The Soft Bigotry of Low Michele Bachmann Expectations
After Michele Bachmann won Monday night’s debate by not seeming as batshit crazy as we’ve come to expect, political journalists have been churning out instant backgrounders. The best so far, by general acclaim, was published yesterday by BeastWeek’s Michelle Goldberg, who provides some details that may not be familiar to those of us who only started paying attention after Bachmann managed to out-crazy Tweety.
Take, for example, the celebrated Bathroom Hostage Crisis, which deserves pride of place in any Bachmann bio:
A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9  event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to same-sex marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. “Help!” she screamed. “Help! I’m being held against my will!”
Bachmann was serious. She called the police. And the police investigated. Finally, the DA blew it off. Seems her captors were just a couple of nice ladies who wanted to ask questions. Just like they said.
Or take the 1999 Stillwater school board elections, which Bachmann politicized in a manner very reminiscent of Sarah Palin’s Siege of Wasilla:
“I remember being called by someone and asked where I stood on abortion,” says former school board member Mary Cecconi.
Or take Mister Bachmann, whom you never hear about, and probably for good reason:
Both she and her husband, by all accounts her most trusted political adviser, believe that homosexuality can be cured. Speaking to a Christian radio station about gay teenagers last year, Marcus, who treats gay people in his counseling practice, said, “Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined, and just because someone feels this or thinks this, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to go down that road.”
Ah: Marcus Bachmann cures the gay. Has a similar ring to Todd Palin belonged to an Alaskan separatist party. Neither of which may bother fundie wingnuts, but if you don’t think spouses matter in a general election, we invite you to refresh your understanding of The Whitey Chronicles.
Comparisons between Bachmann and Palin are inevitable, and not just because America Loves a Catfight. They’re both chasing the same audience, they’re both making the same moves, and they’re both doing it better than anyone else out there.
But where Palin has embraced the Cult of Celebrity, Bachmann is actually practicing politics. And where Palin can’t be trusted near an open microphone without a script — why else do you think wingnuts suddenly developed a teleprompter fetish? — Bachmann actually speaks as if English is her first language, as she aptly demonstrated Monday night.
So, heads up: Michele Bachmann is the candidate Sarah Palin would have been, if Palin wasn’t so adorably reading-averse. She’ll never be nominated, and if nominated, she’ll never win, but if she catches on, Michele Bachmann is dangerous enough to cause some trouble along the way.