Lawrence O'Donnell reminded us again why hypocrites like Republican presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann with their anti-government, "free-market" rhetoric where they decry the Democrats as being Socialists are nothing but flame throwing hypocrites. They love the kind of Socialism that benefits their big business constituents in their home states.
When it comes to the kind of Socialism that helps out everyday Americans even the playing field with the have-mores in our society, not so much.
As Lawrence reported, Sam Stein at the HuffPo has uncovered a record through the Freedom of Information Act where Bachmann was praising the kind of Socialism she does like.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has built a large part of her conservative appeal on strict opposition to federal intervention in the free market. Her real-time criticism of the Troubled Asset Relief Program earned her plaudits among the base voters who will soon decide Republican primary elections. Her pledge to repeal President Obama's health care law, on grounds that it imposes an across-the-board government solution, has become a focal point of her presidential campaign.
When it comes to the agriculture industry, however, Bachmann's record doesn't match the fiscal conservative hype. A Freedom of Information Act request for communications the Minnesota Republican has had with the Department of Agriculture shows that she leaned heavily on federal officials for help -- never more so than when it came to aiding the pork and dairy producers in her state.
On Oct. 5, 2009, Bachmann wrote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praising him for injecting money into the pork industry through the form of direct government purchases. She went on to request additional assistance.
"Your efforts to stabilize prices through direct government purchasing of pork and dairy products are very much welcomed by the producers in Minnesota, and I would encourage you to take any additional steps necessary to prevent further deterioration of these critical industries, such as making additional commodity purchases and working to expand trade outlets for these and other agricultural goods," Bachmann wrote.
At the time, the pork industry was facing a two-pronged calamity: fallout from the H1N1 influenza crisis and the ripple effects of the recession. Pork producers had lost nearly $4.6 billion in equity since 2007 and Vilsack, sensing greater market doom, had injected funds into the industry at least four times since that spring. In March 2009, the USDA purchased $25 million in pork, in April it made a $50 million purchase and in July it bought 775,000 pounds of ham, according to reports. In September, just one month before receiving Bachmann's letter, Vilsack had signed off on $30 million in additional federal purchases of pork.