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 …)
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.