Within a year, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has gone from a little known congresswoman to a being figure on the far right. Bachmann has accomplished this by working the media, especially the cable news networks, in order to raise her profile and campaign cash.
On October 14th, the prestigious New York Times featured an article by Monica Davey about the notorious Congresswoman from Minnesota on their front page, under the headline “A G.O.P. Agitator Not Named Palin.”
As a Minnesota resident who formerly resided in Bachmann’s 6th District, I am one of the many who deplore her statements for their inaccuracy and sensationalism. Reporter Davey in the New York Times cleverly notes not only that Bachmann has been commercialized as a calendar pin-up, and an action figure / doll (one that has NOT been a big seller). The last action figure we had in Minnesota of a politician was colorful Independent Governor Jesse Ventura; the difference is, his figure was actually popular, a good seller.
Davey quotes the non-partisan blog Smart News from the University of Minnesota, noting Bachmann has managed to be on national cable news shows, on average, every NINE DAYS. Since Bachmann jammed both feet into her mouth on Chris Matthews’ Hardball with her comments about the un-American views of members of the federal legislative branch, you can certainly bet that MSNBC is not one of those cable news networks. That figure apparently doesn’t take into account, in addition, her many, many conservative talk radio interviews both national and local, or her other media appearances. Bachmann loves the limelight.
She was recently the subject of one of the newspapers in her own district, the much smaller St. Cloud Times, which noted, without providing any analysis of the source of her funding, “The contributions give Bachman $617,000 to spend on the campaign as it moves forward into the fall and winter. Today is the deadline for federal candidates to file their financial reports.
In addition, Bachmann raised $110,000 Wednesday in a national appeal through e-mail, the social networking Web site Twitter and a radio appearance with conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. That money will be reported in fourth quarter fundraising in January.”
Bachmann has been notorious for receiving enormous funding from not only outside her district, but outside of the state of Minnesota, a fact which belies her supposed popularity within her own district. I doubt that the fundraiser Glenn Beck offered to host would take place in Minnesota – not enough potential money. While many Republicans cringe at Bachmann’s antics, the more extreme factions of the right wing continue funding her extreme behavior.
In contrast, Bachmann has two opponents in her district that will face off in the primary. Their fundraising was also covered by the St. Cloud Times, although lacking Bachmann’s notoriety, they rated one sentence each combined into one paragraph, contrasted to Bachmann’s three paragraphs and her name in the headline. “State Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud and Maureen Reed of Grant is vying for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination to challenge Bachmann. Clark raised $308,000 and Reed $130,000 in the past three months.” Bachmann’s opponent from 2008 is not running against her in the next election, despite losing in a fairly close race.
Bachmann loves the attention as a platform for her inaccuracies, rather than as an opportunity to be a good Congresswoman who informs on issues. Davey concludes her article with a quote from a well-known local right wing figure in Minnesota, King Banion of St. Cloud, who is quoted as saying “I think there are a lot of people who want straight talk and she appeals to them.”
What Davey omitted to add was that Bachmann is not well known for straight talk, as evidenced by the shameful number of instances where Bachmann apparently intentionally misinforms, from ACORN’s role in the 1020 Census to her recent misleading and inaccurate statements about the effects of clinics in schools resulting in 13 year olds getting abortions without parental knowledge. Bachmann is known for anything BUT straight talk, not in Minnesota, not in Washington DC, or anywhere in the various media that covers her idiocy.
Besides her rabid opposition to ACORN, Bachmann is one of those conservatives who starts foaming at the mouth over Planned Parenthood, and is one of those right wingers who likes to frighten people about sex with lies. Maybe it’s just my impression, but the right seems to be more comfortable with violence than they are with the subject of sex, while the left seems just the opposite. Here is another recent stupid statement by Bachmann, trying to perpetuate fear about health care reform on CSPAN.
“But there’s something that hasn’t been talked about much, and it’s the whole idea of school-based clinics in schools all across America. And that’s in H.R. 3200.
Now, this would raise the hackles on the necks of school parents all across this country when they understand section 2511 of H.R. 3200. The House government takeover of health care bill has a section called school-based health clinics. It would allow a nonprofit health agency–just say Planned Parenthood because that’s what this is written for. Again, we need to be serious. Planned Parenthood is an organization that is the largest abortion provider in the United States. And written into this bill is a provision whereby Planned Parenthood could become the proprietor for school-based clinics in every school across the United States. These have been more accurately called school sex clinics.
One of the very first school sex clinics that were put into this country was in St. Paul, Minnesota. And it was told to the families and the parents that this would actually reduce pregnancy. Of course we knew it wouldn’t reduce pregnancy. It increased pregnancy. It increased sexually transmitted diseases. It was a disaster for young women in St. Paul public schools. ”
Bachmann also claims, wrongly, “Does that mean that someone’s 13-year old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back, and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser. They don’t know any different. ”
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association