Other than Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann is perhaps the most “colorful” candidate among the Republican candidates for President. Initially, Bachmann was a registered Democrat who supported Jimmy Carter in 1976. She and her husband even worked on his campaign. Bachmann apparently became disillusioned with Carter’s liberal approach to public policy including his support for legalized abortion and in the 1980 presidential election, she worked on Ronald Reagan’s campaign. Even then, she didn’t appear to know what she wanted or what she even stood.
In 1993, Bachmann was one of several parents who started the K-12 New Heights Charter School in Stillwater. This publicly funded school’s charter required that it be non-sectarian in all programs and practices, but the school soon developed a strong Christian orientation. After parents of students at the school complained, the superintendent of schools warned Bachmann that the school was in violation of state law. Bachmann soon resigned and the Christian orientation was removed from the curriculum allowing the school to keep its charter. Bachmann began speaking against state-mandated educational standards and requirements that ultimately began her political career.
Bachmann strongly criticized Minnesota’s School to Work policies. School-to-work transition is a phrase that refers to on the job training, apprenticeships, cooperative education agreements or other programs designed to prepare students to enter the job market. In fact, several Federal agencies were major supporters of these programs. In a 1999 column, Bachmann wrote: “School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children’s acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity.” In November 1999, she and four other Republicans were candidates, as the “Slate of Five”, in an election for the school board of Stillwater. Would you believe that all five of the lost.
Bachmann first came to my attention On October 17, 2008, when she gave an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. During that interview she criticized Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying “…usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into question what Barack Obama’s true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are…I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views.” She noted the terrorist bombings done by Bill Ayers and his associations with Obama, saying that “Bill Ayers is not someone the average American wants to see their president have an association with.” Matthews responded with, “Why is it of concern? What is wrong with it? When asked by Matthews: “How many Congress people, members of Congress fit into that Anti-American crowd you describe,” Bachmann responded “You’d have to ask them Chris, I’m focusing on Barack Obama and the people he’s associated with”. Matthews followed up by asking “But he’s a Senator from the State of Illinois, he’s one of the members of Congress you suspect of being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You’ve already suspected Barack Obama, is he alone or are there others?” Bachmann answered, “What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look … I wish they would … I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that.” The five Democratic members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement in which they questioned Bachmann’s ability to “work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis”. Former Secretary of State Colin Power and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson said that her comments had influenced their decisions to endorse Obama for president.
PART II TOMORROW
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