There are lots of things to talk about when it comes to Minnesota Congresswoman and wannabe-presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.  Her sense of geography is slightly off.  And her grasp of American history is not exactly what I’d hope for in someone who’s serious about running for the White House.  But when it comes to hot gossip, she’s sort of let me down.

I haven’t heard much dish or dirt about her and, actually, the fact that she and her husband have opened their home to many, many foster children wins a lot of points even with Democrats like me.  So aside from her recent information malfunctions, the woman who is giving Sarah Palin a run for her Tea Party money hasn’t given us much for the political gossip mill.

Until now.

It’s shocking and it’s something that could haunt Bachmann through 2012 and beyond.

Michele Bachmann grew up as a Democrat.  You heard me — a capital “D”,  Jimmy Carter-lovin’, 1970’s teen idol campaigning Democrat.  Don’t worry, though.  There is a decidedly Bachmann-esque twist to why she fled the Democratic party of her early college years and became the uber-conservative she is today.

It’s Gore Vidal’s fault.  Umm-hmm.   Bachmann told a reporter for a Minneapolis newspaper that Vidal’s book “Burr,” a work of historical fiction (yes, FICTION!) about the founding father who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in their now-infamous duel,  not only made her rethink her philosophies as a Democrat, but pushed her into the arms of the GOP.  I’ve heard a lot of interesting stories in my day about how people arrived at their political leanings, but this one takes the cake.

“He was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, ‘What a snot.  …   I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, ‘You know what? I don’t think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.’ “

You know, lots of us were disappointed with Carter and the Democrats in the mid-1970s, so I understand a certain amount of reflection about that.  But I have to question one’s political commitment to any ideology if you can be swayed by a novel.  Even my fifth-grade daughter knows the difference between history and historical fiction, and which you can take to heart in forming your views of the world and your political leanings.

I don’t get the logic in her Republican epiphany, but I suppose it makes for a good one-liner.   Regardless of whether it’s true, I’m guessing that wherever Vidal is today, he’s happy about any bump in his book sales thanks to Bachmann’s comments.

And I can’t wait to hear more about any other Bachmann “a-ha” moments as the March to 2102 continues.  Who knows — in light of her “Gore Vidal’s book made me a Republican” confession, reports of a Bachmann political fling with John Anderson could be next.