12/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What's the Matter with Minnesota?

--Two weeks ago, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman defended the McCain campaign's defamatory automated phone calls in that state about Barack Obama by suggesting that Obama has "anti-American views." She also went on to call for a full-scale media investigation of the anti-American views of other members of Congress. She reiterated these views the next day on Hardball.

--Minnesota boasts the first Muslim Congressman in the United Stages, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, who has been attacked by conservative commentator Glen Beck, formerly of CNN and now at Fox News, who asked him on the air, "What I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'" Bachman has attacked Muslims categorically in speeches, saying for instance, "Not all values are equal...We are seeing that those who are coming into France--which had a beautiful culture--the French culture is actually diminished...It's being taken over by a Muslim ethic." (NOTE: Ellison was sworn into office on the Koran, probably the origin of the McCain camp-manufactured-and-spread rumor that Obama was sworn in that way).

--Rep. Bachman, along with Minnesota Republican Congressman Eric Paulsen, has been the recipient of the largess of Pete Sessions (R-TX) through his PAC, People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth. Sessions, a fierce advocate of "family values" in his campaigns for office, held a notorious fundraiser for this PAC at a Las Vegas strip-joint called Forty Deuce in March 2007, outraging bone-fide family values Republicans back in his home state. (See my blogs "Pete the Streak's Las Vegas Burlesque" (Aug.1), "Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought" (Aug. 5), and "The Two Petes" (Aug. 11). Bachman (also vociferously "pro-family") received $2500 from Session's PAC.

--It was at a rally for John McCain in Lakeville, Minn., that local citizen Gayle Quinnell said to McCain about Barack Obama, "I've been hearing about him...He's...He's an Arab." McCain replied to her, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man." Quinell informed reporters who trailed her from the rally that she didn't believe what McCain told her.

It seems likely that Quinnell was confusing three different words or ideas here: "Muslim" (because people acting in support of McCain have spread the rumor that Obama is Muslim), Arab (she was assuming that "Muslim" and "Arab" mean the same thing), and "terrorist" (assuming further that "terrorist" is synonym for "Arab" or "Muslim," and influenced by the McCain campaign's incessant accusations that Obama associates with terrorists). Just a guess.

--After Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman announced that he was ceasing all negative advertising against Democratic opponent Al Franken, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) mailed out a children's comic book in Minnesota associating Franken with rape and pornography (he once told a joke about rape on Saturday Night Live and for a while wrote a column for Playboy). The book's cover shows a caricature of Franken peering out from behind the door of what looks like an outhouse, saying "Come on in kids...Senators Franken's going to tell you a few jokes."

Obviously the NRSC wouldn't have sent out such a piece of mail without Coleman's tacit approval. Coleman had also attended a rally the week before at which Barack Obama was compared to Charles Manson.

Republicans are on very thin ice when they raise the subject of children and rape. We already blogged this subject when the McCain campaign accused Obama of favoring full sex education for kindergarten children (see "McCain Amidst the Sexual Predators: Does GOP Mean 'Grand Old Pedophiles,'" Sept. 15). In You Don't Know Me: A Citizen's Guide to Republican Family Values, we catalogue forty-six instances of pedophilia involving Republican officials. Last August, when Missouri state Rep. Scott Muschany (R-Frontenac) was arrested and indicted for sexual assault of a 14-year old girl, we were able to add No. 47 to our list.

--During the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul at the beginning of September, Colorado delegate Gabriel Nathan Schwartz reported to police that a woman had stolen $120,000 of jewelry and other belongings from his room at the Hotel Ivy, a luxury hotel in downtown Minneapolis (he subsequently lowered the estimate to $50,000). According to his story, a "beautiful woman" came on to him at the hotel bar, accompanied him upstairs to his room, mixed him a drink, told him to take off his clothes--and the next thing he knew he woke up to the discovery of the theft of his goods. Schwartz was not staying with the Colorado delegation, which was housed at a different hotel.

Prior to this incident, Schwartz had been interviewed on local TV about his allegiance to the convention's nominee (he had originally been a supporter of Rudy Giuliani). Specifically, he was asked what he expected under a McCain presidency. "Less taxes and more war," he had answered with a smile. He said the U.S. should "bomb the hell" out of Iran and pay for it by seizing the country's resources. "Take the oil, take the money," he said.

--Also during the convention that nominated John McCain in Sept., while hurricane Gustav was threatening havoc on the Gulf Coast, and after John McCain had announced the suspension of convention activities because of this emergency (shades of his "suspending" his presidential campaign at the onset of the current financial crisis), Republicans held a raucous party featuring a local band called "Hookers and Blow." (see "Party Like It's 2008--and You're a Family Values Republican")

--During this convention, judging from ads that appeared on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Craigslist, there was quite a bit of activity among Republican gays--notwithstanding a plank in the convention platform opposing both civil unions for gays as well as gay marriage. (Thanks to Wonkette for the research on this).

"Hey guys," one ad said, "I'm just getting into town for the convention, looking for fellow convention attendees to fool around and have a good time. No Log Cabin here, nobody knows, so must be discreet."

Another said: "Male looking for VERY discreet four-hour party at local hotel involving more than one male with a maximum age of twenty. Hairless preferred, food, drinks, and toys will be provided as necessary."

Another: "I'm 5'8, 165 lbs, professional guy, looking for similar. We can grab a beer and talk about why Obama sucks and then get it on."

And here was a gay Democrat soliciting or taunting (or both) his Republican confreres:

"Here's the scene: I come to your hotel room, you're wearing nothing but your convention credentials. You blow me while I berate you for ruining our economy. Then I flip your over and slam your ass like hurricane Gustav is going to do to your news coverage. Then I pull out and cum on your face and you learn the real meaning of Trickle Down Theory."

--Before the convention started, Republican Lieutenant Governor of Virginia cancelled an order for 150 guidebooks to entertainment in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area because they included information and listing for gays and lesbians, such as "queer speed dating, trivia night, and dildo bingo."

--In the year prior to the 2008 convention, two major Minnesota Republican operatives, Peter Hong and Tim Droogsma, were busted outdoors in broad daylight for attempting to connect with female prostitutes (see "Getting Ready for the Republicans," July 28, and "Fuhgetaboutdit," July 29). Hong had worked for Sen. Rod Grams and Gov. Tom Pawlenty, Droogsma for Sen. Rudy Boschwitz and Gov. Arne Carlson. Prior to his arrest, Droogsma had written the Minneapolis-Star Tribune to complain about an article they published on "Sex Al Fresco."

--Gov. Tom Pawlenty, a Christian family values Republican who at the same time is thoroughly pragmatic, and also very popular in the state (unlike Sen. Coleman), and was favored by many for vice-presidential candidate, did not get chosen as John McCain's running mate. McCain felt he was too unexciting for a Maverick like himself, and chose Sarah Palin instead.

In view of all of the above, what can the state of Minnesota possibly do to redeem itself?

It can vote Elwyn Tinkenberg, Michele Bachmann's opponent, into Congress, and Al Franken into the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, at that same time that it overwhelmingly supports Barack Obama for president.

That is the kind of change Minnesota needs.