Tuesday, July 25, 2006

National: Rove Likes Bachmann!

Wow. I can’t believe the number of people who tuned in to this page to read the “Bush cursing like a madman” piece I posted last week. What is the lesson there? I usually try to maintain high standards of good taste for this publication, but when I write up a foul-mouthed rant for the President and post it the customers all come in droves. I guess that is part of the secret of the man's extraordinary popularity; he is the born-again Christian with the potty-mouth and folks just love that, for some reason. Maybe that’s how he tries to appeal to the kids; who knows.

Anyway—my day at the Rove-Bachmann fundraiser. I was not actually admitted to the building, of course (since, by the grace of our local powers-that-be, I am no longer a “credentialed member of the press.”) But I did get down there with a camera to take a few pictures outside the building.

You can learn a lot about the nature of the Republican beast by studying these images. First and most importantly: no pictures of Bachmann. Didn’t see hide nor hair of her the whole day—apparently she stayed holed up within the fastnesses of the Water Street Inn the whole time; keeping well away from the questions of her troublesome constituents. She clearly did not want to be seen with Rove out on the streets of Stillwater. The Gazette, our local daily, was forced to run separate file photos of Bachmann and Rove in their coverage of the event.

“No public photos with Rove” was probably a wise decision on Bachmann's part. It would have led to public domain images of Bachmann posing with Bush’s “politics of dividing America” mastermind. Such pictures would end up posted on blogs and in opposition campaign literature and maybe in TV ads, too. This day was about giving Michelle another crack at the big money; not about providing voters with more evidence of her commitment to divisive, wedge-issue politics.

So my guess is, her Congressional run will be a tightly controlled, big money "TV camera" candidacy; at least it will be when Bachmann’s on her supposed home turf. Her record of representing Stillwater on local issues is pretty crummy, so it is likely that grass roots opposition in her own district will remain unacknowledged and she will continue to avoid local constituents who deplore her political extremism.

Thus: the first time I saw Bachmann all day was on the evening TV news. She could be heard off-camera during the Rove sound byte, laughing hysterically at a memorably unfunny reference Rove made to the Stillwater Bridge. That seems to be one of the unwritten rules for an ambitious Republican--laugh hysterically at the “jokes” of the most powerful person in the room; it shows you have the right sort of character.

Next: Rove’s entrance and exit. The most tightly guarded I’ve ever seen in small town Minnesota. He had front men and flak catchers, local police, etc. covering his entrance and exits from the building. Didn’t want anybody taking his picture for free. He came in through the back door and he left through a different back door, carefully avoiding all the Americans outside who’d shown up to catch a glimpse of him. You wouldn’t know this was a public relations event from the “heavy security” approach applied to his arrival and departure. A very “South American dictator” style entrance-and-exit, considering that he was appearing here in the heartland and in a Republican-trending district.

It is true that Rove took a little verbal abuse as he attempted to sneak out the back way (“Benedict Arnold!” yelled one guy in the crowd; a reference to Rove's alleged security leak.) But he took it smilingly as his people made a corridor for him though the crowd. Security volunteers kept them from getting close enough for questions or taking a really good photo.

But see; there he is in his rented car, smiling, headed out of town, didn’t stop to say hello or goodbye to us folks outside (we weren’t paying the big bucks to talk to him.)

The protestors also took a little verbal abuse too, while Rove was inside. A dad passing by with his two young children called demonstrators “pot smokers” and “lesbians.” (I didn’t see any; but it’s so hard to tell just by looking at someone.) Demonstrators also drew some applause and some yells in support from folks driving or walking by.

Do not believe what you read in the local paper about the size of the crowd; there weren't a mere twenty people there—I would say there were about fifty. Some people seemed to have come down as part of an organized group--other locals (like my wife and I) just showed up. I guess the local reporter was only counting the people who stood in front of the building and carried signs--there were others all around the building trying to catch Rove as he made his secretive entrance and exit. These included some seniors who showed up but preferred to stay seated.

According to those inside, Rove’s remarks were unremarkable and rather disappointing to people who hoped to hear him denounce someone or something. That, too, is probably by design; Bachmann’s Sixth District run is going to be another one of her “stealth candidacies.” It’s probably been decided that in order to win this election she needs to downplay her right wing Christian fundamentalist politics; her fundamentalist base is already “in the bag,” so she can only attract more votes by trying to deceive people who don’t know who she really is and what she really stands for.

And so, she strikes the “mainstream” Republican pose--again. So far she has been quite successful with this; the biggest newspapers around simply refuse to identify her as a Christian fundamentalist politician. I can only guess why they won’t acquaint their readers with her very public fundamentalist rhetoric and policy proposals (e.g. when she suggested that creationist theories be taught in public schools along with evolution, etc. etc.) I suppose the big papers are afraid of alienating powerful Republican advertisers and a large number of Christian readers by identifying Bachmann for what she is. One more reason why I continue to get my news directly off the wire instead of subscribing to the Strib or PiPress; I don’t like people editing reality to make extremists seem more mainstream.

