Michelle Bachmann rising in the polls

-A A +A
By Rick Howell

    The tortured attempt of national Republicans to find a credible presidential candidate recently produced Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, whose only real accomplishment is throwing “tea party” bombs from the floor of the House.

    But these days, that’s a bright spot on your resume in the modern GOP. Just look how the tea party mentality is driving the debt ceiling talks. Party leaders believe that all the sacrifices should be made by the aged, the poor, and those longing for an education. The rich should not just be left alone, but enriched even further.
    Yet, there’s enough of a “Republican establishment” left that still realizes the danger of nominating rhetorical bomb throwers for president. Bachmann may rally the fringe crowd, but she’s unlikely to ever win over the establishment.
    Nonetheless, she is riding high in GOP polls. She’s either second or third behind Mitt Romney, depending upon which poll you cite. She could definitely win the Iowa Caucuses.
    Bachmann is well-known as a “born again” Christian conservative, and that describes most of the GOP caucus-goers in Iowa. Think of the entire Iowa Republican Party as one big Liberty University campus, and you’ve just about got it.
    This is why they voted for Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee in 2008, giving him a standing and a success that he was never able to duplicate anywhere else. That Huckabee vote has to go somewhere in Iowa, and it looks like Bachmann could inherit it.
    Her problem—or, one of her problems—is that she has a record of silly, extremist statements along the empty-headed lines of Sarah Palin. Like Palin, some of Bachmann’s remarks make you wonder how much she really understands about the basics of American history and politics.
    But Bachmann is particularly defined by her long history of battling gay rights, especially in her home state of Minnesota. Her husband runs what he and his wife call a “Christian counseling clinic,” which, in the past at least, has offered so-called “reparative therapy” for gays.
    Her critics deride this tactic as “praying away the gay,” the idea that a homosexual man can get on his knees and pray for a while, then rise at some point and suddenly discover women! The American Psychiatric Association has said that such “therapy” has no real value.
    Yet, that big, bad federal government the Bachmanns are supposed to hate has funded Marcus Bachmann’s clinic, and there is apparently an endless paper trail in Minnesota that paints husband and wife as world champion gay-bashers.
    Gay rights groups in both parties intend to make Michelle Bachmann into another Anita Bryant, and that may not be difficult to do.
    Did I say both parties? Yes. There’s a GOP organization now known as GOPride, another Republican gay rights group to match the party’s Log Cabin Republicans, who’ve been around for some time.)
    It is fascinating to observe the obsession that the “Christian conservatives” have with abortion and gays. Yet, in the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is not recorded as ever having addressed either subject. Not one time.
    Most Americans have long since adopted a “live and let live” philosophy toward gays. We know them; we work with them; some of them are in our families (as in Bachmann’s family; her step-sister).
    We suspect, too, that orientation must be a stronger drive than choice. No one wakes up on a Tuesday, out of the blue, and decides to “become” gay. So it is imperative that we not make harsh judgments about things we can’t understand.
    Michelle Bachmann’s past will come back to haunt her, because she’ll have to campaign in places other than Iowa.
* * * * *
Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.