In next month's issue of Rolling Stone, out online today, is a in-depth, hilarious, and deeply alarming profile of Michele Bachmann — the number-one God-recommended 2012 GOP presidential candidate. The article, by Matt Taibbi, chronicles Michele Bachmann's life and entry into politics, a journey that's been shaped by one thing: her intense fundamentalist Christianity.
The profile is worth reading in its entirety, both for its insight into one of America's most baffling political voices, and also for the sheer buoyancy of Taibbi's prose. Here's a bit from the first page:
And don't look her in the eyes; don't let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She's trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.
Her biography is interesting and at times, impressive (she's a lawyer who raised five of her own children and twenty-three foster kids), but by far the strangest aspect of it is her continued insistence that every major decision in her life came directly from God. She claims to have been diddling along one day when God told her to study tax law. ("Tax law? I hate taxes." she allegedly thought.) But she did it. Same goes with her decision to run for Minnesota State Senator, and again for her every step along the road 'til today. Mostly she was baffled (she also had no desire to enter politics, 'til God told her to), but she always listened. Taibbi writes:
Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She's not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully, and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That's not what Bachmann's thing is. Bachmann lies because she can't help it, because it's a built-in component of both her genetics and her ideology. She is at once the most entertaining and the most dangerous kind of liar, a turbocharged cross between a born bullshit artist and a religious fanatic, for whom lying to the infidel is a kind of holy duty.
I know we've never had a non-Christian president, but level of zeal seems like it should disqualify Bachmann. Can you have the separation of church and state, if you have a president who claims to do things because God tells her to? Can the leader of a diverse and multi-faith society be a woman who believes that Christianity is the master faith? I'd argue no.