Yesterday, the Young Americans for Liberty sponsored an event at the University of Minnesota that brought together the odd pairing of Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Ron Paul (R-TX). Bachmann solicited Paul for the event, hoping that his presence would help her attract support from young conservatives and libertarians.
Writing for The Daily Beast, Maureen O’Connor notes that the event melded two “wingnut worlds“: “the fanatically religious Bush-era neocon, a flag-waving patriot who likens gay sex to bestiality and fantasizes about lobbing nukes at Iran” and the libertarian “Ron Paul Revolution.” Indeed, for Bachmann, the presence of Paul created numerous awkward moments, particularly as the Texas congressman sermonized at length about his isolationist views. For example, Paul said:
— We should never go to war if they’re telling us a lie about what’s happening. … We took the position, over my strong objection, we took the position that we had to have regime change in Iraq.
— What they’re getting ready to do is put very, very strong sanctions on Iran. … But sanctions, and blockades, and prevention like this is an act of war.
— The proper foreign policy under the Constitution is non-intervention and mind our own business.
— I say bring all the troops home — Japan, Korea, and Germany.
For Bachmann — a typical neoconservative on foreign policy issues — Paul’s rhetoric stunned her into stone-cold silence. O’Connor describes the scene:
As Paul spoke passionately about ending all military operations and keeping government out of people’s “lifestyles,” a lone heckler began to shout, “Tell her!” Bachmann remained serene, hands folded in her lap, facing Paul. Bringing up Obama’s announcement that Iran had secret underground nuclear facilities, Paul announced that he had had enough of “fear-mongering” for the sake of the “military-industrial complex.” Bachmann, who once advocated nuking Iran, kept her eyes trained on Paul as her heckler repeated, “Tell her! Tell Michele! Tell her!”
Bachmann issued a very simple statement saying that she believes in “the mission of our men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The UpTake has posted video of Ron Paul’s speech last night. Watch it: