Perhaps, though, I sensed it. After all, I’ve always been a Michele Bachmann fan. Still, even I didn’t expect to discover she’s an authentic neocon--the genuine article--a liberal mugged by reality back in the 1970s.
Here’s her autobiographical account, speaking to Michigan Republicans Tuesday:
“Michigan is a tough state, but I do believe that Democrats, independents, Republicans, all make up fair-minded, reasonable people. I say that because I grew up in a Democrat state, and I have to share a little secret with you: I was a Democrat when I grew up. Because in Minnesota, they stamp that on your birth certificate! You know that, that's how it works.
I didn't realize until I went off to college one day -- this is the honest to God truth -- I was going off to college, and I was reading this snotty novel. It was written by Gore Vidal, and I was maybe like a junior in college, or -- yeah, I think was maybe a junior in college. I was reading this snotty novel, and he was going after our Founders. And he was mocking them. And he was making fun out of them.
I was a reasonable, fair-minded Democrat. And another secret you need to know: My husband and I met in college. We worked on Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign. It's true, it's true. This is like a 12-step meeting here today, you know that. Because I am here to admit to you, I'm a Minnesotan who had "DFL" - that's what we call Democrats in our state -- stamped on my birth certificate, worked for Jimmy Carter. The first time I ever went to Washington, DC, I went to dance at Jimmy Carter's inaugural ball! It gets worse!
Until I was reading this snotty novel called 'Burr,' by Gore Vidal, and read how he mocked our Founding Fathers. And as a reasonable, decent, fair-minded person who happened to be a Democrat, I thought, 'You know what What he's writing about, this mocking of people that I revere, and the country that I love, and that I would lay my life down to defend -- just like every one of you in this room would, and as many of you in this room have when you wore the uniform of this great country -- I knew that that was not representative of my country.
And at that point I put the book down and I laughed. I was riding a train. I looked out the window and I said, 'You know what? I think I must be a Republican. I don't think I'm a Democrat.'
And from that moment on, I recognized that it was the Republican Party, and conservatives in particular, who really got America -- who we are, what we stand for, and are unashamed about the values that the Founders lived and died and shed their blood and their treasure for.”
Okay, maybe Bachmann wasn’t quite mugged by reality. She was mugged by Gore Vidal. But she certainly drew the right conclusions, and has acted on them. Thanks, Gore. We owe you one.