"Where all the women are strong and the men are good looking."
Amy Klobuchar, (D, MN, U.S. Senate) and Michele Bachmann (R, MN, U.S. House of Representatives) could be the archetypes for the Lake Woebegone, Minnesota women whose tales Garrison Keillor tells.
For both are really strong. Besides, both are Minnesotans with the kind of deep roots Keillor favors: Klobuchar was born and raised in the state, returning after college and law school. Bachmann was raised in Minnesota from an early age and also returned after college and law school.
But there is one really big difference between Klobuchar and Bachmann: Only Klobuchar cares for those less fortunate. Klobuchar is strong for others as well as for herself.
So, it was stunning to me when caring Amy Klobuchar -- not to mention high school valedictorian, published author, University of Chicago law review associate editor, rising political star in her twenties, woman talked about as our first woman president, or as a Supreme Court Justice, Amy Klobuchar -- told me she was concerned about the prospect of Michele Bachmann running against her for election to the U.S. Senate.
Since Klobuchar is witty, we joked around a bit about the prospect of a Bachmann Senate candidacy. But we quickly agreed that the prospect wasn't really a laughing matter, that there was work to be done now to make sure Klobuchar was well-financed for a Senate run that might be against Bachmann.
Interestingly, later, it was proposed to me that Bachmann running against Klobuchar might be a good thing. For that contest would demonstrate just how gifted Klobuchar is; just how great a President, or a Supreme Court Justice, Klobuchar would make.
Why? Well, there are two big reasons. First, because a race against Bachmann would show the depth of Klobuchar's concern for others. Bachmann would be out-classed, big time.
Second, a Senate race against Bachmann would require raising not just millions and millions, but millions and millions and millions, in the face of the Tea Party's likelihood of doing the same for Bachmann. This would mean Klobuchar would be buying lots of TV airtime. Inevitably, the national media would pick up those ads. That would be really great if Klobuchar were eying the Presidency, say.
But we're not in the run-up to 2016. Instead, we're mired in 2010, faced with the daunting task of alleviating the country's economic distress. Yet, daily, Amy Klobuchar and the rest of our caring public officials are battling with Bachmann and her Tea Party colleagues doing absolutely everything they can to deepen this distress, by rejecting policies that are caring and that would create economic opportunity for those who most need it.
What is it about this country that those so supremely qualified to be Senators, or Justices or Presidents, could be felled by the likes of the Michele Bachmanns of our nation?
All of us recited the same Pledge of Allegiance, we all said those words, "liberty and justice for all," thousands and thousands of times.
Just like the rest of us, little Amy and little Michele pledged allegiance to a nation that promised liberty and justice for all, not just for some (rich) some, pledged allegiance not to a nation that had one set of tax rules for the rich and another for the poor, pledged allegiance not to a nation that had one set of laws for the children of immigrants and then a different and better set for others' children.
Clearly, Michele Bachmann just said those words of the Pledge. Clearly, Michele Bachmann didn't take the Pledge to heart. For where is the heart, or the justice, in Bachmann's proposals to cut back government spending on programs that enable the hungry to eat, the ill to get medical care, the old to get health insurance? There isn't any.
Where is the liberty in Bachmann's proposals that Social Security be eliminated or that the minimum wage not be increased? There isn't any.
Yet, Amy Klobuchar isn't licking her chops at the prospect of a contest against Bachmann. She's not, because she's having to run for re-election when there are way, way too many Michelle Bachmanns floating around, way, way too many Americans who didn't and don't take our Pledge to heart.
I love hearing Garrison Keillor remind me that the women are strong. But, today, I'm reminded that strong isn't enough. Our prairie home companion (woman Senator from Minnesota or wherever else) needs to be caring. Strong and good looking can come later.