Michele Bachmann is the subject of a gigantic profile in the current issue of the New Yorker. As one of the craziest members of congress comes under the careful eye of political reporter Ryan Lizza, a few interesting new stones got turned over.
Mainly, the story is the tale of how Bachmann went from being a fringe member of congress from an unknown Minnesota district to, as of this morning, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to be president of the entire country.
But the most interesting parts of Lizza's piece are the glimpses it offers into Michele and Marcus Bachmann up close, today, and their origins as Evangelicals and conservative Republicans.
The story comes in at about 8,700 words, and is worth the read if you've got time. If you don't, City Pages has boiled down five fascinating new things you need to know about Michele Bachmann.
She won't be depicted in casual clothes.
As a calculated political move, Michele Bachmann is trying to fashion herself as a mother, touting her five biological children and the 23 she and Marcus took in as foster kids. But apparently, that sort of domestic image-making does not extend to capturing Bachmann in anything less professional than a business suit.
Here, Bachmann's spokeswoman Alice Stewart asks reporters not to show Bachmann dressed down. Later, Lizza writes that Stewart's request was successful, and everyone passed on the photo op that would've capture Bachmann in khakis.
The leased, fourteen-seat corporate jet was to serve as Bachmann's campaign hub for the next few days, and, before the plane took off, her press secretary, Alice Stewart, announced to the six travelling chroniclers that there was one important rule. "I know everything is on the record these days," Stewart said, "but please just don't broadcast images of her in her casual clothes."No. 2
Her campaign manager is coldblooded.
Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan's landslide over Walter Mondale in 1984, is described as eventually forming "poisonous relationships" with his former employers.
If hindsight allows Rollins to say stuff like this about people who hired him, it makes you wonder what he'll eventually have to say about Michele Bachmann.
They have included George H. W. Bush ("the worst campaigner to actually get elected President," according to Rollins), Ross Perot ("a paranoid lunatic on an ego trip"), and Arianna Huffington ("the most ruthless, unscrupulous, and ambitious person I'd met in thirty years in national politics").No. 3
Marcus loves watching his wife at work.
It's well known by now that Marcus Bachmann helps Michele pick out her clothes to campaign. And there's video tape of him giving a rather sassy head-nod while Michele tells off the media at the National Press Club.
Now, we know that Marcus memorizes her speeches, and is still delighted to hear them the second time around.
The team began reviewing footage of Bachmann's Waterloo speech. Marcus, who is not a small man, stood in the aisle, his white shirt untucked, and mouthed his wife's words as he watched. When she arrived at her big applause line--"Make no mistake about it, Barack Obama will be a one . . . term . . . President!"--Marcus recited it out loud and raised his fist. "That's powerful, that's good, that's excellent!" he said. "Yes, yes, yes!"No. 4
Her big Biblical influence is against... pretty much everything.
Michele Bachmann says a series of movies called, "How Should We Then Live?" has had a "profound influence" on her's and Marcus' Christianity. The Bachmanns watched Schaeffer's video series in 1977, right about the time she was ditching the charitable, weak-kneed Evangelicalism of Jimmy Carter for the condemning, titanium-spined Evangelicalism she has now.
Lizza actually took the time to watch these kooky tapes, where he found out that Francis Schaeffer is basically against everything that's happened in the last 600 years, from the greatest art of the second millennium to the Enlightenment, the anti-dogmatic, pro-science movement which spawned all those Founding Fathers types Bachmann seems to like so much.
Schaeffer's film series consists of ten episodes tracing the influence of Christianity on Western art and culture, from ancient Rome to Roe v. Wade. In the films, Schaeffer--who has a white goatee and is dressed in a shearling coat and mountain climber's knickers--condemns the influence of the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Darwin, secular humanism, and postmodernism.No. 5
Her favorite professor is kind of a racist.
Bachmann attributes great influence to a professor she met at Oral Roberts named John Eidsmoe. In fact, Bachmann was a research assistant on Eidsmoe's 1987 book "Christianity and the Constitution." Eidsmoe has fallen out of favor even in conservative circles in recent years, mostly for his flirtation with some pretty racist stuff. He once spoke in front of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an advocacy group whose main issue is that their kids might sit next to a black person in school.
And more recently, when -- not at all racist in any way - Southern legislators were rumbling about secession in the early days of Obama, Eidsmoe endorsed the idea and said Confederate President Jefferson Davis "understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln."
But those kind of statements don't bother Michele Bachmann one bit.
This spring, she told a church audience in Iowa, "I went down to Oral Roberts University, and one of the professors that had a great influence on me was an Iowan named John Eidsmoe. He's from Iowa, and he's a wonderful man. He has theology degrees, he has law degrees, he's absolutely brilliant. He taught me about so many aspects of our godly heritage."Oh, New Yorker, you pinko commie rag. Always quoting people back their own words, as if that means anything. What a hit piece.