What was the context of Michele Bachmann’s “armed and dangerous” comment?

Rep. Michele Bachmann
Rep. Michele Bachmann

Recently, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a column blaming conservatives for creating a “climate of hate”.


The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

So what he is saying is that Michele Bachmann wants conservatives to arm themselves and eliminate their opponents violently. This was in the New York Times.

So, let’s take a look at what Michele Bachmann actually said.


Really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent behind enemy lines. And I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington.

But you can get all the latest information on this event. This is a must-go-to event with [the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s] Chris Horner. People will learn. It will be fascinating.

We met with Chris Horner last week, 20 members of Congress. It takes a lot to wow members of Congress after a while. This wows them.

And I am going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax: because we need to fight back.

Thomas Jefferson told us, “Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing.” And we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.

And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of changing freedom forever in the United States. And that’s why I want everyone to come out and hear [Chris Horner]. So go to Bachmann.house.gov and you can get all [of] the information.

See, in context, it’s quite clear that by armed, she means armed with material from Chris Horner on energy taxes (e.g. – the cap and trade bill) and by dangerous she means winning arguments using “all the information”.

If you do a search for “armed and dangerous” and “michele bachmann”, you will find that everybody and their mother on the left is taking the quote out of context in order to smear Michele Bachmann. And I hope that will be a lesson to you about dealing with the claims of people on the left. They hear these things on talk radio or MSNBC and they take them uncritically.

John Hinderaker at Powerline explains the problem with taking Michele Bachmann’s “armed and dangerous” quote out of context. (H/T Hyscience)


Here is a rule of thumb: any time a liberal quotes a fragment of a sentence, or, as in this case, a three-word phrase, a red flag should go up. When liberals quote sentence fragments, they are usually misleading when they aren’t out-and-out fabricated.

My guess is that Krugman has no idea when Michele referred to being “armed and dangerous,” or why, or what the rest of the sentence was. Krugman’s biggest problem isn’t that he is stupid. His biggest problem is that he is lazy. He is incapable of doing even the most rudimentary research, which is why his columns rarely contain many facts, and when they do, his “facts” are often wrong.

As it happens, I–unlike Krugman–know all about Michele’s “armed and dangerous” quote, because she said it in an interview with Brian Ward and me, on our radio show. It was on March 21, 2009. The subject was the Obama administration’s cap and trade proposal. Michele organized a couple of informational meetings in her district with an expert on global warming and cap and trade, and she came on our show to promote those meetings. She wanted her constituents to be armed with information on cap and trade so that they would understand how unnecessary, and how damaging to our economy, the Obama administration’s proposal was. That would make them dangerous to the administration’s left-wing plans.

The interview illustrates quite well the difference between Michele Bachmann and Paul Krugman. Krugman is a vicious hater. He rarely argues any issue on the merits, but prefers to smear those who disagree with him. Bachmann is infinitely better informed than Krugman. All she wants to do is debate her opponents on the facts. Unlike Krugman, she doesn’t hate anyone; her irrepressible good humor is considered a marvel by everyone who knows her.

You can listen to the whole interview at that post on Powerline. I do occasionally listen to the Northern Alliance Radio show.

Is Paul Krugman civil with his opponents?

Of course not!

He writes:

A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy.

This is the first sentence in one of his New York Times columns. I put the link for context, so you can check it out yourself. If I were a leftist journalist, I would have left out the “in effigy” and then spread all over the Internet and on MSNBC. MSNBC edits the news to suit their narrative all the time – it’s not really a news channel at all, it’s just propaganda for the far-left fringe.

Is Paul Krugman seen as reliable?

Not by a bunch of non-conservatives:

Always read the New York Times with a skeptical eye.

You need to watch Fox News and listen to Hugh Hewitt

I really recommend that if any of you who are watching MSNBC and listening to NPR stop that and try an experiment. Switch to watching Special Report on Fox News at 6 PM Eastern every day for an hour. Bret Baier is fair, and you will see him do an amazing thing. The entire second half of the show is a panel discussion with people on the left present, and they get equal time. And if you can watch Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace on Sundays, you get another panel discussion with TWO leftists, usually Juan Williams and Mara Liasson – who work for NPR!!!! (Yes, I know NPR fired Juan) Neither Juan nor Mara are insane – in fact they are quite sensible leftists. Sometimes Bret will have other leftists on, but even they are not too crazy. Do you know why? Because they can’t be crazy when there are conservatives on the panel who get to hold them to account. And the conservatives can’t be crazy, either. That’s how you get the truth – each side corrects the other, and they all get along well – laughing and joking. That’s what Fox News is famous for – fair and balanced. Balanced means you get BOTH sides. Fair means both sides get equal time to talk. It’s a debate every night.

I do not recommend watching the O’Reilly Factor or even Sean Hannity, and especially not Shepherd Smith, who is a radical left wing extremist.

