Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bachmann-Geithner Overdrive

PHUTATORIUS
If you aren't closely following Michelle Bachmann's political career, you're missing great comedy. (Think Sarah Palin, crossed with Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction.) Ms. Bachmann (R-MN), seen here in "Hiya Sailor" mode with President Bush, and here calling for an inquiry into anti-American sentiment in the United States Congress, proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution yesterday. That amendment provides:
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The President may not enter into a treaty or other international agreement that would provide for the United States to adopt as legal tender in the United States a currency issued by an entity other than the United States.


This in response to testimony over the past few days from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who apparently did not react emphatically enough to the suggestion of a Chinese treasury official that the international community adopt a global "supercurrency" for reserves. Bachmann doesn't think Geithner gives a damn about a Greenback Dollar, so she proposes that we amend the Constitution to calm her nerves.

(You see, as we've noted before, the Framers of the Constitution, in their considerable wisdom, withheld from the House of Representatives any role in negotiating (the Executive's job) or ratifying (the Senate's) treaties. So this was Bachmann's only angle: the "nuclear option," to be sure, but the circumstances clearly call for it. By tomorrow we all could be speaking Chinese.)

Putting aside the question whether we should treat our currency as a point of cultural pride alongside, say, fried chicken, a man on the moon, or the cure for polio — all right, all right: I didn't really put that question aside — is the dollar really in such great immediate danger? The answer is no. And that makes Bachmann either completely off her rocker in her assessment of the situation or cynically determined to misassess the situation to Americans with her treatment of it. I.e., either she's really stupid, or she's evil and manipulative and thinks we're all really stupid.

Do I have to choose?

Oh, and see also George Packer's recent commentary in The New Yorker about paranoia and populism in politics. On point, and good stuff.