Ellison rips Bachmann for her comments on race

DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and the Congressional Black Caucus have sent a letter to GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner asking him if the entire Republican caucus agrees with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s recent statements on the financial crisis and race. Bachmann basically blamed the recent financial crisis on loans “being made on the basis of race, and little else.” Roll Call (subscription required) says she made the comments during hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee:

Republicans, specifically Bachmann, focused on Clinton’s administration and its push to provide loans to low-income minorities as a key reason for the downfall of the housing market.

The Clinton administration turned Freddie and Fannie into a “semi-nationalized monopoly,” Bachmann argued. Specifically, that administration decided to make loans through the Community Reinvestment Act “on the basis of race and often on little else.” Backpedaling on the controversial comments, Bachmann later added that the law was “well-intentioned” because ensuring that minorities have access to housing is important.

Bachmann told the St. Cloud Times that it was an “unfair characterization” of her remarks. The folks at Dump Bachmann (who obviously don’t support Michele Bachmann) uploaded video so you can watch what she says for yourself here.

Bachmann may have to explain her comments tomorrow morning. She’s scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s Morning Joe at 7:30 Central. She is also scheduled to attend a debate with DFLer Elwyn Tinklenberg on Monday night.

  • ““It may in the future inhibit ownership for minorities and communities of color,” she said. “It does not mean that I’m a racist … because I’m critical of that bill.”

    Democrats said Bachmann owed her constituents an apology.”

    EY: It reminds me of this:

    “And again, don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgendered. We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It’s not funny, it’s sad.

    Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle – we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay.” (Source: Michele Bachmann speech “The Effect of Same Sex Marriage on Education”, Edwatch Conference, November 2004)

    Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • The response to Bachmann’s remarks, the reading of an article into the record, is the “Argument from Intimidation” tactic. “Argument from Intimidation” is a logical fallacy supported by psychological pressure. You often see it expressed implicitly or explicitly in the form, “Only a homophobe would believe …” or “Only a diehard socialist would support …” Both statements, one from the left and one from the right, intend to suppress, not expand discussion.

    In the case of the Community Reinvestment Act, the fallacy of intimidation argument takes the form, “Only a racist would question the economic consequences of the Community Reinvestment Act.” If that is the prevailing attitude, how can we ever have an honest discussion of race or make sound economic policy?

    To lay the entire blame for the current financial crisis on the Community Reinvestment Act is foolish; to declare out of bounds discussion of the economic ramifications of government intervention in the housing market through the CRA ensures we won’t get at the root cause of the problem.

    Capital knows no color. The Community Reinvestment Act was one of many government interventions that siphoned capital into housing that otherwise was and would have continued flowing into other sectors of the economy. The low risk-high reward promised by the housing market, secured by the government, created a credit expansion unsupported by real value. The point is, there is an economic impact of the CRA, independent of race, which needs to be recognized and discussed. And if one must be a “racist” to discuss it, that discussion is never going to take place, with dire consequences for race relations and the economy.

  • Doctor Gonzo

    CRA was passed in the 1970s. So an initiative passed thirty years ago caused the current economic crisis, despite it working fine for decades?

    Look, there were plenty of people using NINJA no-documentation loans to get huge mansions. I think those bad loans have a far greater negative effect than people using CRA-encouraged loans to buy houses in North Minneapolis.

  • Bill Prendergast

    Craig Westover is here to help us all out with his distortions and intellectual dishonesty.

    1) Bachmann did read part of “an article into the record” by Terry Jones of Investors Business Daily, but that editorial which Bachmann links to on her personal blog–is not about the role that race played in the mortgage crisis (instead it’s a partisan attack on Democrats.)

    Bachmann can’t cite that article by Terry Jones in support of her racist “lending to minorities caused the crisis” interpretation, because that’s not the thesis of the IBD editorial.

    2) “Craig is also wrong about CRA. Robert Gordon [professor of economics at Northwestern] has pointed

    out that approximately half of the [bad subprime] loans were made by independent mortgage companies that were not regulated by the CRA, and thus had no government obligation to offer credit to minorities.

    In the later part of the crisis, these mortgage companies made subprime loans at twice the rate of CRA banks. Another third of the major subprime lenders were regulated, but had very little CRA

    involvement. Gordon also makes the argument that the weakening of the CRA in 2004 was followed by intensified subprime lending.”

    3) Craig is once again an apologist for Michele Bachmann’s crazy worldview–he took on that role voluntarily a long time ago. It doesn’t matter that a statement by Michele is factually indefensible and morally reprehensible: Craig, as a conservative partisan, will defend her statements and attack her critics for her, as here.

    Look at his previous defenses of previous Bachmann gaffes and his dismissal of people who report those gaffes. He is a spin doctor in journalist’s clothing.