10 thoughts on “What was the context of Michele Bachmann’s “armed and dangerous” comment?”

  1. Lol wk I’m surprised you don’t like watching hannity or o’reilly! How come you don’t recommend them?
    I’m glad you don’t recommend them though, they are SO cringeworthy and you do not want to know how much they get slated here in the UK.

    I think they actually do the American ‘conservative’ movement more harm than good, ESPECIALLY abroad, where every just thinks all republicans are crazy red necks!!
    (Which they’re not (all) of course!)


  2. Wow, was that Ed Schultz at the end of that Bachman piece? If he ain’t a case of the pot calling the kettle black, no better example exists! Didn’t he speak of ripping Cheney’s heart out and kicking it around like a football before re-inserting it back into his chest?


    I won’t speak for WK, but I wonder if his opinion would match mine on Hannity and O’Reilly. Hannity’s style is rather elementary and is somewhat superficial despite being in the right side of the issue in most cases. To put it another way, he rarely adds anything to the subject at hand and is repetitive in his rhetoric, relying on what amounts to talking points and going no further.

    O’Reilly is a bit bombastic, but he doesn’t deal in hyperbole, sticking to facts as he understands them and, like most right-of-center pundits, corrects mistakes when realized. But he is not all that conservative, especially on social issues and does spend too much time on irrelevant stories.

    Why these two take heat from Brits is likely more a matter of leftist attitudes that tend to automatically denigrate right-wingers on leftist principle rather than substance.


  3. I must cop to the fact that I didn’t finish the entire post before posting my last comment. I was somewhat fired up by Schultz’s nonsense and then saw Michael’s comment and off I went. But after having read the whole thing, I kinda think WK was only dismissing Hannity and O’Reilly because they are not news programs. Maybe I’m wrong on that. But both DO invite left wing people for discussion and quite regularly. With Hannity, I think it might even be every night. In any case, now I need to ask WK why he doesn’t recommend them.


    1. Well, not only are they not news programs but your assessments of their personalities is the other part. Hannity is a radio guy, not a policy/economics guy. He is not capable of discussing religion or social issues, in my opinion – he just treats them as “values”. O’Reilly focuses on irrelevant stories and is also not informed about religion or social issues – again treating these issues as “opinions”. The problem is that they do discuss religion and social issues, but they are no good at it.

      Consider last night’s panel discussion on Special Report. Jonah Goldberg (center-right) agreed with Juan Williams (center-left) on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE (I think). And then of course Charles Krauthammer was there – he is also center right. The Special Report panel is a lot more respectful and collegial than what I usually see on Hannity and O’Reilly.


      1. I like your analysis on these two. As I drive a lot for my job (sales), I end up listening to talk radio quite frequently, and Hannity is probably the worst on the right of any talk radio host. I’ve consistently given him a try over the last number of years and he never fails to disappoint. Not only is he predictable in his non-analysis, he is incapable of an actual argument. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him actually put real thought into any issue and talk out the logic behind why he believes a certain way. In the end, he just repeats one of his ten bullet points for the day for 3 hours. It kind of makes me a little nauseous.
        O’Reilly doesn’t do this, but he never has a real conversation either. He doesn’t seem to like anyone answering any question with more than 1 or 2 words, which makes for very stinted answers to complicated questions always leaving him looking like the smart guy on every issue no matter how little analysis actually went into the answer. I’ve found this very frustrating to watch/listen to.


  4. In my area, Prager is a re-broadcast in the late evening when I’m not likely to listen to radio. Hewitt used to be on during what they call drive time, late afternoon (5PM) and they did only three hours of his four hour show (or was it two of three? I’m not sure.) Then they got the bright idea to put Michael Savage on during that period and Hewitt afterward where he will often be bumped for college sports. Prager used to compete with Rush being on at 11AM to 2PM. I haven’t listened to Rush much recently, because now Dennis Miller is on in that slot. He has a nice mix of issues and entertainment, but when he’s into something superfluous, I turn to Rush. I also check out Rush when some wacky political happening occurs to get his take.

    In all the years I’ve been listening to these types of shows, I’ve yet to hear anything that I’d consider an example of hateful rhetoric, with the notable exception of Savage, which is why I don’t listen to him. But even with him, it’s not something I’d say is commonplace. But if you say you hate what someone is doing, that’s enough for the leftists to accuse you of expressing hate for the person doing it.


  5. Michelle Bachman might run for president, and she has no chance of getting elected. She is something out of the John Birch Society, far too extreme except for a far right base. Republicans need someone more mainstream, such as a Mitt Romney.
    Demographics are working against the Republicans in the long haul. Young people, Hispanics, Blacks and moderates are turned off by people like Glen, Beck, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin,etc..
    Rush Limbaugh and Fox cable news do well with older conservatives, but very poorly with young adults and Hispanics (and young adults and Hispanics are the electorate of the future).


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