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June 29, 2006

On hiatus

Don't worry, it's not permanent-- but I will be gone for a bit, starting this weekend, on an international vacation... to Canada. Ironically, I'll be spending Canada Day in Chicago, and the 4th of July in Toronto. (Maybe we'll go to Niagra Falls that day... still think I'm un-American?) I may try to post if I get a chance, but don't hold your breath. Instead, subscribe to this blog's feed:

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That way, you can stay updated when I post. You can use bloglines or another newsreader service/program... I find bloglines incredibly useful and time-saving.

In the meantime, dear readers, feel free to explore the site a bit more. I like reading the comments people have left, and I'd love to hear from more of you. If you exhaust the possibilites of this site, check out Patty Wetterling's blog, Dump Bachmann, or even Bachmann v. Wetterling. It's important to keep all perspectives in mind.

June 28, 2006

Scary thoughts

First of all... I liked the old Michele better than the new one.

Second of all... let's hope this nightmare scenario never occurs.

Wingman adds: I really like that first photo. There’s something about Michele Bachmann giving a speech with the Seal of the Vice President of the United States in front of her that seems so right.

Andy Adds:
One race at a time there Wingman.

Wingman responds: Point taken.


The Onion makes a serious point relevant to Bachmann

"America's Finest News Source" runs an article this week that I think Michele Bachmann should take a look at if she's really serious about "defending marriage." Take a look:

Government To Defend Marriage From Dashing Reginald St. Croix, Esq.

June 28, 2006 | Issue 42•26

WASHINGTON, DC—Amid clamor from thousands of cuckolded husbands nationwide, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has drafted legislation designed to safeguard the institution of marriage, the moral cornerstone of American society, from the greatest threat to its sanctity: suave master-seducer Reginald St. Croix, Esq.


Although little is known of St. Croix's parentage, provenance, or means of support, he is known to be an unusually well-formed man in his mid-to-late 30s, possessed of pellucid blue eyes, dark wavy hair, a silver tongue, and an all-encompassing appetite for the company of attached womanhood.

Tax records and divorce statistics, as well as hundreds of signed affidavits, demonstrate that the charismatic roué has been the cause of over 1,300 American divorces since January 2001.

"I was as a fawn mesmerized before a serpent, helpless before its untoward advances," said Mrs. C. Clemmons Burroughs, estranged and disgraced wife of the noted industrial magnate, now cloistered in the Philadelphia Home For The Ruined Woman, run by Carmelite nuns. "I considered myself as sworn to my mate as any wife, secure in my devotion, until I granted a single dance to Reginald at the Industrialists' New Year's Ball. One dance, and I was enraptured; one week, and my reputation ruined; one month, my marriage followed suit. I urge our leaders to take any action, invoke whatever power possible, pass whatever law necessary to stop the predations of Reginald St. Croix, Esquire!"

"Yet I love him still!" added Mrs. Burroughs, who collapsed on a nearby divan, quite inconsolable.

The Defense Of Marriage From Reginald St. Croix Bill, expected to easily pass both houses of Congress before the summer recess, will include legal measures against St. Croix, as well as a number of punishments, ranging from banishment to a chemically derived form of gelding.

The picture that accompanies the article is pretty funny, too:

To those who missed the point of the satire here: there are many real threats to the "sanctity of marriage" that Michele Bachmann is doing nothing to combat. Divorce, abuse, philandering, and any number of real concerns are of greater importance than Senator Bachmann's favorite straw man, marriage for gays. So why the concern with gays when there are much more pressing issues that Michele could be dealing with? Eric Zaetsch left an insightful comment at Dump Bachmann a while back. I'll quote a relevant snippet, but please do read the rest-- it's fantastic.

The bigger picture I see - it is a tactic to press the "gay-lever" and a low cost one. 7-10% of voters, alienated, turned-off, hostile, depending on whose unreliable statistics you like.


As soon as you talk about marriage, and legitimately defined perils to marriage, you get into divorce - it is unavoidable that you must do so, if you are at all intellectually honest about anything you are talking about.

Bachmann's website bio admits she was a child of a difficult divorce situation. So why the deafening silence following that admission?

Face up to divorce as a modern trend in families, and you get into the real and actual family dynamics; the nitty gritty, not a problem in demonizing gay people wanting respect for their rights.

The affected critizized, turned-off bloc shifts from under ten percent to well over fifty percent and you say to yourself, "My god, I could lose an election going there." So you don't.

