Longtime activist and Occupy Wall Street participant Anne Nolan is the sort of woman that gives Michele Bachmann hives. Pro-Wall Street Reform, pro-universal health care, pro-mandatory 3 weeks' vacation for all American workers, and, most Bachmann dystopian of all— she didn't take her husband's name when they married. Because Nolan's essentially opposite-Bachmann, the story of how Bachmann met Nolan and had no idea who she was is extra funny.
Last week, the Minnesota mother of 3 announced she was stepping up to challenge Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's redrawn 6th district. And almost instantaneously, Bachmann's camp sent out a blast email requesting "emergency funding" so she could fight the dangerous radical challenging her. But, unbeknownst to Bachmann, the two had spoken just the weekend before. In fact, Bachmann complimented the "dangerous" woman's thought process.
Nolan told me that the encounter happened at a meet and greet Bachmann hosted in her area. After she arrived, she took a seat at a table and took out a book written by John de Graaf called What's the Economy For, Anyway? which basically argues that a big swinging GDP doesn't mean a thing unless citizens of a country are healthy, happy, and safe. You know, like the sort of thing Bachmann's buddy Jesus might say if he were a contemporary economist.
Bachmann eventually made her way to Nolan's table and asked her about the book. Nolan explained that it was a book about how a country's GDP isn't the best measure of how a country's doing, since things that cause unhappiness figure positively, and other things that aren't necessarily negative — like home schooling — can negatively impact GDP.
Bachmann responded enthusiastically, "I homeschool my children!"
Nolan says she continued talking about the book in a way that wouldn't make it scary for Bachmann, a person who probably reflexively make a stinkface when presented with the ideas expressed therein.
"I like the way you think!" said Bachmann. No, you don't, thought Nolan.
Nolan further explained that the book was written by a friend of hers, a man who she knew from serving on the board of an organization called Take Back Your Time.
"You sound like a very interesting person!" said Bachmann. A staffer took the book, and the Congresswoman continued to work the room.
Later, when Michele's husband Marcus made the rounds, Nolan gave him her name. "If they haven't put two and two together yet, they probably will soon enough," she said with a chuckle.
Nolan's the only DFL (Minnesota's Democratic party is known as the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer party) candidate who has declared she's running in the 6th district, but if she's challenged, she'll face off against her opponent for the party's endorsement on April 14. The candidate who doesn't win the endorsement can still push for a primary, which would happen in August. But if she runs unopposed, she can set her sites on Bachmann.
In the meantime, she's faced some heat for her views, especially on abortion. She considers herself a "pro life Progressive," because she's anti war, anti death penalty, and anti abortion. However, she recently upset an anti-abortion rights organization by refusing to say that if it were up to her, she'd overturn Roe v. Wade. "We just don't live in a society where that's possible," she explains.
While Nolan plans on running a campaign that focuses on her desire to address pressing issues of economic inequality rather than the larger-than-life cartoonishness of her opponent, she felt driven to address Bachmann's accusations that she's a "radical" in her candidacy declaration speech. "If (Bachmann) wants to say the things the 99% need are radical, bring it on."