In the papers she claimed her top priority was education (even though her record on funding public education is abysmal.) Another example of the “stealth fundamentalist candidacy;” claiming education as a top priority sounds more mainstream than her notorious top priority for the last few years--when she was publicly identifying gay marriage as “the” issue of our times, a threat to our civilization, and the reason she stopped the work of the state legislature for a session.

Now these next photos are downright creepy, and you won’t see them in any of the papers. Prior to the rally, when the demonstrators began to arrive, this hefty fellow in a suit and tie was videotaping them from inside the Water Street Inn, so I assume he was somehow associated with the Bachmann event.

Later he came out and started photographing them outside the building, too—didn’t seem interested in recording anything except the people who were protesting the Bachmann/Rove event. I asked him who he was, whether or not he was with the Bachmann/Rove event, why he was videotaping the people who were protesting—and he refused to say! Refused to even answer me; just stared straight ahead and frowned. Isn’t that weird? Does anyone recognize him? Heavyset guy; in his twenties; a little Van Dyke beard?

Very KGB for a small town America political event, I think—recording the faces of people who protest, and refusing to say who you are and why you’re doing it. What, are they making some kind of “list” for future reference? Welcome to Karl Rove’s America; Michele Bachmann’s Minnesota.


At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised that the event was held at the Water Street Inn. The owner there is a creep, apparently Republican too. But the really creepy kind. I have had several run-ins with him, all unpleasant. Dougherty or some name like that. Otherwise, nice coverage Bill. Bachmann must be stopped!

At 3:38 PM, Blogger bratworst said...

a fundraiser with no pictures or real coverage, no comments, no nothing, it was like, A GATED EVENT for a GATED COMMNUNITY by a party FOR A GATED AMERICA with GATED MINDS - but I digress - yes, the hysterical laughing at unfunny jokes by the power mad, er, powerphull, says it all - I AM A TOADY OF VALUES AND BELIEVE IN TOADY BASED INITIATIVES ! !

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Tim from Woodbury said...


I believe the guy with the video camera is Luke Hellier. Luke was behind the Student for Bachmann blog which appears to have died.

Luke is a student at St. John's. (Please don't hold that against St. John's). I believe he is from Lakeville.



for a picture (scroll down the page a bit)

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

That's interesting. I'll have to write the guy and see if he's the guy you think he is.
What's the big deal about telling someone who you are and what you're doing and why you're doing it, is my point. I talked to Secret Service agents when I went to take pictures of President Bush in Hudson WI; they were more forthcoming than this mysterious guy at the Bachmann rally. Also: this "recording the protestors" thing--is that a standard practice at Bachmann events? Did Bachmann's "official" employees know that this guy was doing that? Or is this another one of her deals where she disclaims responsibility for something sleazy and says "hey, that's my campaign volunteers, that's not me."

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

Off topic, but Merry Christmas anyway:

Last update: July 26, 2006 – 4:27 PM

Coleman's father cited for lewd conduct
Curt Brown, Star Tribune

The 81-year-old father of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman was cited for lewd conduct and indecent exposure Tuesday for allegedly having sex in a vehicle with a 38-year-old woman, according to police reports.
Police responded to a call early Tuesday evening and arrested Norman Bertram Coleman Sr. and the woman, Patrizia M. Schrag of St. Paul, outside a pizza joint on the eastern edge of downtown.

Sen. Coleman issued a statement this afternoon that said:

"I love my father dearly. I do not condone his actions or behavior, and I am deeply disturbed by what I have learned. He clearly has some issues that need to be dealt with, and I will encourage him to seek the necessary help."

The elder Coleman was a fixture on the campaign trail four years ago when Coleman defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale after Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash.

Sen. Coleman often held up his father as a hero, a veteran of the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. "He's the smartest man I know," the senator said in 2002.

Curt Brown • 651-298-1542

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

That college cult classic Facebook.com seems to confirm Tim's hypothesis. He is the admin of a "Students for Bachmann" group on the website.

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not familiar with college Facebook.com because I am an old, old man who pisses blood in the morning and needs to take Viagra just to keep from falling over. But one thing I do know--I found young Mr. Hellier's email address and wrote him a brief note; I included the snapshot I posted here on the blog and asked him if he was indeed the guy in the photos with the video camera. Let's see if he can provide the answer to this latest Bachmann riddle, eh? Thanks for writing in with that website, Mike--and Chris, thanks for letting us know that Norm Coleman's wrinkly old dad got busted for illegal public poking outside the Pizza Palace. Eighty-one years old and he's still fighting the Battle of the Bulge! You go, gramps! And don't you worry about your him, Norm, he doesn't need any "help!" Man, eighty-one years old and he's still doing girls half his age in public! "Fuck that 'hotel room' stuff, people, I was in the war! The big one! I'll do this woman right here on the streets of St. Paul! I'm 81 and I'm doing a woman young enough to be my granddaughter against the wall of a downtown pizza joint! Look at me go!" This is why they are called "The Greatest Generation," people.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

I think the student for Bachmann is now a full-scale campaign worker.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Avidor said...

