.

Michele Bachmann's Holy War

Page 6 of 8
Bachmann's anti-gay crusade in Minnesota was born of similar stuff. Right from the start, she made sure that everyone knew the awesome importance of the task she was taking on, trying to outlaw an already outlawed practice. "This is probably the biggest issue that will impact our state and our nation in, at least, the last 30 years," she said. She called gay marriage an "earthquake issue," insisting that failure to pass her proposal would mean that "sex curriculum would essentially be taught by the gay community" and that "little K-12 children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal, natural, and perhaps they should try it." Much as Sarah Palin's actual speeches sometimes melt indistinguishably into Tina Fey's SNL parodies, Bachmann's anti-gay rhetoric at times features a campy, over-the-top quality that makes it hard to tell her apart from a tranny cabaret act. She described the gay lifestyle as "bondage" and "personal enslavement," even claiming that suicide among gay teens is due not to discrimination but to "the fact of what they're doing."

Bachmann's obsession with gay culture led her to bizarre behavioral extremes. In April 2005, after the State Senate refused to even vote on her constitutional amendment, she hid in the bushes outside the State Capitol during a gay-rights rally. A photo shows Bachmann, only the top of her Stepford head visible, crouched alone in an extreme catcher's squat behind the Capitol shrubbery. She later insisted she wasn't hiding at all, but resting because her heels hurt.

That same year tensions between Bachmann and some gay activists grew heated during a town-hall meeting she attended. Depending on whom you believe — and by that I mean which of Bachmann's own competing versions of the story you believe — Bachmann either left the meeting to avoid the activists, or excused herself to "use the restroom" only to be "held against her will" there by what may or may not have been a pair of angry lesbians. She reported the incident to the Washington County sheriff: "Sen. Bachman [sic] stated that when she was trying to leave, 2 women blocked her in and told her they wanted to continue talking. Sen. Bachman stated she was afraid and screamed for help. The 2 women let her leave the restroom when she screamed."

Images of Michele Bachmann squatting behind a bush or hiding from lesbians in a bathroom would seem to be punch lines of funny stories, but they are not. The real punch line is that rather than destroying her politically, these incidents helped propel her into Congress. In her first two races, in 2006 and 2008, she defeated experienced, credible opponents who failed to realize what they were dealing with until it was too late. Her 2006 win was an especially extraordinary testament to her electoral viability. In a terrible year for conservatives, with the death-spiraling Bush administration taking Republican seats down with them all over the country, Bachmann won a fairly independent district by an eight-point margin. In her runs for Congress, Bachmann discovered — or perhaps it is more accurate to say we all discovered — that a total absence of legislative accomplishment and a complete inability to tell the truth or even to identify objective reality are no longer hindrances to higher office.

Emboldened by the lack of consequences for her early freakouts, Bachmann's self-mythologizing became more and more overt. In October 2006, she stepped before a packed house at the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and told her life story. All of history's great madmen have had that one gorgeous moment where the cackling hairy hunchback that has been gestating within for years finally comes out and shows itself, strutting up and down the catwalk for the world to see. This was Michele's catwalk moment, a lengthy autobiographical speech in which she claimed "callings" from God had pushed her to every major decision in her life — from studying tax law to running for Congress. She even told the congregation that she and hubby Marcus — who by then had opened a Christian counseling center — had been united not by love but by a unique series of divine visions experienced by three people simultaneously.

Bachmann claimed that back in her college days, she was up one night praying with a female friend of hers when "the Lord gave each one of us the same, exact vision... It was a picture of me, marrying this man, in the valley where his parents have a farm in western Wisconsin." Meanwhile, miles away, Marcus "was repairing a fence on the farm where he worked, and the Lord showed him in a vision that he was supposed to marry me." According to Bachmann, Marcus initially complained to God that he wanted to see the world first, and only later relented.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Politics Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. He’s the author of five books and a winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary. Please direct all media requests to taibbimedia@yahoo.com.

www.expandtheroom.com