Sarah Palin may not be in the White House, but don’t rejoice too quickly. Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District has their own mini-Palin: Michele “Mad Woman” Bachmann, and most Americans may be shocked to find out that she’s just been elected to her second term in Congress by two percentage points.
Bachmann is a crazy born-again who’s even more fun to watch than Palin. She’s got the hair, the wonderful Fargo-esque accent and penchant for abuse of power. But Bachmann’s filter is nearly non-existent, allowing her to accuse our next president of being an anti-American, leftist terrorist. Sound familiar?
On Chris Matthews’ Hardball, she not only calls Obama anti-American, but she also insinuates that all liberals are “leftist, Anti-Americans.” Furthermore, she wishes members of Congress would be investigated by the media to determine their anti-American views.
If you haven’t already, watch the video here. Notice how Bachmann’s eyes flare open wide every time Matthews asks her a question, like she’s trying to burn a hole in the camera lens. Freaky, huh?
The video got a lot of play and discussion in the days before the election, prompting the RNC to pull ad support, huge amounts of money donated to her Democratic rival, Elwyn Tinklenberg, an apology ad from Bachmann, and a petition to have her censured.
Some even weirder, and less watched, video popped up of Bachmann speaking to her mega-church, Living Word Christian Center. She said God is calling us to wage war on radical Islam:
“How will our nation deal with this threat of radical Islam? There’s so much at stake, but we listen to the Lord and we decide we’re going to suit up, we’re going to sign up, we’re going to be hot for God, and we’re going to do what He is calling us to do!”
Hmm… that has a familiar ring to it too.
But that’s not all. On a personal level, God apparently called Bachmann to marry someone she didn’t really like at all, as well as to run for Congress.
Also like Palin, Bachmann thinks global warming is “voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”
Bachmann also said that people like to work two jobs, going so far as to invent a new word to assert this (workingest does sound kind of like nuke-you-ler).
She calls herself a “Joe the Plumber,” though she has a house worth more than $1 million. How does she justify this statement? Well, she and her husband own a “small business,” Bachmann & Associates.
Michele’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, is the president of the company, which is a Christian therapy center. Marcus is a “therapist” with a doctorate in psychology from an online college, and it is unclear whether or not he’s licensed. On his bio, he says “Christ is the Almighty Counselor,” and there are indications that the organization uses the Christian therapy to “un-gay” homosexual clients. That would certainly fit with Michele’s anti-gay stance.
After her infamous diatribe against Obama on MSNBC, Bachmann flip-flopped on and off the electoral bandwagon. In an interview with Politico, she told them she’s “extremely grateful” for Obama’s win, insisting that there is neither such a thing as racism in her district, nor is race a motivating factor for McCain supporters.
However, her ideas of where the subprime debacle came from hint that Bachmann might not be all that innocent when it comes to stirring racial tension.
She sounded totally different when talking about the election on conservative radio, however. She went on the Mark Levin Show this week, or should I say went off?
Bachmann compared Obama’s pick of Rep. Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff to organized crime, saying The Sopranos are in the White House. She also made it clear she won‘t be working with the new administration, calling it “day one of the assault of socialism.”
And this comes less than a month after she told The Associated Press a bizarre tale about what she would do if Obama came to her district. From the Minnesota Independent:
In 2007, video of Bachmann lingering on President Bush’s shoulder and giving him a kiss during the State of the Union Speech made waves in Minnesota media. Bachmann is done kissing Bush it seems, but she’s not done kissing presidents.
“If the presidency would somehow go to Barack Obama, I would welcome him to the 6th District as well,” Bachmann said to reporters after the debate. “As a matter of fact, I would put my hand on his shoulder and give him a kiss if he wanted to.”
This lady is clearly a little off. But remember, Minnesotans have had two years to watch her act on the national stage. How does a woman such as this get re-elected in the longest-running blue state in the nation, one that went 54 percent for Obama?
First, it’s important to remember that there was a significant dent in the liberal base by a third-party candidate. Third parties are relatively common in the state that brought us Gov. Jesse Ventura. In addition, Minnesota voters are known to split their tickets at the ballot box, accounting for some more of that differentiation.
Second, as one reader of ours wrote in, you have to look at the advertising:
“Millions of voters outside the ultra-conservative Sixth District were never exposed to an onslaught of cleverly contrived television ads featuring ‘Mommy Michele’ hugging the kiddies, or others portraying Bachmann as a kind of modern-day Joan of Arc, the God-fearing champion of downtrodden taxpayers… All Bachmann and her handlers had to do was keep their expensive, well-oiled propaganda machine running at full speed until election day. By the time Tinklenberg could finally afford to start broadcasting his campaign messages, they were drowned out by a flurry of vicious, misleading attack ads — approved, of course, by a woman who admits she ‘adores’ Ann Coulter.”
As a born-and-raised Minnesotan, I have to say Bachmann’s re-election stings on a personal level. While I never lived in her district or anyplace that could be described as rural Minnesota, there are elements of the big city (or mini apple?) in her support base. Take for instance my favorite hack publication, the Star Tribune. As the biggest newspaper in the Twin Cities, it has a lot of power, which was willfully misused on supporting Bachmann’s campaign. Just after her re-election, the Strib praised Bachmann’s “tough talk.” Apparently, being tough includes lying invective. And don’t get me started on Sen. Norm Coleman’s coattails.
Another part of the equation is cultural geography. The Sixth Congressional District is comprised of both suburbs and rural areas, hugging the top of the Twin Cities’ inner ring suburbs. In some ways, the sprawl that surrounds the Twin Cities metro area is more conservative than the truly rural areas.
The Iron Range, which brought us the late, great liberal Sen. Paul Wellstone, is more rugged and individualistic. Those people aren’t interested in what happens in other people’s bedrooms. There’s a strong element of populism to the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, and residents can smell a fake coming from miles away. Grandstanding and preaching don’t play well there, making it harder for a religious nut job to get elected in those areas.
The strip malls and mini-mansions of Woodbury and the like are different. Evangelizing can play well out there. Plus, the new subdivisions popping up all over attract more conservative neighbors from economically flagging states such as the Dakotas.
Some say the 2010 Census could eliminate Bachmann’s district altogether. Bachmann is said to be considering a senatorial or gubernatorial run. Much like Palin’s promise to run for president in 2012, I think this threat is emptier than either of them can possibly comprehend just yet.