Gore Vidal, what have you done?
At a speech to Michigan Republicans on Tuesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) -- the darling of the Tea Party right -- told an amazing story about how she shed her youthful Democratic roots and became a Republican. As she told the tale, her political conversion was because of her disgust at a "snotty" Gore Vidal novel that satirized the Founding Fathers.
"Until I was reading this snotty novel called 'Burr,' by Gore Vidal, and read how he mocked our Founding Fathers," Bachmann told the crowd. "And as a reasonable, decent, fair-minded person who happened to be a Democrat, I thought, 'You know what? What he's writing about, this mocking of people that I revere, and the country that I love, and that I would lay my life down to defend -- just like every one of you in this room would, and as many of you in this room have when you wore the uniform of this great country -- I knew that that was not representative of my country."
"And at that point I put the book down and I laughed. I was riding a train. I looked out the window and I said, 'You know what? I think I must be a Republican. I don't think I'm a Democrat.'"
The key moment begins at about the 5:25 mark.
TPM has a good portion of the transcript posted there. And a word or warning in case anyone's curious, that blogger who posted the video is a right winger and Bachmann fan. I made the mistake of taking a look at the site.
I love one of the comments left in the TPM post and thought I'd share that as well here. I haven't read the book but his bit from Al Franken was spot on:
Burr is a great novel, and Bachmann's inability to cope with the fact that the "Founding Fathers" were very fallible human beings shows a lot about the broader Republican mindset. It also reminds me of something poignant another Minnesotan, now-Senator Al Franken, once wrote about the differences between a liberal's love of country and a conservative's love of country.
As Franken noted, liberals love America like adults love their parents, while conservatives love America like a four year-old loves his parents. Liberals love America, but can emotionally and intellectually recognize that America sometimes takes an errant path and try to get back on course. This is the same way an adult child loves a parent. Conservatives, on the other hand, think everything America does is right, just as a young child thinks everything Mommy does is right even if Mommy is acting unwisely. And a four year-old will punch you in the nose if you ever say anything bad about Mommy.