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Michele Bachmann’s political outreach hasn’t extended very far, critics say

5 September 2011 General 3 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

By , Published: September 4

WOODBURY, Minn. — Rep. Michele Bachmann’s staff had set up video equipment for six Muslim constituents who had come to her district office for a meeting. The plan was for them to have a teleconference with the congresswoman, who was in Washington.

But Bachmann did not turn up, said Ikram Ul Huq, the Republican activist who organized the 2009 meeting. It was the second time the group had been stood up by Bachmann, whose office blamed a scheduling conflict. Huq said Bachmann offered no apology and did not attempt to reschedule.

“We wanted to talk about jobs and the local issues that matter to us. She simply dodged the thing,” recalled Huq, who has set up similar meetings with other Republican lawmakers.

In her nearly five years in Congress,Bachmann has connected deeply with tea party activists and social conservatives, but some constituents outside those circles say that she is distant and unresponsive and that, at times, she has snubbed them outright.

As Bachmann struggles to maintain her top-tier status among GOP presidential contenders, she is trying to extend the reach of her campaign, meeting with a wider array of groups as well as with mainstream fundraisers. But that effort appears to be a departure for Bachmann, whose political career has not relied on appealing to a broad spectrum of voters.

A polarizing figure nationally and in her party, Bachmann has a similar profile in her central Minnesota district. Dozens of interviews yielded a picture of a passionate champion of the dedicated right: home-schooling parents, anti-tax suburbanites, Christian-values voters and like-minded people who feel ignored by their government officials.

But others in the state’s 6th Congressional District, including some Republicans, say she has shown little interest in engaging with their concerns.

“With Michele, I feel totally ignored,” said Sue Hedin, a Stillwater librarian who considers herself a Democratic-leaning independent. “With no other representative have I felt quite that way.”

Bachmann’s supporters contend that she has worked with a variety of constituents in leading bipartisan efforts. They cite her efforts to repeal controversial education standards as a state senator and her strong support as a congresswoman of a four-lane bridge connecting her home town of Stillwater with Wisconsin.

“Whenever she comes to town, she’s all over the place. And anybody can ask whatever they want, and she makes every attempt to answer whatever questions are thrown her way,” said James Rugg, a resident of St. Cloud, the largest city in her district.

Rugg and other supporters say they see her at virtually every tea party rally, at home-schooling conventions and veterans’ events. She marched in Stillwater’s annual Lumberjack Days parade this year.

Asked about the no-show meeting with the Muslim constituents in 2009, Becky Rogness, a spokeswoman for Bachmann’s congressional office, said cancellations were sometimes unavoidable. The office declined to comment about specific incidents but said Bachmann strives to respond to all of her constituents regardless of their points of view.

>> Continue reading: Michele Bachmann’s political outreach hasn’t extended very far, critics say

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3 Comments »

  1. I would have been more surprised if she HAD shown up! Really, did you think she would? Face it, she’s the Tea Party’s little darling and she somehow thinks that will get her in the Oval Office. My hope is that the USA is still bigger than the Tea Party and that it will just divide the Republican vote so Obama has a better chance of being re-elected. Honestly, with the GOP in charge anybody in any kind of minority has no hope of representation. What am I saying?! Even the MAJORITY has no hope of representation! If you’re not a rich WASP and a Republican to boot, you’re useless to them, except as something to wring dry for every last penny you might have.

    Yes, I know I sound bitter; these last few months have so soured me against the far right I can hardly stand it. What more do they want? Why have they sworn allegiance to ‘not raise taxes’ over the good of the people who put them in office in the first place? Why do they ignore such large populations of their own constituents, like the Muslims, and cater exclusively to the Christians? And most of all, WHY ARE THEY SO &%#!*$# STUPID?

  2. Kathryn:

    I concur with everything you stated in your comment!!

    Personally, I think the snubbing of the Muslim group was an intentional effort on the part of Michelle Bachmann.

    What GOP member is catering to the Muslim community….particularly when so many in the GOP are pushing their Islamaphobic rhetoric and pressuring others in the GOP to do the same?!

    They could be listed on one hand….with fingers to spare….!

  3. DISCLAIMER: (next 7 verses) i’m a weak reader and so as i’ve begun reading the koran 7 verses at a time, it hepls me to cut and paste them after i’ve read them because i then re-read them on this post. they may have absolutely nothing to do with this article. i welcome any input as to historical context or to whom some of the pronouns are refering.
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

    [3.29] Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it, and He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and Allah has power over all things.
    [3.30] On the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil, it shall wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long duration of time; and Allah makes you to be cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and Allah is Compassionate to the servants.
    [3.31] Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL
    [3.32] Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.
    [3.33] Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations.
    [3.34] Offspring one of the other; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
    [3.35] When a woman of Imran said: My Lord! surely I vow to Thee what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Thy service); accept therefore from me, surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing.
    [3.36] So when she brought forth, she said: My Lord! Surely I have brought it forth a female– and Allah knew best what she brought forth– and the male is not like the female, and I have named it Marium, and I commend her and her offspring into Thy protection from the accursed Shaitan.

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