MinnPost's education reporting is made possible by a grant from the Bush Foundation.

‘Madness of Michele’ includes much about Bachmann on education

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.

Ken Avidor with "The Madness of Michele Bachmann: A Broad-Minded Survey of a Small-Minded Candidate."
Courtesy of Ken Avidor
Ken Avidor with “The Madness of Michele Bachmann: A Broad-Minded Survey of a Small-Minded Candidate.”

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.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/06/2011 - 12:33 pm.

    All because she’s a Christian woman. Pretty pathetic.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/06/2011 - 02:10 pm.

    As for other unreported tidbits, I think it’s worth noting who MinnPost’s education expert has recommended as a good source of information:


    Ken “Avidor” changed his name from Ken “Weiner” shortly after he left his job as art director for “Screw” and “Punk” magazines.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2011 - 03:35 pm.

    The usual rightie irrelevancies.
    Thanks boys.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/06/2011 - 03:47 pm.

    Mrs. Bachmann (and Mr. Tester) continue to provide fine illustrations of the wisdom of our nation’s founders when they included the “establishment clause” in the First Amendment. I’m no more interested in Christian theocracy than I am in Muslim theocracy, or any other kind of theocracy. Meanwhile, I look forward to some (any) supporting evidence from Mr. Tester regarding Mrs. Bachmann’s alleged persecution “…all because she’s a Christian woman.” The allegation, in itself, is pathetic.

    And Mr. Swift, true to his tradition, offers us another red herring. If Mr. Avidor’s reporting is accurate, and the facts he reports are correct, it doesn’t matter that he used to be an art director, or for whom. If his reporting is not accurate, and his “facts” prove to be as often in error as Mrs. Bachmann’s, then he will have earned his criticism.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/06/2011 - 04:37 pm.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

    or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

  6. Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 12/06/2011 - 06:00 pm.

    That is why Democrats would never elect a Christian woman, like Hillary Clinton or Betty McCollum, to anything.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/06/2011 - 09:10 pm.

    #1 Ah Yes Christian Women: in other words:
    Sharia Law with a christian twist!

    #5 Meaning you don’t have a right to legislate your religious bias’s into law!

  8. Submitted by Joe Musich on 12/06/2011 - 09:54 pm.

    Hey righties Avidor has done something and you have accomplished what exactly?

  9. Submitted by Jerilyn Jackson on 12/07/2011 - 02:33 pm.

    Many of us Stillwaterites have for years been fascinated (and horrified) Bachmann watchers.This is in particular because of her zealous and ruthless brand of “Christianity.” Not exactly based on WWJD!

  10. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/07/2011 - 03:06 pm.

    Regarding Mickey Bachmann’s “Christianity:” if Jesus were to return to earth and preach the same message he did the first time around which he certainly would,…

    (the hatred toward the Roman Empire demonstrated by John of Patmos in his “Revelation,” and his call for all fellow Christians of his day to rise up and destroy it notwithstanding)

    Ms. Bachmann and her “Christian Conservative” friends would line up to take turns whipping Jesus’ bare back bloody, then rejoice as they tortured him to death all over again.

    Jesus was, is, and will forever be a “prince of peace.” His first visit to earth to live among humans was God’s true revelation to humanity.

    That so many “conservative” “Christians,” such as Ms. Bachmann want him to return as a prince of war to punish all THEIR enemies is a testament to their rejection of Jesus’ Gospel message of love and peace in favor of a violent message of their own making,…

    A message which reflects the sad sickness within their own souls.

    That she would have as many parents as possible educate their children at home so that they could be exposed to nothing but her false gospel of hatred and retribution is a testament to the desperate belief of so many Christians that, even if God disagrees with them, they must STILL be correct because so many other like-minded HUMANS agree with them.

  11. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 12/15/2011 - 09:06 pm.

    “No religious test…shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust in the state. No religious test…shall be required as a qualification of any voter at any election in this state; nor shall any person be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinion upon the subject of religion.” Minnesota Constitution, Article I, Section 17.

    “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
    United States Constitution, Article VI.

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