As we speak, the Iowa Caucuses (which, even before the deportations, had a remarkably small Ingush population) are about to take place, and while we aren't sure who will ride the wave of victory all the way to the White House - or if the wave will crest even before New Hampshire - we are petty sure that whatever happens, it ain't gonna happen to Michele Bachmann.
And I feel bad for her, because she really has put in the time in Iowa, having virtually moved there some time back, and probably having shaken every available hand in the State, but it's still never going to happen for her.
It's not her ideology, either; those of you who follow her know she can hit all the right notes a conservative electorate (caucusate?) wants to hear, and she can do it with those crazy bug eyes that just tell you that whatever she's saying she'll do in office, she'll probably try to do it.
And I have a feeling she either doesn't know or doesn't want to acknowledge what the real problem here might be - but I'm here to help, and we'll see if we can't set her straight.
At the end of their third long visit, the Butthole Surfers wanted to thank us by throwing a party, and there was a ceremonial, portentous aspect to the whole thing. First they made a huge dinner of Tex-Mex shrimp, red hot. Then came the real party, for which we cleared all the furniture from one side of the loft. They were going to play.
Early on, a friend of the band showed up with thirty-five tabs of acid. I don't remember who took what. There were dozens of friends there. But try to imagine a band, especially this one, playing with high-powered amps in an old loft building on the Bowery. I loved it, though I knew this was the end.
So she really does hit all those right notes, and if you go visit her website (which first requires a visit to the donation page, and then, in a new twist, a page that sales pitches you on her new book - then you can go visit the site), and she does it that special Lutzian language we love so well. Here are a couple of examples from her "American Jobs, Right Now" page:
REPEAL THE JOBS AND HOUSING DESTRUCTION ACT, ALSO KNOWN AS DODD-FRANK.
...Instead, we have a President who devalues the special relationship with our most trusted ally, Britain, even as he bows to kings, bends to dictators, bumbles with reset buttons, and babies radical Islamists. We have a President who tells our true friend, Israel, that it must surrender its right to defensible borders to appease forces that have never recognized that nation's right to exist...
... We have a President who - in unprecedented fashion - is ravaging our military strength and structure at a time of war, while elevating political correctness over readiness in its ranks. And we have a President who is declaring a premature end to the war on terror against the advice of his own generals.
So she can throw the red meat, just the way Iowa GOP voters like, and according to her website, she's visited every single Iowa county, just like Rick Santorum - and yet she doesn't have anywhere near Santorum's poll numbers.
The thing that's really weird about all this, at first glance, is that in a state full of conservatives who are still truly distraught about the fact that same-sex couples can marry in Iowa, she really don't like "Teh Gays".
Consider this, from an article by Michelle Goldberg in "The Daily Beast", back in June of '11...
Lots of politicians talk about a sinister homosexual agenda. Bachmann, who has made opposition to gay rights a cornerstone of her career, seems genuinely to believe in one. Her conviction trumps even her once close relationship with her lesbian stepsister.
Why doesn't she just walk around with a sandwich board draped on her body, equipped neon lights flashing the words, "Homos Be Gone"? That would be more subtle.
And while they may officially deny it, it appears that the Bachmanns are able to earn a living because her husband, Marcus, actually operates one of those "pray away the gay" operations, which should be enough to out-homophobe even Santorum, who has achieved near-legendary status for his elaborate gay-themed fantasies.
Add it all up, and I'm sure Michele Bachmann wonders, right about now, why things aren't going better?
Well, I hate to tell you this, Michele, but all the homophobia in the world ain't gonna cover up the fact that a lot of folks out there think your husband is gay.
And with video like this out there, it's not really a huge surprise:
And God bless him, he is a rock for Michele: you can see him at personal appearances, right next to her, and she introduces him to almost everyone: "This is my husband, Marcus..." - but when he looks right back at the person proffering the handshake, and he smiles that big smile, and he does that "Soo nice to meet yew..." thing that he does to say hello, well, you can actually see that for some of the voters, it's a bit awkward.
Especially when you consider that he's running that "pray away the gay" clinic...
And it's not just me: Dan Savage and Jon Stewart have famously suggested that Mr. Bachmann might be in the closet - and in fact, that led to a response of its own, from June Thomas, over at "Slate":
In other words, the man who launched the "It Gets Better Project," an effort to stop the bullying of gay teens, was acting like a big bully. As Savage always notes, the kind of smear-the-queer taunts that can cause so much pain to young people aren't aimed only at kids who are gay, they're often aimed at boys who don't live up to some mythical standard of masculinity and girls who just aren't girly enough. I can only imagine how listeners who happen to have the kind of lisping, effeminate speech and affect that Savage was ridiculing felt upon hearing the attack.
(For what it's worth, I'm on Stewart's and Savage's sides here: that's because they are pointing out Bachmann's perceived hypocrisy; as Savage puts it, the effort to drag people back into the closet is Marcus Bachmann's life work, and I don't see that kind of attack as being really out of line.)
So, listen, Michele, if you're out there... I don't know what to tell ya.
You have staked your political and personal fortune on homophobia, and it worked out pretty well for awhile, but now it's quickly become a national joke - a "Field of Dongs", as it were - and all those people you were counting on to hate Teh Gay, do.
And whether it's appropriate or not, a lot of those very same haters get kinda squeamish when they see Marcus out and about.
They wonder if maybe he, too, has a bit of a "wide stance", if you know what I mean.
So good luck today, and I'm sorry that perception sometimes equals reality, especially as it relates to Marcus - but if things go as badly for you as they now appear they will, I think it's officially going to be time to stick a fork in it and call it done, because South Carolina and Florida are not going to be the bastions of bedrock conservative, LBGT-accepting voters that you'll apparently need to get over the hump here - and after that, well, it actually doesn't get better.
I'm not a Biblical kind of writer myself, but you can't help but notice that sowing and reaping are surely connected in this case, and as much as I see Michele preaching from the pulpit, I hope it's a Bible lesson she someday learns.