Because Walter Mondale was saved by 3,761 Minnesota voters from losing his home state to Ronald Reagan in 1984, it is the only state to have voted Democratic in nine consecutive presidential elections. Minnesota is a blue state, but is given to idiosyncratic political flings. Minnesotans, Bachmann says, like "authentic" people of whatever political inclinations, from the cerebral Eugene McCarthy to the visceral Jesse Ventura.Bachmann, an authentic representative of the Republican base, had quite enough on her plate before politics. She and Marcus, a clinical psychologist, were raising their children -- they had four then; they have five now -- and, as foster parents, were raising some other people's children, 23 of them, a few teenagers at a time.
Born in Iowa but a Minnesotan by age 12, Bachmann acquired what she calls "her family's Hubert Humphrey knee-jerk liberalism." She and her husband danced at Jimmy Carter's inauguration. Shortly thereafter, however, she was riding on a train and reading Gore Vidal's novel "Burr," which is suffused with that author's jaundiced view of America. "I set the book down on my lap, looked out the window and thought: That's not the America I know." She volunteered for Reagan in 1980.
Looking toward 2012, she is not drawn merely to Sarah Palin or other darlings of social conservatives. She certainly is one of those, but she knows that economic hardship and government elephantiasis now trump other issues.
When she was a teenager in Anoka, Minn., she was a nanny for a young girl named Gretchen Carlson. Today, Carlson, a Stanford honors graduate who studied at Oxford, is a host of "Fox & Friends," the morning show on -- wouldn't you know -- Fox News Channel. See how far ahead the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy plans?