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.|
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.