Do the political junkies on your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa list have you stumped?
Vowed to buy local this year?
Do you fantasize about universes in which bloggers with a history of out reporting so-called Legacy Media are periodically rewarded with sweetly timed publishing contracts?
Then bust on down to your local bookseller and pick up a copy of “The Madness of Michele Bachmann: A Broad-Minded Survey of a Small-Minded Candidate,” which hits store shelves today. Or wait until 2 p.m. this Saturday, when the book’s three authors will be signing copies at Common Good Books, 165 Western Ave. N. in Saint Paul.
The book is a compilation of the greatest hits from the files of DumpBachmann.com, the 7-year-old blog maintained by Ken Avidor, Karl Bremer and Eva Young, who also pen (and draw) the Vennes Info blog, Ripple in Stillwater and Lloydletta’s Nooz, respectively.
Finders of fact, but hardly neutral
The three have been attending Bachmann appearances, clipping her letters to community newspaper editors and enduring her appearances on late-night talk radio for more than a decade, and blogging about it since Bachmann’s first election to Congress.
They’re finders of fact, but hardly neutral: Think exceptionally critical Bachmann wiki.
DumpBachmann has long been popular with the Internet’s most impassioned politically minded denizens, but it gained national prominence — hence the book contract — when Bachmann began campaigning for president. Suddenly Big Media (and middling media, like me) was consulting the archive on any number of topics. No less than the Washington Post followed one item just this week.
Bachmann’s relationship to radio minister Bradlee Dean Smith? They’ve been archiving audio for years. Her attempt to score a pardon for Tom Petters’ Ponzi associate Frank Vennes? Documented digitally. Her remarks about the infamous George Bush kiss? Check.
So what is an item about a political book doing in an education column? Former home schooler Bachmann got her start as a right-wing education activist, and many of the efforts that predate her elevation to the national scene involved Minnesota schools.
Some unreported tidbits
One chapter of “The Madness of Michele Bachmann” is dedicated entirely to education, and it’s sprinkled with tidbits that mostly have yet to be reported elsewhere.
Did you know that in her first congressional campaign, the Sixth District representative raised $57,000 from donors associated with the Alliance for the Separation of School and State (ASSS — not kidding), a national organization that advocates for an end to all public education?
Or this one, which I’m pretty sure I’d never heard before: In association with a free academic speech bill, Bachmann solicited college students for stories about their liberal instructors.
In truth, however, Bachmann’s roots as an education advocate, and her involvement with the lobbying group EdWatch, run so deep that the topic permeates the book, which also has chapters on Bathroomgate, “Bachmann’s Mean Streak” (MinnPost’s Eric Black is name-checked several times) and “Fellow Travelers.”
One last note: If you aren’t a DumpBachmann reader but recognize Ken Avidor’s name, you’ve likely seen his work as a visual artist. His sketches of Tom Petters’ stranger-than-fiction trial were the topic of a MinnPost profile last year.
Indeed, if you want to gild your gift-giving lily, you can visit the blog and download a set of his full-color Dump Bachmann trading cards.