Election years bring the queerest of skeletons out of the closet. And the Minnesota Republican party, including Michele Bachmann and gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, have a doozy: ties to a punk rock ministry whose leader, Bradlee Dean, praises Muslims nations for executing gay people. This could be quite the political quagmire.
It's not unusual for candidates' religious friends to be pulled into the electoral fray. Remember Jeremiah Wright? Or what about Sarah Palin's witch-hunting pal, Thomas Muthee? The Minnesota Republican Party's pious followers at the hard rock-loving church group, You Can Run But You Can't Hide are even wackier.
Journalist Andy Birkey reported this week on the numerous ties between Dean, You Can Run and the Gopher State's GOP. Infamously absurd Bachmann, who describes same-sex love as "personal enslavement," has twice attached her name to You Can Run events. Meanwhile, Emmer, the Republican's Tea Party candidate, attended a You Can Run fundraiser last year and will soon visit Dean at his home. Dean and his little punks also accepted a Republican-donated booth at a recent party convention, and helped Bachmann kick off her campaign earlier this year. These candidates and the Minnesota GOP should start distancing themselves immediately.
You Can Run's shepherd Bradlee Dean claims that gay people prey on society at large. "They molest 117 people before they're found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature," said Dean on radio program last May. He also celebrated diehard Muslims who kill gay people, "Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America... They themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do." That's certainly not the type of rhetoric a political candidate wants hovering over his or her campaign. Well, not on planet earth. But Emmer and his fellow Minnesota Republicans clearly are operating on the same plane.
Dean's assertions present two political obstacles, one pressing and the other a bit less consequential. The surmountable problem comes from the gays: they're not going to like this, even if they are Republican. Minnesota's Log Cabin Republicans described Dean's comments as "outrageous lies." Still, it's not as if many gay people would be inclined to vote for our age-old nemesis Bachmann and "family focused" Emmer comes across as a Tea Party carbon copy.
The real issue here may come from Republican and independent voters who focus in on Dean's assertion that "if America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that. That is what you are seeing in America." To right wing Americans, and especially the Tea Party, who are backing both Bachmann and Emmer, these Muslim-related remarks don't read as offensive. They read as endorsements. And if there's one thing the far right doesn't like, it's pro-Muslim politicians like that bum Barack Obama.