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Michele Bachmann: The Empress of Infamy or Teflon Barbie

As a cloud of dust follows Pig-Pen, a cloud of foo poos, foe pees, four paws … augh … you know what I mean, follow Michele Bachmann. Who is this gaffe-prone generator of Palinisms gone wild and for the love of loons, lakes and lutefisk how did she become The Empress of Minnesotan Infamy?

A guy (me) leaves his birth state for a mere 30 years and it falls apart. Land O’ Lakes?  Land O’ Flakes & Outtakes.

Minnesotan: practical, forthright, centrist, parsimonious, understated, stoic, collaborative, egalitarian, nice, “Minnesota nice.” Life, as footnoted on the Kensington Runestone, is to be lived within two standard deviations of the mean.

Ergo: Pawlenty (Rolvaag, Humphrey, Mondale, Carlson and, yes, Ventura …)

Outlier: Bachmann.

Favorite historical blunder: “The very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. … Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country” is unfortunately, not atypical. It appears the J.D. and LL.M. isn’t familiar with the Federalist Papers (Hint: No. 54) nor the methods of determining original intent by the legal scholars she so admires.

Favorite case of mistaken identity: She kicked off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa. Home, so she thought, of the actor John Wayne. Wrong Wayne. Serial killers do not a good political referent become.

Favorite economic prescription/prediction: If elected, $1.79 for a gallon of gas. She thinks therefore it will be.

Favorite it might have been wise to “think before you speak and read before you think” demonstration of absurd allegations: The president’s trip to Asia last November was “expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day (a 2,000 person presidential entourage, the diversion of 34 Navy ships, 870 5-star hotel rooms in India…).”

[Full Disclosure: Bachmann graduated from Anoka High School in ’74. I’m a Mounds View High School Mustang, class of ’74. To say there was no love lost between the rival suburban athletic programs north of the Twin Cities would not be inaccurate. Mounds View won the state basketball championship in ’72 (AA). Anoka did the same in ’73. My girlfriend from the fall of ’73 to the fall of ’75 was Lucy, from Anoka. Like Bachmann, she was a varsity cheerleader. The breakup wasn’t completely mutual.]

What motivated me (other than 30+-year-old teenage matters of life and death) to spend a little time writing down a few thoughts about a place that I’ve only visited a handful of times in 30 years?

When Bachmann talks, people listen, and more often than not, the standing of all things Minnesota suffer, expatriates included. “Reputation, reputation, reputation. Oh, I have lost my reputation (Cassio).”

Coda: Bachmann channels Ronald Reagan periodically. So she asserts. I’ll give her this. She is today’s version of the Teflon “Gipper.” Troubles abound and surround. Nothing sticks. An Empress not attired. Teflon Barbie marches on.

Stephen V. Anderson is more than a little grateful his formative years were spent in Minnesota. He left Minnesota in 1979 after attending Bethel College. He teaches criminal justice and public administration at the State University of New York at Albany.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/15/2011 - 09:35 am.

    (Obviously) she is saying what people want to hear. Why (some) people are willing to accept what she says is the real problem.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/15/2011 - 10:34 am.

    I, too, shudder to think that this woman, who could NOT win a statewide race, and whose Congressional District groups together a very substantial portion of Minnesota’s most rabidly antiabortion residents (who will re-elect her as long as she continues to run, no matter how insane or ignorant she reveals herself to be, because the DFL will NEVER put up an equally antiabortion candidate),…

    has come to define Minnesota in the eyes of our nation and the world.

    Personally, I think Ms. Bachmann is VERY damaging to Minnesota’s business climate, because if I were the owner or CEO of the kind of high tech, needs-highly-educated, creative and intelligent employees business that would sell it’s technologies to the world and create large numbers of well-paying jobs with benefits,…

    I’d look at Ms. Bachmann and conclude that Minnesota is filled with exactly the kinds of rigid, opinionated-but-ignorant, impossible-to-educate employees that would be useless to me,…

    and locate my business somewhere (anywhere) else.

  3. Submitted by myles spicer on 09/15/2011 - 02:26 pm.

    Over the years, I have written numerous articles, op-eds, and commentaries on Bachamnn — mostly with the thought: “Why a liberal LOVES Michele Bachmann”.

    They usually end like this (worthy of reprising for this Community Voices):

    So, why would a flaming liberal “love” Michele Bachmann? Here are five good reasons. First, she adds “color” to the political scene in an otherwise drab post election period (red meat for the talk shows). Secondly, she is a strong voice for the Republican Party’s right wing – the one that now seems to control the party – and that represents volume and clarity for the out-of-touch GOP positions. Third, she is a coalescing factor for the Dems – uniting them in their quest for reform of past practices. Fourth, she brings us news from the “Bizarro World” – how else would you know what is happening down there, I ask you? And finally, as was stated once in the Huffington Post: “Michele Bachmann is the gift that keeps on giving”. Expertise in theology, science, chemistry, finance, world affairs, and even sexual dysfunction; Michele is truly one-of-a-kind. All in all…you just gotta “love” that lady!

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