Bachmann’s caution about making young people work for political cause hits home

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As part of Michele Bachmann’s recent warning that “re-education camps” could be established with expansion of the AmeriCorps program, the Minnesota Republican congresswoman said she feared America’s young people may soon find themselves laboring in mandatory service to a political doctrine. But assigning youth to work for an ideological cause shouldn’t be a completely foreign concept to Bachmann: During her 2006 and 2008 congressional campaigns, she enlisted squads of home-schooled kids from around the state and even around the country to get out the vote in her district.

Bob Collins at Minnesota Public Radio’s Newscut blog documented it on the day before the election last November:

Why aren’t these two kids — Alex and Cate Sutton — in class? Because they are, actually.

They’re home-schooled kids who have been given the assignment to drop leaflets in Woodbury today for Rep. Michele Bachmann, who’s in a close fight for re-election in the 6th District. They say this is part of a paper they’re writing on government.

Kristin Troyak, left, is driving them around and is responsible for 3 “teams” of home-schooled kids who have been deployed today in Woodbury. There are 64 teams being deployed around the region. They’ve also made 6,000 phone calls on Bachmann’s behalf over the weekend, she said.

The kids Collins talked to were from outside Bachmann’s district and said they were part of Generation Joshua. That’s the national organization of homeschoolers that also mobilized young people for Bachmann’s 2006 Get Out the Vote effort — not just from outside Bachmann’s district but from other states. As the Minnesota Daily reported on Election Night in 2006:

One group called Gen J, or Generation Joshua, rallied middle school and high school students to pass out campaign literature and call voters for Bachmann.

Patrick Henry College (Virginia) journalism senior Adrienne Cumbus is a volunteer leader for Gen J. Originally from Houston, she said she came to support Bachmann because the candidate doesn’t try to appeal to everyone — instead, she knows her own values.

“She’s very articulate in what she says,” Cumbus said. “She’s not sitting on the fence.”

Here is a transcribed excerpt and video from Bachmann’s Nov. 4, 2008, Election Night victory speech:

I think we’re good to go on this one. I think we’re good to go. So we are absolutely delighted to have been able to win this race. And we didn’t do it alone. We did it with you.

And I want to think 70 great kids who came out this weekend. We often hear that there aren’t young people in the Republican Party. I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. We had 70 teenagers knock on our door Friday afternoon, and by the time I got to (Dellwood’s?), these 70 kids had made over 7,000 phone calls, by the time I got to (the office?).

The youth of America are energized, and they’re energized around the principle of freedom. They love freedom!

They knocked on over 60,000 and made phone calls. They just went wild this weekend. So we are so grateful for these great kids.

Here’s what Bachmann said about re-eductation camps on April 4, 2009:

It’s under the guise of — quote — volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. … I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.

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