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Jim Sandsmark, Fargo, Published May 19 2012

Bachmann is less than ‘brilliant’

Scott Hennen in his Sunday column in the May 13 Forum (Face-Off) referred to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., as a “pioneering legislator,” a “brilliant legal scholar” and “successful business woman” whom feminists would use as an example of female empowerment if she didn’t have an “R” after her name. I have no reason to believe that Bachmann is not a fine mother and foster-mother, but the other descriptions are woefully misleading of the known record for Bachmann.

Bachmann has never had a bill or resolution she’s sponsored signed into law, and she’s never wielded a committee gavel, either at the full or subcommittee level. Bachmann went to a “Christian” law school at Oral Roberts University, started by a man with dubious ideas about the law (see “God’s law is the only law: The Genesis of Michele Bachmann,” by Sarah Posner) that are the underpinnings of her views of the United States as a “Christian” country that should be governed in accordance with this particular interpretation of the Bible and Christianity.

She did get an LLM in tax law at William and Mary (a fine school) and worked at the IRS for four years. An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicated she avoided any big cases and she went to trial in exactly two simple tax cases (despite referring to herself 20 years later as a tax litigator) and that she was generally viewed as unremarkable. She has not practiced law in 20 years.

She has never written a scholarly article or done anything noteworthy in the law that I could discern.

As far as her business acumen, there is no indication of her doing anything as a businessperson other than being the co-owner of her husband’s “Christian” counseling service, but there is no indication she was actively involved in the business (she is not a psychologist or licensed counselor). She has been a professional politician since the late ’90s.

Perhaps Hennen’s descriptions of Bachmann’s accomplishments are influenced by the fact that she does have an “R” after her name, rather than any discernible accomplishment by Bachmann as a legislator, in the law, or in business.


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