Saturday, December 04, 2004

Strib to Profile Michele Bachmann

Posted by Craig Westover | 6:09 AM |  

The Star Tribune’s Washington County and Western Wisconsin reporter Kevin Duchschere is working on a profile of State Senator Michele Bachmann and contacted me for comments because of my letter this past April, published in the Pioneer Press.

Respect character of Sen. Bachmann

I strongly disagree with Stillwater Sen. Michele Bachmann on the issue of gay marriage. Nonetheless, she remains one of the few politicians to whom I have contributed campaign funds.

I regret that redistricting deprives me of the opportunity to vote for her again.

I had the opportunity to meet Bachmann while working in opposition to the Profile of Learning. I was immediately impressed by her sincerity, conviction and dedication to principles and values. I doubt there is a harder working member of the state Legislature, one more willing to suffer the slings and arrows of public criticism in defense of her beliefs or one less susceptible to selling out herself and her constituents for mere political expediency.

So, while I regret that Bachmann doesn’t see that the individual freedom she fought for while battling the government-intrusive Profile of Learning is equally threatened by a constitutional amendment defining a family, while I regret that she doesn’t realize to preserve a free society sometimes we have to protect the rights of others to engage in activities we might find morally reprehensible, I also know that the state senator can be reasoned with, but she will never be intimidated or bought.

We need more legislators of Sen. Bachmann’s character.
As I told Duchschere, that remains my opinion today. Michele is the definition of integrity -- in terms of honesty and in terms of consistency of her beliefs. Like many conservatives, I think that at times she confuses individual rights, democracy and majority rule and minority rights and government authority, but confused integrity is far preferable to politics of planned duplicity. She’d have my vote again today.

Besides the usual observations about Michele that she is controversial and many people don’t like her, Duchschere made an interesting comment to me, that I had to jump all over. That was that many people feel Michele is “sinister” and “manipulative.” Not at all, but, as I told him, that’s a common complaint made about people who just plain work harder than most other people care to. Michele is passionate about what she believes in, and what she believes in is the focus of what she does. Those seeking rationale for their own mediocrity often find it easier to demean the excellence of others rather than face their own lack of passion or make an effort at real debate.

I left Duchschere with the hope that he wasn’t doing a hatchet job on Michele. He noted that she is “controversial,” but he was wasn’t out to get her. I feel like Brian “Saint Paul” Ward -- I’m skeptical. We’ll see.

UPDATE: King Banian writes, "Craig, I recall that Duchschere was the reporter who covered Scott Johnson and the St. Olaf teach-in, and we thought then he was quite fair. Let's hope this continues."

Scott Johnson, noted the same at the time of the event --

The students sent out a press release on the program that attracted the attention of the Star Tribune. When Kevin Duchschere of the Star Tribune called me to interview me about the event, he asked me twice whether I was preparing a lecture specifically for this program.

Was this some kind of a joke? Studying for the talk and working on a draft is all that I had been doing in my free time over the previous month and I had just finished a draft of the lecture the night before I spoke with Kevin. I still haven't figured out what thought lay behind his questions, but Kevin was a total pro and a delight to speak with. I e-mailed him the draft and I think he read it. When I spoke with Kevin again Friday night to ask if his story would run on Saturday, he concluded by asking me what Churchill biography he should read. A good sign!
Scott's "A good sign" hopefully overrides my post's "I'm skeptical."