregarded one of the cardinal rules of debate, namely, that the first person to invoke the Nazis or Hitler in debate that is not about World War II is the loser.
The fact that The New Yorker — long known as an editor’s magazine, which is to say, this was no random incident — bandied the Nazi motif so early in the campaign speaks volumes about how liberal America views Michele Bachmann and the 2012 presidential election. Liberal America is scared of Bachmann, in particular, because Bachmann’s profile is a Red State mirror image of those things that Manhattan liberals prize most.
Bachmann is family oriented and accomplished. Bachmann’s home life is tidy. Bachmann is credentialed in the way that editors and readers of The New Yorker would otherwise be comfortable.
She is a former tax litigator with a Masters of Laws degree from William and Mary. One of her children taught with Teach for America. Another child graduated from medical school. There is an upward and literate arc to the Bachmann household. Her family is no less admirable than the Obamas.
The Congresswoman is no rube. In the eyes of The New Yorker, however, Bachmann’s sin is that she is an Evangelical who is very much part of Middle America. In the world of The New Yorker, it appears that booze hounds are preferable to credentialed Christians.
By limiting his unscientific survey to one Brooklyn watering hole, Cassidy neglected to seek out the opinions of denizens other Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Boro Park and Midwood, where the Bachmann candidacy will likely be more warmly received.
Boro Park is four-and-a-half miles away and worlds apart from Atlantic Avenue. Boro Park is heavily Orthodox Jewish and Hassidic. Its residents are predominately refugees of post-War Europe or their children. For Boro Parkers, “National Socialism” is not just a rhetorical device or a clever punch line. It is a reference to a unique tragedy, the memory of which is sacred.
Like Bachmann, their lives of Boro Parkers are suffused with religion and family. And like Bachmann, Boro Park’s residents support Israel, distrust Obama and backed Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. Boro Park is Reagan Democrat Country.
In the New York State Assembly, Boro Park is represented by Dov Hikind, the son of Holocaust survivors. He is a Democrat who backed Mike Huckabee and George W. Bush, and supported Al D’Amato in his senate campaigns against Democrats Mark Green, Bob Abrams and Chuck Schumer. Hikind is also a champion of Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem.
Bachmann is definitely out of step with the New York of Zabars and Woody Allen. She will win few, if any, votes from The New Yorker staff or from the subjects of Cassidy’s liquor-fueled survey.
But like Ronald Reagan, Bachmann stands to make inroads in Brooklyn and a whole lot of other places.
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