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The Steve King of Minnesota

BY MICHAEL DALE-STEIN | APRIL 15, 2010 7:30 AM

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It’s funny how somebody I don’t even know can embarrass me simply by association — association via political representation, nonetheless.

Being from Minnesota, I’ve endured my fair share of political castigation, especially when it comes to my state’s affinity for faux celebs. But I’ve always been able to laugh it off in good stride.

Until now.

Enter Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the woman who reasoned that swine-flu outbreaks correlated with the presence of a Democrat president holding office.

Last weekend in Sioux City, Bachmann rallied conservatives at Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s annual Defenders of Freedom fundraiser (which genuinely sounds like it could be a Saturday morning cartoon from the 1980s). Bachmann and King’s political puppy love extends further — the two peas in a homophobic pod are negotiating to share the same press staffer.

But for contextual purposes, let’s flash back to my sophomore year at the University of Iowa, to a time when baby-kissers and statesmen were in a caucus-feeding frenzy. After a couple of semesters living in Iowa City, I became well-versed in the political landscape of the state.

And then I discovered one universal truth: Everybody hates King, the state’s foil to political correctness. Well, that may be a bit hyperbolic, especially because his western Iowa congressional seat is safe. But after all the times King’s decided to flap his gums and rattle off ignominious bigotry, it’s a shock that he’s still in office. Although by now, I’m sure his narrow-minded comments are all muddled together in one oversaturated ball of xenophobia.

Now with Bachmann crusading across the Midwest, I finally feel your pain, Iowa. If a Poliholics Anonymous existed, I’d storm to the front of the room and declare: “Hi, my name is Michael Dale-Stein, and I think one of my state representatives is a dolt.”

It’s only a matter of time before Bachmann becomes part of the 2012 presidential race. On April 7, the two femme fatales of Main Street politics — Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — held a rally in Minnesota to take pot shots at Obama.

Joint ticket, anyone?

And now, with Bachmann making the routine political sojourn to Iowa, I’m worried she might gain enough confidence to force her ideology down the nation’s throat. Not that she isn’t on Washington and the mainstream media’s radar.

Last November, she miffed local constituents after mobilizing a gathering of health-care-reform opponents in Washington, D.C. The problem? It cost $14,000 — which the taxpayers ultimately paid for.

In Minnesota’s Sixth District, where Bachmann hails from, Republicans have ruled the land for the last few elections. Bachmann received 50 percent of the vote in 2006 (her first run for the seat) and was re-elected in 2008 with 46 percent, besting her opponent by 3 percentage points. In the 2010 election, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists her seat as leaning Republican.

But if Bachmann loses this November or declares 2010 to be her final re-election campaign, there’s more than sufficient reason for her to pursue a job in the White House — most likely as a vice-presidential candidate.

So when Bachmann comes marching through Iowa again — which is bound to happen as midterm elections pass and 2012 falls within the sight of politicians, if it hasn’t already — be wary. Be very wary, Iowans.

The last thing this country needs is another naïve politician going rogue.


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