The Bachmann Effect

“The Bachmann Effect” is now officially a phenomenon.

Danny Thomas made the spit take famous, in his TV show Make Room for Daddy. He’s always be drinking a cup of coffee when someone would say something to which he would react with such great and sudden incredulity as to suffer a visceral reaction making it impossible for him to do anything other than spit the coffee out in an impressive atomized spray. An excellent example of a spit take is in the following video, which is a promo form the re-make of Make Room for Daddy, called Make Room for Granddaddy. It’s at 30 to 32 seconds, and it is not Danny Thomas who pulls the spit take. Which in this case, makes it even better for various reasons.

The Dump Michele Bachmann web site documents Eric Kleefeld’s description of the Minnesota version of the Danny Thomas Spit Take. This is now called The Bachmann Effect, and it is different for two reasons. First, it is not Bachmann that does the take, but rather, Bachmann induces the take in another person. Second, only sometimes does coffee or some other liquid get atomized into the atmosphere. Usually, the person being Bachmanned is not taking a drink at the moment, so the spit take is something we see in the eyes and other aspects of facial expression.

This is so regular that I think it may in fact be a freshly discovered limbic response … a new emotion, as it were.

Check out the following video. First we have Michele Bachmann questioning Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. It is rather amazing that they would let her in the same room with actual cabinet officials, but they did. Watch Geithner’s facial expression when he realizes what she is really asking. This is the eyebrow drop at 24.5 to 25 seconds. Geithner is quick.

Then, we have the classic moment during a public discussion of immigration during the last election campaign. At 59 Seconds, El Tinklenberg, the Democratic Candidate running against Bachmann, gives us one of the greatest spit-takes ever seen in a national-level election, in reaction to Michele Bachmann’s statement characterizing Tinklenberg’s position in the exact opposite way he had characterized it moments earlier.

Now, to be fair, this is an edited tape. The truth is that Tinklenberg had articulated his position several minutes, not several seconds, earlier. We may be asking too much for Congresswoman Bachmann to remember that far into the past.

In the next bit, it is hard to pinpoint exactly when James Carville’s brain gets around the fact that Michele Bachmann is telling him that he ought to start supporting women who are running for office. But it does, seemingly in stages. Actually, it might be the case that the Bachmann Effect kicks in 1:38 and the rest of the facial contortions are minor strokes.

The Bachmann Effect.

Comments

  1. #1 Inoculated Mind
    March 25, 2009

    It appears that this time the rats are the last to leave the ship. I really like the question that she asked at the beginning about the constitution. His expression! I could determine her IQ by subtracting the number of folds on his forehead from 180: 41.

    I think the second guy should have actually spat.

  2. #2 24AheadDotCom
    March 25, 2009

    The second segment is misleading and shows how little TPM understands about the issue.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    March 25, 2009

    24ahead: You could not be more wrong. Search my blog, somewhere you’ll find the entire video.

    It is not really OK to say, post hoc, that “Bachmann says she wants to secure the border and really wants to” and “Tinklenberg says he wants to secure the border but doesn’t really want to.”

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    March 25, 2009

    Actually, Greg, I think you have a pointer to it on my blog, from one of the Bachmann carnivals. Easily found in either place categorized under Bachmann, though.

    I love how 24 wants to make it about a policy difference when it’s very clear from the video (and more clear in the long form) that Bachmann wasn’t paying the least attention to what Tinklenberg was saying.

  5. #5 HennepinCountyLawyer
    March 25, 2009

    OK, maybe I’m missing something, but it looks to me like Bachmann asked a legitimate question (even a stopped clock is right twice a day), and Geithner never answered it. He kept talking about statutory authority, and never answered the constitutional question.

    There’s more than one (fairly easy) legitimate answer to the constitutional question, but Geithner never addressed the question.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    March 25, 2009

    He did answer the constitutional question.

    “The congress legislated, in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act ….” etc. etc. Right out of the gate.

    When she didn’t get it he had to try a couple of different ways.

  7. #7 Mankel
    March 25, 2009

    Besides a birth certificate for presidential candidates, ¿What about demanding IQ certificates for House representatives? Not for banning anyone, but just for the people to know.

  8. #8 Andrew
    March 25, 2009

    How do you make your question mark go upside down like that?

  9. #9 Mankel
    March 25, 2009

    Select the Spanish keyboard in your task bar (Windows) and you’ll find it instead of the “+” sign. In the same key without “Shift” you’ll find ¡The opening exclamation mark!

    PS: Additionally, you will be able to type the marvelous “ñ” and the great “ç”.

  10. #10 Brian X
    March 25, 2009

    That’s one thing I don’t like about using non-Mac platforms — nobody else seems to have a dead-simple out-of-the-box way of setting up a keyboard layout. I can type almost anything in a Latin-1 language without having to switch keyboard layouts on a Mac, but no other platform seems to like dead keys.

  11. #11 24AheadDotCom
    March 25, 2009

    1. The post linked in my previous comment linked to the full video.

    2. I’ve written literally thousands of posts about the general issue since 2002. I’ve very familiar with the difference between those who support “enforcement” and those who actually support enforcement.

  12. #12 HennepinCountyLawyer
    March 25, 2009

    I thought she was asking what authority the Congress has under the constitution to give that authority to the executive branch. Maybe I’m giving her too much credit.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    March 25, 2009

    Oh, my goodness, it is very hard to type while laughing so hard …. yes, yes, you were giving her … ah, I can’t stand it. Hold on a second, got to wipe the tears out of my eyes. Right, what was I saying? Oh yeah, ha! That is hysterical.. yes yes yes. Too much credit indeed. Whooo…. is that funny. Oh crap, my side hurts.

  14. #14 rsm
    March 25, 2009

    Thank you for the laughter. Most appreciated. Now please figure out a way to get her out of congress. Disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe that woman.

    If I actually lived in Minn I don’t think I’d be laughing, I’d probably be bawling my eyes out while drowning out her voice with rotgut rye whiskey.

  15. #15 Stephanie Z
    March 25, 2009

    rsm, sometimes you laugh simply because the alternative is appalling.

  16. #16 D. C. Sessions
    March 26, 2009

    rsometimes you laugh simply because the alternative is appalling.

    For you Yankees, there’s a bit of old Southern wisdom on the subject:

    “If’n I don’ laugh, I’s sure as shit stinks gwan cry.”

Current ye@r *