5 October 2011

Agents Provocateurs in the Pumpkin Patch

Filed under: Culture, Reflections — ktismatics @ 8:29 am

UPDATE: K said that the Bachmann supporters were particularly irked for having paid good money for good seats in the barn, only to have the headliner not show up. Of course they blamed the students. K said that the students got a brief glimpse of the candidate at a distance, accompanied by her posse of PR people, walking down the trail leading to the baby goat pen. The only reason they knew it was her? They cheered, and she waved.

The “PumpkinGate” non-event was picked up by the New York Times:

GRINNELL, Iowa — Representative Michele Bachmann is committed to crisscrossing Iowa to personally impress as many voters as possible, but it is a good bet she won’t be returning to this college town any time soon.

Some 50 students from Grinnell College showed up at Carroll’s Pumpkin Patch on Tuesday evening, where Mrs. Bachmann had scheduled a fund-raising event on behalf of a conservative Christian group, the Family Leader. Soon after, police officers arrived and threw a cordon sanitaire around the students while Mrs. Bachmann toured the baby goat corral and pumpkin-washing station.

A few students, who had been alerted to the visit by an e-mail from the campus Democrats, unfurled signs protesting Mrs. Bachmann’s opposition to gay rights (“Pumpkins are the Gayest”). But there was no chanting and no heckling. Most students said they had come to hear her speak and to ask a question or two.

“Grinnell’s known for being a very liberal and politically active campus, but we’re very peaceful,’’ said one student, Jillian Johnson. “We weren’t going to throw anything. We just wanted her to talk to us.”


Our daughter K and some of her pals attended a scheduled Bachmann rally yesterday, apparently forcing the candidate not to appear at her own event. From the Des Moines Register:

Grinnell, Ia. – Michele Bachmann’s appearance at a fundraiser on a pumpkin farm here this evening was delayed and then curtailed after several dozen Grinnell College students showed up.

Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, was to speak at an ostensibly open event in the hayloft of a barn at Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm during a fundraiser for the Iowa Family Leader, an advocacy group for socially conservative issues.

But the event’s 5:30 start time came and went with no sign of the candidate after the event space filled up with college students, some carrying signs. Bachmann ended up not appearing until about 6:40 – after a truck from the Poweshiek County Sheriff and two police cars arrived on the scene and officers cordoned off part of the farm with police tape.

Rather than speaking publicly from the barn – which was festooned with Bachmann campaign posters and clearly arranged for her to speak – Bachmann met with Family Leader donors privately in a house on the property and then took a short walking tour with farm owners Danny Carroll – a former state lawmaker – and his wife.

The students, meanwhile, stood behind the cordon waving signs supporting gay marriage and playing on misstatements the candidate has made. They clapped rhythmically and yelled questions and entreaties in Bachmann’s general direction.

Grinnell College students wait for Michele Bachmann (The Register/Jason Noble)

Taking questions from the press, Bachmann said the event was private, and that she did not intend make comments to an audience that wasn’t part of the fundraiser.

“This was never intended to be a big public event,” she said. “This was always intended to be a private fundraiser.”

When pressed on why she didn’t engage with the students, Bachmann deflected the question.


  1. Nice.


    Comment by erdman31 — 5 October 2011 @ 9:51 am

  2. Right? Check the update at the top of the post.


    Comment by ktismatics — 5 October 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  3. I think Ms. Bachmann wants to prove that her genius for Agriculture makes her fit to be President. Sarah Palin isn’t half as funny, and I have a cousin who looks just like Ms. Bachmann, and who last year sent me the most perfectly vile Xmas letter–apologizing for going to Paris by following it up with her work with ‘Christian women organizations’.


    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 October 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/opinion/friedman-no-christie-no-bargain.html?_r=1&ref=global-home

    I think Tom Friedman is very good on this one.


    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 5 October 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  5. While K was disappointed that she didn’t get an up-close-and-personal encounter, the hysterical overreaction of the candidate, her people, the local Republicans, and the police provided a valuable civics lesson. Inasmuch as the Iowa caucuses name the first delegates to the presidential conventions, the Democratic candidates usually make a point of visiting Grinnell. Since Obama will almost surely run unopposed for the nomination he likely won’t make an appearance.


    Comment by ktismatics — 5 October 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  6. Having a kid in college it’s hard not to compare experiences. Last night I even dreamed I was a freshman moving into the dorm…

    During my junior year George Wallace came to town campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Besides being the home of a large state university, Lansing MI is also state capital. White working-class voters comprised Wallace’s core constituency in the North, and there were plenty of them in Lansing and the other industrial towns throughout the state. Vietnam was still the big issue on campus, but there was a strong and vocal coalescence around various issues, including black power and equal rights. Wallace wasn’t just a segregationist; he was also pro-war. “Get a haircut,” he yelled repeatedly from the dais at the student hecklers. My roommate got punched in the face during one of the minor skirmishes at the rally. On the day after Wallace was shot he won the Democratic primary in Michigan.


    Comment by ktismatics — 6 October 2011 @ 8:32 am

  7. http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/plenty-of-seats-up-front-for-bachmanns-standing-room-only-crowd.php?ref=fpb

    We are talkin’ CLASS ACT! At some point, we’re going to believe she’s planned all these beautiful movements.


    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 7 October 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  8. I liked the comments on that exposé — people were standing, it was a room…


    Comment by ktismatics — 7 October 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  9. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/10/bachmann_calls_for_massive_tax_increase.php?ref=fpblg

    I swear she is determined not to let us down. I guess she can do ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or ‘The Amazing Race’, since even dumb Americans aren’t generally predisposed in polls, it seems.


    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 13 October 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  10. That’s hilarious.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 October 2011 @ 6:09 pm

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