So it is original sin from the get-go to take the Bachmann dump-on-gay-people path. The low road.

Exactly. This isn't about morality or protecting marriage at all. This is about winning elections using the most disappointing, divisive, and silly tactics available. Let's make sure it doesn't work this time for Michele Bachmann.

June 26, 2006

Beyond the blogosphere...

Eva Young "gets a word in wedgewise" in today's Pioneer Press:

Bachmann needs to clarify views

Craig Westover's June 21 column discussing how contraception is being used as a wedge issue against 6th District candidate Michele Bachmann misses the point ("Getting a word in wedgewise — 'Contraception' "). If you look at the "on the issues" section of Bachmann's Web site, it says "Michele believes that human life must be protected from conception to a natural death." Some argue that birth control pills and emergency contraception are abortefacients that prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. Since Bachmann has stated this position, it's certainly fair to ask for clarification on this issue.

Bachmann should also be asked her position on federal funding for stem cell research. If she opposes that, does she also oppose in vitro fertilization? After all, the embryos used in stem cell research come from discarded embryos used for in vitro fertilization.



The writer has a "Dump Michele Bachmann" blog.

Wetterling hits Bachmann on minimum wage

Last Thursday, the Patty Wetterling campaign released this statement questioning Michele Bachmann's anti-worker, anti-family stance on raising the minimum wage:

Patty Wetterling to Michele Bachmann: Would You Vote to Give Minnesota Families a Raise?

June 22, 2006

(Anoka, MN) — With Republican leaders announcing in news reports today that Congress will vote on a minimum wage increase this summer, Democratic Congressional candidate Patty Wetterling pointed to her opponent's dismal record on the minimum wage in St. Paul and demanded to know whether she would vote against working Minnesota families in Washington, DC, too.

"Families in Minnesota need a Representative in Congress who will fight for them," Wetterling said. "Given Michele Bachmann's past record of voting against working families, Minnesotans deserve to know if they can expect more of the same from her in Congress. No parent should work full-time, year-round and not be able to afford the basic food, shelter and healthcare for his or her family, yet that is the situation hardworking Minnesotans across the state face every single day. We can do better than the Bachmann status quo that puts a partisan agenda ahead of the best interests of Minnesota families."

As a state Senator, Michele Bachmann voted at least twice against a raise for working Minnesotans. It has been nine years since the last increase in the federal minimum wage, the second longest period since it was enacted. In 2003 there were 3.7 million Americans who worked full-time, year-round, and still lived in poverty.

Bachmann Voted Twice Against a Raise for Working Families

Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2005. In 2005, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. The Minnesota Senate voted on the legislation SF 3/HF 48, that increased the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour-the lowest amount allowed by federal law-to $6.15 per hour. It is estimated that $100 million will go into the pockets of low-income workers as a result of the increase, which went into effect August 1, 2005.

The bill passed 44 to 22.

Bachmann Voted Against Increasing the Minimum Wage in 2004. In 2004, Bachmann voted against increasing the minimum wage. SF 3 authored by Senator Ellen Anderson increases the state's minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.40 an hour.

The bill passed 36-30.

I like the phrasing of this press release. Framing the minimum wage as a "family values" issue lets voters see that, despite Michele Bachmann's claim to the "values" voter, she does not have the best interest of the working families of the Sixth District in mind.

However, the Wetterling campaign could have gone further in attacking Bachmann's record on the minimum wage. During her time in the MN Senate, Bachmann has made some pretty extraordinary statements regarding this issue. For instance, there's this doozy, stated during testimony on January 26, 2005, to the Jobs, Energy and Community Development Committee:

"I was wondering, if most employers are already doing this anyway, isn’t minimum wage really just superfluous? Why do we even have one?"

Did Michele Bachmann really advocate abolishing the minimum wage? Does she still hold this out-of-the-mainstream position? Well, wait 'til you hear some of her other plans regarding worker compensation...

"Many teenagers that come in should be paying the employer because of broken dishes or whatever occurs during that period of time. But you know what? After six months, that teenager is going to be a fabulous employee and is going to go on a trajectory where he's going to be making so much money, we'll be borrowing money from him." —Michele Bachmann, 1/26/05, explaining why teenagers should pay employers for the privilege of working instead of receiving minimum wage.

(All quotations taken from the "Quotes" page at Dump Bachmann)

How can we take Michele Bachmann seriously when she suggests that, not only should we abolish the minimum wage, but that some employees should not be compensated for their labor at all, and should even pay the employer to work?

