Michele Bachmann’s Orwellian language exposed

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I’ve begun to notice some interesting and specific word choices coming from Michele Bachmann. Here is a prime example from Monday night’s GOP debate (regarding the controversy over HPV vaccination mandates):

“… to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong. That should never be done. It’s a violation of a liberty interest.”

Let’s parse this statement.

First, Bachmann makes sure to call these girls “innocent” — which is a presumption — but hopefully, a safe one. More concerning is her implication that receiving a vaccination — which could prevent cervical cancer — is somehow taking away their innocence. (She also calls 12-year-old girls “little,” but that’s probably persnickety to protest.)

As The Hill’s Christian Heinze noted earlier today on Twitter, Bachmann also referred to the vaccination as a “government injection.” This seems like an awkward and odd way to describe it. How much do you want to bet a poll or focus group says that most Americans like “vaccinations,” but hate “government injections”?

Of course, it wouldn’t have sounded so persuasive if Bachmann had said this, instead: “… to have young women encouraged — unless their parents opt-out, of course — to receive a vaccination that might prevent cervical cancer one day — is just flat out wrong …”

Finally, Bachmann concluded by dropping a legal term that most Americans are unfamiliar with, “liberty interest.” This essentially means depriving someone of their rights without due process of law — which is what she is accusing Perry of doing. Did Bachmann use this term because it makes her sound smart, or because it proves she has “a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary?” Or is this some sort of dog whistle to Glenn Beck-listening tea party folks?

The whole thing sounds contrived and focus grouped to me.

Matt K. Lewis