It seems that last winter, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, her husband, Marcus, and their children applied to become citizens of Switzerland, an option that is open to them under Swiss law because the parents of Marcus Bachmann had both been Swiss citizens. (The Bachmann family kept their American citizenship.)
I can only imagine the freakout on the right if a prominent Democratic legislator — a one-time candidate for president with a significant following — decided that American citizenship wasn’t good enough and had pledged dual loyalties to a European country that allows same-sex marriage and offers universal health care with compulsory health insurance.
Oh, the harrumphing we would see.
As it is, the case creates a head-hurting degree of cognitive dissonance for many conservatives that a dose of Goody’s headache powder just can’t cure. On the one hand, this is a clear act of disloyalty! On the other hand, it’s Michele Bachmann!
Take the reaction of Mark Krikorian, head of the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies and a prominent figure in conservative circles. Just to let you know where he’s coming from, Krikorian actually argued back in 2009 that Americans shouldn’t “defer” to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the pronunciation of her name. Instead, we should insist on what he called “the natural English pronunciation, SO-tuh-my-er, like Niedermeyer,” because “there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him.”
In other words, “Don’t tell us what your name is. We’ll tell YOU what your name is.”
In this case, Krikorian is himself suffering competing loyalties. He considers Bachmann “highly capable and no doubt a patriot” (although he also acknowledges that “I don’t think she’s ready to be president”). But he’s deeply offended by what he calls “a formal declaration of divided allegiance, civic bigamy, if you will.”
So how does Krikorian resolve his cognitive dissonance? Like this:
“The fact that even a patriot like Bachmann would do something like this is testament to how thoroughly the moral relativism of the post-national Left has permeated our culture.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic.
– Jay Bookman