In an era where the average American CEO earns 262 times the pay of the average American worker, the minimum wage has been stuck at a miserable $5.15 since 1997; in that same time, Congress has voted to raise its own pay at least 7 times. Earning minimum wage, a full-time worker will earn just $10,700 a year, leaving a family of three more than $5,000 below the poverty line. Minnesota needs a leader who can take charge on this issue and help working people everywhere. As we can see from Michele Bachmann's record, she is not that leader. Patty Wetterling is, and 86% of Americans agree with her: the minimum wage must be raised.


Today is the day... Dick Cheney arrives to do a fundraiser "private reception" for Michele Bachmann in Minnetonka. (Hmm... when did Minnetonka get added to the Sixth District?) Her campaign released this statement on Friday:

"We are truly honored to have the Vice President of the United States here in Minnesota in support of Senator Bachmann's campaign. They share a common vision when it comes to lower taxes, securing our borders and fighting for the people of the Sixth District. Vice President Cheney's visit is a sign of the importance that the White House places on electing a common sense, experienced leader like Michele to the United States Congress, and holding this seat for the Republican Party," said campaign manager Andy Parrish.

I wonder how many of Michele Bachmann's constituents are able to afford the $250/person price tag on this event, let alone $1,000 for a Polaroid with Bachmann and Cheney? And, uh, Michele? It's probably not great politics to boast about sharing a "common vision" with Dick Cheney. If that's true, someone's liable to get shot in the face. We know that Michele Bachmann is packing heat... are Bachmann staffers required to wear orange clothing around the workplace?

Meanwhile, since American capitalism is based on getting the most "bang for your buck" (no, not your buckshot, Dick), it seems a better deal can be had at the Wetterling campaign's fundraiser tonight in Woodbury. Pictures there are only a dollar.

Here's Patty Wetterling's statement on the Cheney event:

Michele Bachmann should realize that regardless of who she chooses to bring in to our state to campaign with her, this race will be decided on who best represents the needs and concerns of Minnesota families. Unfortunately, Michele's priorities here in Minnesota have been just as mistaken as the Vice President's. All the surrogates in the world can't change Michele's record of voting against families and children.

Right on.

June 22, 2006

Once again:

What is Michele Bachmann's position on contraception?

For another day, Bachmann and her supporters are refusing to answer the question and changing the subject. According to Craig Westover himself, Michele Bachmann claims that she has no position on the question of contraception.

Michele Bachmann's website proudly touts the endorsement of a pro-life group, the Concerned Women for America. It seems that the CWA has taken a pretty definite position against emergency contraception, otherwise known as "Plan B" or the "morning-after pill." Their spokeswoman goes so far as to call the pill "human pesticide." The organization's Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) even opposed the bipartisan Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, which is currently stuck in committee. The bill would require that hospitals receiving federal dollars provide information on and access to emergency contraception for victims of rape.

Michele Bachmann has received the endorsement of this anti-contraception group and its PAC, and doubtless will be receiving money from CWPAC (as Mark Kennedy did in the 2004 election cycle.) Sixth District voters deserve to know if Senator Bachmann takes the extreme stance of this organization. They deserve a straight answer.

June 21, 2006

Wetterling hits the blogosphere

Browsing Patty's site, I notice that she has added a new "Campaign Blog" feature. I'm looking forward to reading what Patty and her campaign have to say. Hopefully it's updated more often than Michele Bachmann's blog, which appears to have mercifully fizzled out on February 22nd after a grand total of two posts. (Now it seems that she's delegated the work to her chums at Bachmann v. Wetterling.) Let's all give a big Stillwater Slow Clap to Senator Bachmann and her valiant efforts at blogging.

Straight Talk Express?

I see today in the Pioneer Press that Craig Westover (a.k.a. "Captain Fishsticks") is trying to follow up on the flap he created over Dean Johnson's inappropriate Supreme Court comments by attacking Blois Olson, publisher of the "Politics in Minnesota" newsletter. I am not a subscriber, but Westover claims that Olson maliciously lumps Michele Bachmann into the "contraception-is-evil" crowd with no evidence of her position. Dump Bachmann beats me to the punch in asking: What is Michele Bachmann's position on contraception? Though interviewed in Westover's column, Michele Bachmann does not clarify her position at all. Here's what she has to say:

Hearing that she'd supposedly "signed on" to an anti-birth-control caucus that she had never heard of and couldn't join unless she's elected, Bachmann was more than a bit perplexed.

