Via a tweet by my friend Mary Franson, Bluestem has learned that former partial-term Idaho Republican state representative Curtis Bowers will be the keynote speaker at a July 12 Central Minnesota Tea Party Patriots rally in sunny Browerville. Fargo area radio personality Scott Hennen will emcee the gathering.
Bowers first hit Bluestem's radar last January, when we posted about his documentary film, which was making the rounds, in January thaw: Minnesota Tea Party events boldly explore classic paranoid style political bugaboos:
Those who can't make Professor Quist's PowerPoint presentation have a couple of other opportunities for emotional loading and froth. The Sherburne County Tea Party is serving up two nut courses on January 26, as well as a Taco Bar. Not only with GOP U.S. Senate candidate Dan Severson, who "has what it takes to defeat the Obama-Klobuchar Agenda!" be there, but his top gun will be followed by a showing of the documentary, "Agenda: Grinding American Down."
Haven't heard of it? It's the masterwork of one Curtis Bowers, a former Idaho state legislator first appointed to office by Gov. Butch Otter in 2007, whereupon the one-time fondue restaurant owner began making outlandish statements about his heroic infiltration of a 1992 Communist Party meeting.
Curtis soon lost his primary in May 2008, the first time he actually faced Republican voters in Idaho's District 10.
Readers are likely to learn elsewhere that, like the conservative obsession with "Agenda 21," this second "Agenda" is a brand new shiny thing, but to those observers who do more than superficial sneering at the right, knowledge of Bowers goes back a couple of election cycles.
And his presence at a Greater Minnesota Tea Party rally likely marks a ramping up of the rhetoric from the right on the marriage amendment, since the gay agenda is one of the three prongs of the pitchfork that Bowers sees pushing Americans toward the dark satanic mill of post-modern communism.
In the fateful column that brought Bowers to the attention of fellow conservative conspiracists everywhere, the former Mona Lisa Fondue restaurant magnate and Otter appointee declared in Communist agenda makes its way to our mainstream:
They [Communists at a 1992 meeting he infiltrated by growing a goatee, and wearing "a revolutionary T-shirt" and "some ratty jeans"]had a three part agenda. They would use their manpower, influence and funds to back anything that would destroy our families, businesses and culture.
Firstly, to destroy the family, they would promote co-habitation instead of marriage. They would also try to get children away from their mothers into government programs at the earliest age possible. They felt the best way to do this was to promote the feminist movement, which had been very effective at making women discontent with marriage and motherhood.
Secondly, to destroy businesses, they aimed to wipe out the profit potential that motivated people to start them. If people couldn't make good money off their ideas and hard work, they would eventually be content working for someone else. They were sure the environmental movement (modest at the time) was the only vehicle capable of creating enough regulation and expense to discourage business growth.
Finally, to destroy our culture, they needed us to abandon our heritage of religion and morality. They believed the homosexual movement, if accepted, would begin to effectively extinguish these values.
In Bowers' worldview, pride flies a red flag. This is retread Bircher material with a lavender twist.
The local reaction in Republican Idaho wasn't particularly kind to Representative Bowers, although he had his defenders, who claimed he was doing a great job representing his constituents (the constituents showed him the door in the next Republcian primary, the first time they actually had a choice in the matter).
In Rep. Bowers should apologize or resign, constituent Eileen Wight wrote:
Bowers' goal, it seems, was to pit neighbor against neighbor by targeting three groups of people: feminists, environmentalists and gay rights advocates. According to him, these groups share blame for the destruction of families, business and culture. In fact, his enemies list may include you.
1. Do you agree that women should have the right to vote? If so, then you're a "feminist."
2. Do you enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, skiing or other recreational activities, and do you agree that preserving the ability to participate in these activities for your children and grandchildren is important? If so, then you're an "environmentalist."
3. Are you among the 63 percent of Idahoans who, according to a recent BSU survey, agreed that it should be illegal to fire a person because they are gay? If so, then you're a "gay rights advocate."
If you answered "yes" to any of these three, you are among those Bowers has accused of being unpatriotic communist sympathizers.
Minnesota Representative Mary Franson cherishes Bower's ideas, a foundational part of her political worldview. In March, she told PIM's Kevin Featherly in Freshman Mary Franson carves out a niche in the Bachmann/Palin mold:
“We have this political war going on where we are trying to shift today’s Republicans [back to the right],” she says.
Franson, who was interviewed at length Feb. 15 by Capitol Report, acknowledges that the ideas are not her own. They are gleaned from a documentary film, “Agenda: Grinding America Down,” by conservative filmmaker and Idaho legislator Curtis Bowers. It is a movie that critic Richard Metzger claims is replete with “John Birch Society conspiracy theories that no one takes seriously anymore.”
Franson would dispute that. “This movie says it so great,” she enthuses.
The trailer for the Bowers flick is below, but first, a bit about the rhetoric deployed in the clip by the keynote speaker for the July 12 Browerville Tea Party Rally, where the marriage amendment is on the agenda along with Mr. Bowers:
Come and hear our conservative candidates, and hear more about Voter ID, ObamaCare, Flat Tax/Fair Tax and Tax Reforms, about the UN, and the Marriage Act! A fun evening planned. There will be a hot dog stand with chips, pop and water. It starts at 6 pm, but come early and come hungry!
The trailer not only raises the ghosts of those murdered by communist regimes, but Hitler and Nazis make an appearance too. Will Bowers be couching his keynote remarks in Browerville with the same historical references?
In the recent past, Bluestem objected to a comparison of Kurt Bills and Keith Downey with Pol Pot by one of our better-fed progressive blogging colleagues. On a Facebook friend's wall, we expressed dismay at another hyperbolic item inserted into the debate, an anonymous and unbranded Youtube equating pro-amendment supporters with Hitler. Minnesota Progressive Project lead blogger Joe Bodell publicly condemned the anonymous Youtubein late May--but that didn't stop Marriage Discrimination supporters from begging for money using the stupid video.
Andy Parrish, deputy campaign manager for Minnesotans for Marriage, issued a tweet challenge about the latter video, asking for liberals to condemn the Youtube. Alliance for a Better Minnesota director Carrie Lucking and Joe Bodell did so (Bodell had already blogged about the piece before Parrish seemed to even know about it), and Parrish acknowledged that:
Whoever originally posted the Youtube took it down, though fugitive copies are posted at other channels.
Now it might be time for Parrish and other amendment supporters to return the favor with regards to Bowers' rhetoric. The trailer below for "Agenda" not only raises the spectre of the millions who died under communist regimes like Pol Pot, but that of Hitler as well, at the 3:17 mark. Will Minnesotans for Majority and other pro-amendment groups step back from this inflammatory rhetoric?
Parrish is also advising endorsed Republican CD7 candidate Lee Byberg in his challenge against incumbent Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson. How will Byberg greet Bowers' divisive historical rhetoric?
Should Bower's own private Idaho really take a central place in the conversations Minnesotans are having about the meaning of family and marriage? It wasn't particularly welcomed by Republican voters in Idaho's 10th state house district--and Bluestem is curious just why it's getting a welcome in Todd County's Browerville.
Bonus round: Bluestem always keeps an eye out for earnestly believed urban legends and spurious quotations attributed to the Founding Fathers. Our search for news of the July 12 Tea Party Rally led us to the NW MN Tea Party Patriot site, where the patriots attribute the following to Thomas Jefferson at the bottom of the site:
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."
Historical evidence suggests that Jefferson and Ford were not the same person.
Photo: Curtis Bowers imagines he has a handle on the gay agenda; Bluestem thinks all that was solid melted into the fondue sauce he once slung. Photo via the Prodos blog.