With Robin Williams out of commission after heart surgery, for laughs we will need to make do with Michelle Bachmann.
Bachmann, of course, is one those high-dudgeon Republicans who has helped the GOP earn the reputation that it enjoys today. You may recall that, last fall, the Minnesota congresswoman called for a government investigation of those Americans she deemed to be unpatriotic - a remark that turned her cushy re-election race into a veritable nail-biter. Then, a couple weeks ago, she came out against President Obama's cap-and-trade energy proposal by declaring, "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue" (although she later went on Fox News to clarify her remark, saying that she wants "an orderly revolution").
But her latest foray is arguably her finest. She's standing up for the dollar, trying to ensure that the dollar remains the official currency inside the United States, and sponsoring legislation to save it.
You may not have been aware that the dollar was endangered. Actually, it isn't.
You may not have been thinking about how, one fine morning at the 7-11, you might dig into your pocket for coins, only to find pesos or yen in the palm of your hand. Actually, you shouldn't.
There is no move afoot to replace the dollar as the domestic currency. But, as we well know, certain denizens of the fringe do not necessarily traffic in reality.
Bachmann, for instance. Two night ago, I was watching Glenn Beck's TV show - hey, it's my job - and there she was, talking up her proposed constitutional amendment, which is designed to bar Obama from nixing the buck and substituting some kind of new global currency. It turns out she has 30 House Republican co-sponsors.
Beck was naturally aghast that the bill was not more popular. He told her, "I can't believe that you've only got 30 co-sponsors. I mean, how is it you could walk around going, 'I just - this is just, hey save the dollar,' and only 30 people are willing to say, 'Eh, that sounds like a good thing, let's give that a shot."
It's easy to trace what set her off. It was the usual pattern of delusion:
Early last week, a Chinese official floated the idea of creating an "international reserve currency," to be controlled by the International Monetary Fund, with the objective of "safeguarding global economic and financial stability." That's all part of a larger discussion among foreign countries about how to best handle and transact their reserves.
The Drudge Report quickly and predictably posted the headline, "Beijing to Pitch Global Currency," thereby implying that China wants us to pull all the dead presidents out of our wallets. Shortly thereafter, Bachmann sounded the alarm - as did Glenn Beck, who, in his first bite of the apple, warned his audience about "a movement to tie the entire globe together into one big government." And, within hours, a Fox News reporter asked Obama whether he supports a move toward a global currency that would be used by everyone domestically. (Obama: "I don't believe there's a need for a global currency." No doubt some will deem his denial to be part of the conspiracy.)
What we have here, of course, is a fresh example of Republicans chasing phantoms, just like the purported liberal campaign to kill talk radio; the purported liberal war on Christmas; the purported epidemic of flag-burning. Bachmann is just another symptom of a party that is a tad substance-challenged...or, as she might fear to put it, a day late and a euro short.