Midwest Smackdown

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Mark Noll makes the point (In our edited volume, Religion and Public Life in the Midwest), that there’s an underlying Methodist ethos in the Midwest, and in 2006 it was on display in the Ohio gubernatorial race, where sometime Methodist pastor and congressman Ted Strickland beat the pants off Ken Blackwell, paladin of the religious right in the Buckeye State. This year a replay is shaping up in Minnesota’s sixth congressional district, where former Methodist pastor (and subsequent state transportation commissioner) Elwyn Tinkenberg has, according to a new SUSA poll, just pulled ahead of Christian conservative Michele Bachman, whose recent neo-McCarthyite call for a media investigation of unAmericanism in Congress on Hardball succeeded in raising $1million or so for her opponent. Come to think of it, McCarthyism has Midwestern antecedents too. El v. Michelle. Be there.

  • Rob Winslow

    A few days ago, I sent the following letter:
    Dear Representative Bachmann:
    I protest vigorously against your recent smear and exceedingly nasty comments against members of our national legislature.
    You are a disgrace to the United States Congress, and you should both apologize and resign your position immediately.
    I have seen and heard you say that Senator Barack Obama “…may have anti-American views.”
    Further, you appear to wish to divide us Americans into those that like America and those who don’t with your following statement: “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America.”
    How, pray tell me, do you define “pro-“ and “anti-“ in terms of the “American-ness” of each of us? That is my rhetorical and logically unanswerable question, but it highlights your own absurd and, indeed, most un-American attitude. Congresswoman Bachmann, we, liberals and conservatives alike, are all pro-American, all patriots, all defenders of what we think of as best about America. We may disagree passionately, but you cannot divide us with your implication that there are among our elected representatives those who oppose America.
    You, Congresswoman Bachman, have defined yourself as being among the most anti-American persons I have ever seen and heard speak. I reiterate my demand that you apologize for your anti-American remarks and that you simultaneously resign your seat in the Congress of our free people.
    With real patriotism and acceptance of our diversity as Americans,

  • Asinus Gravis

    While I too am deeply offended by Rep. Bachmann’s diatribe, Rob, I’m afraid you let your emotions overcome your logic. You clearly contradicted yourself, repeatedly in your letter.
    You too made nasty comments about a member of Congress. You suggest that she is anti-American while protesting that she implies that Obama has anti-American views. You object that she seeks to divide Americans but go on to castigate her as anti-American. Finally, you claim to be puzzled about the meaning of “anti-American,” but go on to use the label too.