"I don't know what it is, " she said. "But Republicans never seem to challenge the false things Democrats say about us. That just gives them permission to keep doing it."

But she's not about to let the Democrats get even as far as first base on the contraceptive issue. Bachmann is taking prophylactic action. She called Olson directly to ask him what he said — before publicly responding.

"He said he was just stating his opinion of my position and that people would know that," Bachmann said. "He said that I was a 'radical, right-wing, extremist Christian,' and that 'radical, right-wing, extremist Christians would hold that position.' "

All I see in her response is a diversion: the ridiculous claim that Republicans are somehow the perpetual innocent victims of vicious Democratic smears, to which they never respond. Umm... Michele? Ever heard of Karl Rove? Michele Malkin? Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter?

Anyway, Westover lets Senator Bachmann get away with dodging the question, and it's more than a little hypocritical. He rightfully criticizes Blois Olson, because it truly was "unfair... when Olson culled from the Times to create an impression of candidate Bachmann that has no connection to reality." But it's similarly unfair for Mr. Westover to "create an impression of candidate Bachmann that has no connection to reality"-- namely, that she is not against the right to contraception. He implies that this is the case in his article, but never forces Bachmann to give readers a straight answer. Neither in this article nor on "candidate Bachmann's" website is a position clearly articulated on the issue of contraception.

To be fair, the "Issues" section of Patty Wetterling's website does not give Patty's position on this issue, either.

[UPDATE]: I was not able to find a Minnesota- or CD6-specific poll, but here is some general information on the public's perception of emergency contraceptives:

According to a national survey, over 80 percent of Americans believe that hospitals should not be allowed to deny emergency contraception to rape victims. Additionally, voters overwhelmingly oppose so-called “conscience clauses? that permit pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions—85 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans oppose pharmacist refusals. [source]
Research indicates that once people understand what emergency contraception is, the overwhelming majority are supportive and believe that couples should be told about the method. According to a July 2002 survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates on behalf of RHTP, two-thirds of voters think that government involvement, as a way of reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, is a good idea. In addition, three-fourths favor legislation aimed at expanding public health information about emergency contraception (see chart). When asked why they favor government involvement, over 70% of voters reported that they consider the 72-hour window of effectiveness a compelling reason for women to know about the back-up option in advance of an emergency situation. [source]

Is Michele Bachmann "out of the mainstream" on this issue?

June 19, 2006

Choose your photo op

We're all eagerly awaiting the pictures and news accounts of next week's Bachmann/Cheney fundraiser. Now it appears that the Wetterling campaign is striking back with its own fundraiser: "HAVE YOUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH PATTY AND DICK"... Wetterling supporter Dick Bernard, that is. The fundraiser is the same night as Bachmann's $1,000-a-pop gig with veep Cheney-- next Monday night, June 26th, from 5-6 PM in Woodbury. Photos are only $1... but I'm sure you can give more if you choose. (Hat tip to Dump Bachmann.)

June 15, 2006

Doom and gloom

File this one away for future notice... say, November 7th, as the election results roll in.

"This doom-and-gloom crowd, I am just here to tell you, they see failure for Republicans everywhere this fall," said state Sen. Michele Bachmann, who's running for Congress in the 6th District, in a speech Friday. "We see victory this fall everywhere we go."
Source: Duluth News Tribune, 06/04/06

June 14, 2006

Values Republicans

Bachmann v Wetterling posts about a fundraiser that Michele Bachmann attended last night in New York City. Held by erstwhile NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, it raised a cool $2 million for Giuliani's PAC, Solutions America. Is Senator Bachmann taking sides already in the contest for the '08 GOP presidential nomination? Is she trying to bask in the glow of "America's Mayor"? Or is she merely trying to bum a handout for her own campaign?

