If you're a conservative and a Christian, do you suppose you can get a fair hearing in the City Pages?
The headline for the CP's article on MIchele Bachmann and the rest of the GOP field looking for the nomination in the 6th CD race reads:
Michele Bachmann heads an all-star cast of GOP Christian flat-earthers in the Sixth District
Somebody Say Oh Lord!
Balance? The "Related Links" in the online version are to a Dump Bachmann blog (by a local gay activist who's obsessed over Bachmann for years) and a site showing "photo funnies" including a photoshop of Bachmann standing next to Hitler.
And the article itself isn't much better.
Sometimes I wonder if the City Pages has computer file with boilerplate text that must begin every reference to conservatives and conservatism?
Read this clip and you tell me:
In fact, she's a rising star in the growing archconservative wing of the state's Republican Party. Her conservative Christian values underscore an agenda that is "pro-family," antiabortion, skeptical of public education, and decidedly jingoistic. A decade ago, Bachmann would have been marginalized within her own party. (Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, for instance, has publicly chastised Bachmann in the past.) Now her affiliations with prominent conservatives like Alan Quist and David Strom, not to mention her ties to religious organizations, have put her in lockstep with a powerful faction of the state GOP.Let's check off the obligatory shrieking points:
Bachmann's track record in the legislature reads like a parody of right-wing talk radio. She has introduced or signed onto bills that would make English the official state language, halt grants to clinics that perform abortions, make proof of citizenship a requirement at voting booths, and allow stillbirths to be officially designated as births by the state. Bachmann is also the legislator behind the Reagan fetish at the Capitol this time around, proposing that Interstates 494 and 694 be renamed Ronald Reagan Beltway, and declaring February 6, the dead president's birthday, officially recognized.
The old guard within her own party is not impressed. "I wish she would get on with something meaningful," says one GOP insider. "She is definitely not out to unite people. She's throwing out these ideological bombs. She's an obstructionist."
In 2000, she turned her sights to the state Senate, running against Gary Laidig, a 28-year incumbent Republican, in the party's primary. Laidig was viewed as a centrist, and Bachmann's hard-right platform divided longtime GOP diehards. But Bachmann, with a war chest of $43,000 to Laidig's $23,000, won the party's endorsement. [So? Bachmann was a better fundraiser than the lukewarm Laidig, who regarded his seat as a sinecure. Motivation beats inertia. But in the world of the hard left, money that doesn't come from George Soros is a bad thing ]Nor should it be; can you imagine the City Pages making a Wiccan or Moslem or Buddhist candidate's beliefs a campaign issue? (Other than as hagiographic material, of course?)
It was around this time that questions regarding Bachmann's résumé surfaced. ["Surfaced?" Or were manufactured? Follow this section closely] She had a law degree, she said, and claimed to be a tax litigation attorney. [So - does this mean the CP writer has evidence that she had no degree and didn't practice law? ] But opponents said they could find no evidence that she had practiced law. Bachmann sets the record straight by saying she worked in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, representing the IRS against people who underpaid or didn't pay their taxes. She did this from 1988 to 1993. [So if the claim was debunked, why is it in the article? ]
Her law degree, it emerged, is from Coburn School of Law in Tulsa, which is affiliated with Oral Roberts University. [Cue the boogieman!]" She's part of the Jerry Falwell moral majority," says one political observer. ["One political observer? Any one in particular? Just some random stranger who spouts lefty bromides tying Christian conservatives to the dreaded Falwell? ]"That's a legitimate issue if she's running for Congress." When asked about her religous beliefs mixing with her politics, Bachmann responds, "I believe in God. But that is not really relevant."
See what's going on here? The CP writer is trying to make an issue, not of Bachmann's legal education (there is no issue), but of the irrelevant gossip among unnamed critics of Bachmann's.
Two years later, because of redistricting, Bachmann was facing a 10-year incumbent DFLer for the seat in District 52. By ratcheting up her antiabortion rhetoric, vowing to bring more local control to classrooms, and signing a no-new-taxes pledge, Bachmann defeated Jane Krentz.The writer seems to imply that Bachmann won despite those stances - like her election is an aberration of some sort.
But what if her career is in itself a rejection of the beliefs that the City Pages and the rest of the local media think are the mainstream? If Bachmann is a bellwether of the state's growing, dynamic conservatism?
Of course, it's Bachmann's social conservatism that makes her a lightning rod for the hard left. The article quotes an interview with Bachman on KKMS, a local Christian station (which is owned by Salem Radio, which also owns AM1280, which broadcasts the Northern Alliance Radio Network. KKMS has no contact with or influence over the NARN's content).
Some politics-watchers in the district, however, aren't sure that issues are driving Bachmann's success. "Voters aren't looking beneath the surface," claims Renee Murray, a Lake Elmo resident who has done some work for the DFL in District 56. "She's bright, attractive, and presents well. I'm not knocking anyone, but we've got a lot of wealthy, affluent people who are busy, and they just see an 'R' next to her name and vote for her." Right. Because Republican voters are mindless lemmings, while the bright lights at Education Minnesota and AFSCME exhaust themselves thinking about their voting.
Look for two years of mindless demonization of aybody to the right of Arne Carlson. This is only the beginning. The left in Minnesota controls the schools, the media, the non-profit community and the three largest cities - and it's scared out of its mind, and regards nothing as beneath ethics to stay in charge.Posted by Mitch at February 28, 2005 05:39 AM | TrackBack