“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.