Many blogs have already posted about the apparent hypocrisy of Bachmann's upcoming fundraiser with Dick Cheney-- to quote MN Publius:

Michelle [sic] Bachmann screams from the mountaintops for years about how gay marriage is so important that she's willing ot bring the legislature to a grinding halt. One of her arguments is that the traditional family is under attack. I wonder, what does she think of Vice-President Cheney's family? She'll gladly keep her mouth shut, I imagine, as long as he brings in $250/head [$1K for an 'intimate reception with a picture] at a swanky fundraiser on Lake Minnetonka on June 26th.

originally posted at Dump Bachmann

I believe Michele Bachmann sends a similar hypocritical message by pandering to Rudy Giuliani for money and attention to her campaign. Many of Bachmann's conservative followers may be concerned with Giuliani's "liberal" stances on issues like abortion and gay marriage, and perhaps even more offended by his philandering past. This paragraph from Wikipedia sums things up neatly:

Even if Giuliani can overcome his liberal record on social issues such as gun control, gay marriage, and abortion, other aspects of his past are certain to be major issues in a presidential campaign. Giuliani's relationship with Judith Nathan, later to become his third wife, was well-publicized by local media, as it appears to have begun before the divorce of his second wife was legally finalized. Mr. Giuliani, before his divorce, called Judith Nathan, his "very good friend." On May 10, 2000 Mr. Giuliani announced at a press conference that he was seeking a separation from his wife, Donna Hanover -- without first informing her of his decision. Mr. Giuliani went out of his way to praise Judith Nathan as a "very, very fine woman," and said about his marriage with Donna Hanover: "Over the course of some period of time in many ways, we've grown to live independent and separate lives." The mayor's assertion was contradicted three hours later by his emotionally distraught wife, who said, "I had hoped that we could keep this marriage together. For several years, it was difficult to participate in Rudy's public life because of his relationship with one staff member." Ms. Hanover was referring to Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, the mayor's former communications director. The mayor and Ms. Lategano-Nicholas denied those allegations in the past, and continue to deny them now.

I'm sure I could find juicier stuff in the tabloids, but this excerpt proves my point. In short, Mr. Giuliani's not exactly the epitome of a "family values" candidate. Yet Michele Bachmann is more than willing to prostrate herself before Giuliani's throne, hoping he'll toss a few bucks and maybe even a ray of celebrity sunshine her way. Now, I'm not one to judge someone's personal life-- if Mr. Giuliani can live with his past, it doesn't really concern me. I'm sure if I were someone affected by this behavior, I would feel differently. As Michele Bachmann has proven in the past, these types of things do concern her. She's been perfectly willing to step into other people's personal lives in the past-- even going so far as to ignore the existence of her lesbian stepsister in order to pursue her extremist anti-gay agenda. If Michele Bachmann was really interested in defending "traditional marriage"-- as I understand it, one woman + one man, no divorce, and no cheating-- she'd refuse to associate with someone who, obviously, did not share those same values. But for Senator Bachmann, money trumps values-- every time.

By the way, for those who are interested, this new film takes a critical look at the "deification" of Rudy Giuliani. It looks interesting, and should become extremely relevant as 2008 approaches.

[UPDATE]: Over at the HuffPost, Gene Stone rips Mary Cheney for her refusal to speak out about her father's fundraiser with Michele Bachmann, and her perceived lack of interest in gay rights unless it stands to benefit her personally. I don't know how fair this column is to Mary Cheney, but it's crazy to see the news of the Cheney/Bachmann alliance go national-- it's been featured on AmericaBlog, Pandagon, and probably others. Pretty soon, everyone in the 6th is going to know about Dick and Michele.

June 12, 2006

Cheney to appear with Bachmann at fundraiser

Duck and cover! Everyone's favorite gun-safety expert, Dick Cheney, will appear with self-proclaimed "sportsman's advocate" and proud "conceal-and-carry" permit-holder Michele Bachmann at a fundraiser this month.

The invitation says Cheney will appear at the home of William and Karen Hawks on the shore of Lake Minnetonka. It gives guests the choice between a $250 per person reception or a more intimate reception and photo opportunity with Cheney for $1,000.

Only $1,000 for a Polaroid? What a bargain. Of course, it's worth it if Michele and Dick can hook you up with a no-bid contract for "reconstructing" Iraq. I hope Michele will be taking a few pictures with the veep... I'd love to see them spread around the 'net, and used in some campaign ads. Looks like Cheney's approval is back up from the 18% rating in February after "the incident," but it's still in the Danger Zone at 31%. The public ought to know what types of people Michele chooses to identify her campaign with-- guilt by association and all that. Didn't she learn in Sunday School that it's not all about the money? Character matters, Senator Bachmann.

BONUS: Classic Cheney Moments, #1 (first in a series of ...?)

Great Moments in Political Correctness: Dick Cheney's Adventures at Auschwitz

Wonder what he'll wear to the fundraiser? Will Michele wear her "little pink dress"?