Sunday, June 24, 2012

Michele Bachmann's Core of Conviction 1

I started Michele Bachmann's Core of Conviction: My Story.

Why am I reading this book, when she's out of the race for U.S. President, and arguably is not as popular or prominent as she once was?  I did not particularly care for Michele Bachmann back when she was popular and prominent (not that I knew her personally, then or now).  This was for a variety of reasons: my dislike for evangelicalism, and my hatred of right-wing judgmentalism and hypocrisy.  (In Michele Bachmann's case, she and her husband have both received money from the government.)

But now that she's not as much of a power-player, I've decided to read her book, for I have a certain degree of nostalgia when it comes to the religious right (not that I agree with it on much these days).  I've long enjoyed reading the religious right's revisionist history, and also reading about the religious right itself, for part of me admires people who stand for their principles as underdogs against the establishment.  Part of me also is drawn to the simplicity of the religious right's worldview (or my impression of that worldview): that America would be all right if people believed in the Bible, loved their families, and worked hard, just like Americans supposedly did in the good old days.

On some level, such themes are present in Bachmann's book.  Regarding the underdog theme, the book opens with Bachmann unexpectedly defeating a Republican state senator whom she and others considered to be too liberal.  She went to a G.O.P. convention in jeans and a torn sweater to express concerns about the senator's nomination, and (to her surprise) she ended up becoming the opposition candidate and won after the senator condescendingly dismissed her speech as the evening's entertainment.  Michele then had to come home and tell her family the news!

Bachmann then talks about her salt-of-the earth ancestors, some of whom were Norwegian immigrants, and also the family of her upbringing.  Much of her family was Democrat, but her well-read grandmother on her father's side was a Republican.  When Michele's dad was debating the Republican grandmother on the Great Society back when Michele was a kid, the grandmother said that Michele and her brother would have to be the ones who'd pay for the programs.  Michele says that she was then sensitized to the fact that government programs have to be paid for.

A line from pages 6-7 stood out to me.  Bachmann is talking about her speech to the Republican convention, when she was running against the state senator.  She says that her "neighbors and fellow Republicans were happy to hear someone speak clear words, words that expressed their own faith and beliefs."  I find this sort of thing to be true in the blogosophere as well: People are not always drawn to blogs that think outside of the box; rather, many are drawn to blogs that express clearly and forcefully what they already believe.  They then feel elated that someone else feels the same way.

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