Running for President of the United States means thinking that you’re the one person best equipped to become the leader of the free world — which could be considered a personality tic, to say the least. “You’re probably fairly weird,” is how Newt Gingrich once put it. This is why The National Memo has launched “Strange But True,” a regular feature that will present old anecdotes, little-known facts, curious quotes and amusing videos showing a side of our politicians that they probably wish the public would ignore. (Here’s the archive.)
Rep. Michele Bachmann is a huge fan of the State of Israel for biblical and foreign policy reasons. “As a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play,” the presidential candidate and favorite daughter of the religious right explained last year at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
She first visited the country in the summer of 1974, shortly after she graduated from high school. The intensely religious teenager spent a few weeks volunteering at Kibbutz Be’eri, a communal farm and settlement near the Meditterranean named after one of the left-wing founders of Israel’s largest labor union. It was basically a socialist farming cooperative filled with irreligious Jews. She loved it.
“Our hosts would wake us up at 4:00 a.m., put us on a flatbed truck pulled by an old diesel tractor, then drive us out to the cotton fields,” she wrote in a book she released earlier this year. “I felt closer not only to Jesus but also all the great figures of the Tanach (Jewish texts) and the Gospel. And I was able to do my small part to help Israel build itself up.”
Bachmann later matured into a politician who has articulated the looming threat to America posed by secularism and government intervention in the economy. “Government now will be controlling people,” she warned in a lecture on education she gave while serving in the Minnesota State Senate. “What has history shown us about planned, state economies in the last one hundred years? Think Fascism, think Communism, think socialism. Think, the state-planned economies, totalitarianism.”
Think the best summer of your life.