Is this also Luke Hellier?.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger DavidD said...

Yes that is Luke, in both sets of pictures. I went to college with him. I was a Senior when he was a Freshman. He is a full time campaign worker, is behind SFB and he is from Lakeville.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Avidor said...

There's more about this at the Dump Michele Bachmann Blog

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

I wrote to Mr. Hellier’s email address (which I obtained from a Minnesota College Republicans website) and asked if he is indeed the videographer dude in the photos. So far, no answer—but that “no answer” is consistent with the way the videographer dude blew me when I asked him who he was and why he was recording the people protesting! Spooooky!

At 11:17 PM, Blogger lloydletta said...

Bill - you might call the Bachmann campaign and ask for Luke.

He is now working for the campaign. He is mentioned in Bachmann's campaign finance reports.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger lloydletta said...

The strib did have a photo of Bachmann with Rove.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger Prendergast said...

That's nice that they did run a photo of her with Rove. May come in handy for someone in the future. We just received some of her campaign literature; it is indeed very mainstream. Stresses her photo-op "accomplishments;" no mention of the anti-gay stuff. No mention of Jesus, either, for that matter.
She is obviously convinced that she will lose this particular race if the voters in the district wake up to the fact that she is actually a fundamentalist and a closeted extremist. We have her public statements and her record to prove this; but the Strib and the PiPress are loathe to point it out to the readers. (So are local Stillwater papers in their news reporting, but they don't count for much outside Stillwater.)
As for calling up Mr. Luke to find out if he's the videographer, I'll give it a try. But as I say, the Bachmann types didn't answer my questions even when I wrote for a paper--I doubt they're going to start talking to me now that I am a mere constituent--La B is noted for ignoring constituents with embarrassing questions. And remember, I already asked the guy in person who he was, and he refused to say.
But thanks for the suggestion; I will give it a go.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

My wife pointed out that there is a horrible typo in one of my comments here! In one of my previous comments I make reference to how the videographer "blew me"; that should of course read: "blew me off"; ignored me. Apologies to all concerned.

At 12:43 AM, Blogger lloydletta said...

You saw that you got linked by Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend and Pendagon didn't you? It's gotten you lots of traffic.

At 2:16 AM, Blogger Prendergast said...

Yes, I did see that. I always find out what's happening by checking dump bachmann.
By the way--I took your suggestion and put in calls and an email to the Bachmann campaign. I really do not expect them to come back with truthful answers to my questions about the videographer, but I will let you know--either way.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. Not only do you look completely weird in your picture, you are coming down on a guy for protecting himself. Yea, you may only be in Stillwater, MN, but when there are a supposed group of as many as 50 people who are pretty upset at you, and your boss, outside you would probably be protective as well. As far as the guy taping you, Who took the picture of him that appears on your blog. You lambaste this guy for doing what he was probably told to do when in fact whoever took the picture is doing the same thing. Pretty hypocritical! Anyway, I have not come to expect much more out of knee-jerk liberals like yourself. In fact, they were probably taping you so they could use the footage at some point to show a bunch of nutty protestors, who upset most normal individuals with there rants (including undecided voters), to their base to energize them. So I guess what I am saying is thanks for the footage, and we'll keep fighting the good fight so you morons do not ruin America.

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Prendergast said...

It's no use calling yourself "Anonymous", Senator Bachmann. Everybody here knows it's you who wrote that last post; the name-calling, the way you misrepresent the facts, the out-of-control anger and grammar. You're not fooling anybody. As for the hypocrisy thing—sure, I'm taking pictures too, but I'm willing to tell people my name and why I'm doing it. This guy wasn't, and isn't, and he was apparently associated with your campaign—and that’s creepy! And you're asking me to believe that the campaign authorized the videotaping because they were worried about the "threat" posed by a bunch of soccer moms, senior citizens and one guy dressed as Darth Vader. That's just nuts, Senator--you're in more danger ordering a corn dog at the Minnesota State Fair than you were from the protestors outside the Water Street Inn that day. "Security" can't be the reason you had those people videotaped by your campaign staff; because if you're really that paranoid about your own constituents, Senator, you're too nuts to go to Congress.
And stop making fun of my photo! A computer says I look like Angelina Jolie.

At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First picture was my favorite. Nice article, too. Thanks for keeping us posted, sir!


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