Michele Bachmann, The NYT and Rehberg

Just a little reminder of the truth for ya…

Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting article about Republican Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and the issue that catapulted her into the national spotlight: The gays are coming! They want to get married! Protect your children!

In March 2004, with Massachusetts soon to allow gay couples to wed, Michele Bachmann delivered a dire warning to her fellow Minnesotans: The children of their state were at risk.

“We will have immediate loss of civil liberties for five million Minnesotans,” Mrs. Bachmann, then a state senator, told a Christian television network as thousands gathered on the steps of the Capitol to rally for a same-sex marriage ban she proposed. “In our public schools, whether they want to or not, they’ll be forced to start teaching that same-sex marriage is equal, that it is normal and that children should try it.”

Anti-gay rhetoric. And the willful promulgation of ignorance. Seems like it’s pretty popular right now in some circles. Meanwhile, the American public is (mostly) not buying it. American acceptance of gay marriage is trending steadily upward, and only 32% of the people polled last October said gay marriage is a “very important issue” in their considerations at the ballot box- both for and against- so the number against is even less than that. The Pew Poll:

The economy and jobs overshadow other issues, including social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, in importance for voters. Fully 90% of registered voters say the economy will be very important to their vote while nearly as many (88%) rate jobs as very important.

By contrast, just 43% say abortion will be very important and just 32% say the same about same-sex marriage — the lowest percentage for 13 issues tested. Opponents of same-sex marriage (44% very important) are more likely than supporters (22%) to say that this issue will be very important to their vote.

Americans are increasingly seeing the anti-gay stance as bigoted and wrong- and rightly so. But it’s important to remember that Michele Bachmann- polling well in Montana– has her political roots firmly in this cesspool.

And what’s this got to do with Rehberg? Well, how about this reminder from January:

Billing Bachmann as a “possible presidential contender,” the Montana GOP announced Monday the third-term congresswoman would be one of the speaker’s at the state party’s annual fundraiser in Helena on Feb. 5.

Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is seriously weighing a bid for Senate, is also a listed speaker.

“Congresswoman Bachmann is a leading voice for conservative Republicans.  She is in great demand for speaking engagements throughout the country.  We are very fortunate Michele Bachmann will be our guest in Montana’s capital city and are grateful for Congressman Rehberg’s assistance in making this possible,” said Lewis and Clark County Republican Central Committee chairman Bridget Holland. (emphasis mine)

And well- of course. It makes sense. Rehberg has his own anti-gay history:

When you’re from Montana, it’s hard to find things to do — so practical jokes come in handy.

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) recently played a gag on Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) on their Middle East congressional delegation trip last month.

Rehberg left an “Idaho Travel Package” on Simpson’s airplane seat.

Contents included a stuffed sheep with gloves attached to it (draw your own conclusions), a Village People CD, books on cross-dressing and sign language and a T-shirt that reads, “My senator may not be gay, but my governor is Butch.”

Rehberg is proud of the gift bag. “I spent a bit of time putting the things together,” he boasted.

(Simpson) was amused but not surprised that Rehberg was the bearer of such presents. “You can always find those materials in Montana,” he said, laughing.

After calls for an apology from a variety of quarters, none was given. An offhand statement was offered-from an office spokesman- saying, “No offense was intended.” Obviously, Rehberg doesn’t take the offense to his constituents seriously. He never has. Nor will he see the ridiculous “star” that he has hitched his wagon to- Michele Bachman- for what it really is: a willful attempt at fear-mongering, scientific ignorance and blatant pandering to an increasingly shrinking part of the American population.

It’s embarrassing. I just hope the people of Montana catch on soon, because I really don’t believe he represents the views of the majority of voting Montanans- Montanans believe in justice for all- not justice for some. and it’s easy to forget some very important things in light of repeated smokescreen rhetoric. But I believe we’re smarter than that.

So let’s vote like it.