Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Bachmann history

Here is some more history from Dump Bachmann

Let’s see; I was telling you about how I discovered the truth about Michele Bachmann’s political roots and agenda—where was I, when we left off?

Oh, yes. It was about six years ago--I’d moved to Minnesota, bought a house in the charming small town of Stillwater, and discovered that the governor of the state was a former professional wrestler. I’d heard Bachmann on evangelical radio, which also struck me as odd—since at the time she was a GOP candidate for the local school board and this radio station, ostensibly dedicated to spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ, seemed to be promoting her candidacy.

Bachmann was one of slate of GOP candidates running in the school board race. It was unusual if not unprecedented for Stillwater school board candidates to accept or receive partisan endorsement; the Stillwater race was normally—and still is—non-partisan. So this partisan development was deemed “newsworthy”; it was reported in the metro dailies that these candidates had broken with tradition and accepted party endorsement.

What was not reported in the papers was that at least one of these GOP candidates, Michele Bachmann, was appearing on evangelical radio to promote her candidacy. That to me was at least as newsworthy as the news about the partisan endorsement. And it seemed to me to tie both Bachmann and the Minnesota GOP and the radio station I was listening to, to a phenomenon that’s played a key part in national voting trends since the 1980s: America’s evangelical political movement.

I don’t know of any general study that’s ever been done of this very important political force. There’s a been a lot written about evangelical attempts to influence American politics in general and the Republican party in particular, but to my present knowledge, no one’s ever produced a general analysis of the evangelical political movement (EPM)—one that traces its history, names the key players, and shows how they operate together to influence the outcomes of national, state and local elections. It’s as if there was a third major party in the United States (as powerful as either the Dems or the GOP), but this third party was operating under the radar of the national and local news media.

True, the biggest names in the movement are well known to people who follow politics. The influence on elections of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Dr. James Dobson is well-known and has been regularly reported. What went unreported was the cohesive nature of the EPM. Its leaders were not acting independently of each other; they seemed to be coordinating their individual efforts and powerbases to achieve a maximum effect in American political life. In other words—instead of behaving like clergymen, they were behaving like the leaders of a political party.

No one in the most influential “secular” media seemed to be picking up on that—that coordination of political effort between televangelists, broadcast ministry networks, and influential pastors of the largest religious organizations and mega-churches. Journalists were, as always, assigned to cover the developments and agenda of the two major political parties; they even gave regular press coverage to the independent “third parties” like the Greens and Ross Perot—but the major media simply ignored the EPM. This is still astonishing to me. How could the American press fail to see or choose to ignore the organization of an overtly political movement that was bigger than any third party, bigger and richer than all the third parties put together? But ignore it, they did. Despite the fact that the EPM commanded the loyalty of millions of Americans at the polls, despite the fact that it broadcast its political agenda daily, and despite the fact that it was working across state lines to elect candidates and back initiatives.

And despite the fact that it was introducing candidates to represent itself in national, state and local offices. After watching Bachmann for a while, I concluded that she was one of these EPM candidates—and that this, too, had escaped the attention of the local professional news media.

So most of the people in Stillwater who voted for Michele Bachmann when she ran as a Republican for State Senate—simply didn’t know who she really intended to represent.

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