Sunday, June 19, 2011

Is Stillwater the next Wasilla?

By Karl Bremer

With Michele Bachmann’s entry into the 2012 presidential race, is her hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota, about to suffer the fate of Sarah Palin’s Wasilla, Alaska? If media response in my inbox is any indication, the answer is yes.

Just in the days since Bachmann cleverly hijacked the first GOP debate of the 2012 campaign with the hardly surprising news that she had filed papers to be a candidate, I’ve been contacted by no less than four members of the national and international press about Bachmann’s background. Several already have visited Stillwater and more are on their way. The question on all of their minds is: What on earth kind of people elected Michele Bachmann?

In defense of my own hometown of Stillwater, I have to inform them that if they are looking for the typical Bachmann Teabagger voter, they are more likely to find them elsewhere in the 6th District, since Bachmann has failed to carry Stillwater in any of her three congressional races. In fact, it wasn’t until she moved to ultraconservative West Lakeland Township, which went for Tom Emmer over Mark Dayton by a margin of more than 2:1 in 2010, that Bachmann ever managed to even carry her own precinct.

So I steer them to Wright County on the west side of the district, home of Bachmann’s hateful anti-gay “minister” pal “Bradlee Dean” and failed gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, where Bachmann won handily in virtually every precinct. Nonetheless, the parade of media to the Birthplace of Minnesota on the St. Croix is likely to continue.

Guess which pom-pom girl is running for president.
Perhaps they would be better off going to Anoka, where Bachmann went to high school (and was a cheerleader). The Anoka-Hennepin District is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most hostile school districts in the state to gay students, so that might be a good place to start if they’re looking for what shaped Bachmann’s virulent homophobia.

Reporters also might want to look up Stillwater lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain while they’re in town. He and Michele have been tight for years, and he probably introduced her to some of her fat-cat donors, like his lobbying client “Bobby Thompson.” They might ask Ed if he’s seen his pal “Bobby” as some other folks are looking for him, too.

Bachmann can run but she cannot hide from the harsh scrutiny of the national and international media that have begun to take notice of her. She’s now having to face questions about some of the issues the local media have conveniently given her a pass on for years.

Some reporters have begun challenging Bachmann’s oft-repeated claim of having “raised” 23 foster children. Others are nosing around husband and chief political strategist Marcus Bachmann's Christian counseling clinic, long rumored to be a practitioner of “curing” gays. Still others are amazed at the paucity of legislative accomplishments Bachmann has had as a state senator or congresswoman as they search for evidence of her qualifications to be president.

We can only hope that Stillwater will fare somewhat better under the glare of the media spotlight than the backwater Alaskan town of Wasilla. Democratic operative and good ol’ boy James Carville in 2008 famously compared Palin’s Wasilla City Hall to a south Louisiana bait shop in the video below (go to 6:00).

Becoming known as the hometown of a divisive and extremist politician like Michele Bachmann isn’t likely to endear Stillwater to anyone but her theocratic, homophobic base. Fortunately, they won’t find the welcome mat rolled out for them here. Stillwater is better than that.

Maybe we should be happy that Bachmann has been trying to make over her past for political expediency. Let her proudly proclaim that she’s an Iowan and be thankful she’s kicking off her campaign in Waterloo and not Stillwater.

Otherwise, it won’t be long before we’re competing for deck space at the Dock Café with the likes of John Oliver and Samantha Bee.

Cheerleader photo from 1974 Anoka High Schook yearbook.


  1. How did you manage to get a "Bachmann For President" ad right next to this post?

  2. Click on the ad, it means Bachmann will have to pay something...

  3. Karl Bremer, I hope your Christophobic views are not becoming prevalent in Stillwater. I remember it being a rather tolerant place. It would be disappointing to see Stillwater disfigured by your Christophobia.

  4. Well, the Dock Café looks wonderful. Don't worry, the rest of the US won't hold her against you. :-)

  5. The sooner the light is shown on Bachmann, the sooner she can have the same poll numbers Palin has in Alaska. Bring on the bright lights. The woman has enough crazy to keep reporters busy for months.

  6. To Anonymous- Karl is not Christphobic- Michele's views as well as her churches on mainstream christians are so shocking that people are literally stunned into disbeleif when exposed to them. Do you share their belief that Catholics practice satanic worship of Baal-and that 95%of Lutherans (in the ELCA and Missouri Synod) are heretics for rejecting the idea that the pope is the antichrist predicted by scripture? No Catholic would vote for her if the truth was told.

  7. I'd love to see John Oliver and Samantha Bee at the dock. Bachmann, not so much, her and hubby are creepy.

  8. Not all cheerleaders from history are bad people, Karl. Some of us just had no other 'athletic' options as girls at our schools. As far as Michelle dragging the curious to Stillwater, the downtown will love it, the residents will just continue to drive alternative routes home and hope she leaves for Iowa early.

  9. Maybe not ALL cheerleaders are bad people, but there seems to be a tendency . . .

  10. Karl, tell the press to come to St. Michael. The number of and sheer lunacy of Bachmann fans around here is staggering.

  11. To the person that said that Bachmann views the Catholic church as satan worshippers can I get some documentation of that please? Not that I dispute it but I'd like to use it to go after her in an editorial in the St. Cloud times...after all...St. Cloud is rather Catholic.

  12. JamesK: It's true. She's a member of the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), which left the Missouri Synod before that wasn't hardcore enough for the WELS folks.

    And yes, it's drenched in anti-Catholic bigotry:

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