Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Michele Bachmann Presidential Campaign Announcement Fail

Michele Bachmann announced her Tea Party candidacy Monday for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination from the steps of the old Waterloo Women's Club in Waterloo, Iowa.

Some have labeled her gaffe-prone and Fox's Chris Wallace went so far as to ask her Sunday morning, "Are you a flake?" I imagine that Wallace's wife threatened to feed him Corn Flakes for a couple of weeks. He did apologize.

Michele was interviewed by another Fox reporter on the eve of her announcement speech:

Michele told Fox, "Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

Problem: American actor and icon John Wayne was from Winterset, Iowa. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was from Waterloo, Iowa. And which spirit of John Wayne is Michele channeling? The one from Waterloo!

In her announcement speech, Bachmann was doing great, rejecting the usual labels and party affiliations and reaching out to the spirit of pragmatism:

Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it. And Americans aren't interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell the truth. And the truth is that Americans ARE the solution and not the government!
I am here in Waterloo, Iowa to announce today: We can win in 2012 and we will. Our voice has been growing louder and stronger. And it is made up of Americans from all walks of life like a three-legged stool. It's the peace through strength Republicans, and I'm one of them, it's fiscal conservatives, and I'm one of them, and it's social conservatives, and I'm one of them. It's the Tea Party movement and I'm one of them.
Back up the tape, let's count the legs on that three-legged stool:

(1) peace through strength Republicans
(2) fiscal conservatives
(3) social conservatives
(4) the Tea Party movement

Now I wouldn't call that flaky, but it is hard to not to think Michele Bachmann is a little stupid. It's one thing to be hit with an unfair stereotype. It's another thing to validate that stereotype.

Michelle Bachmann is not ready to be President. If she's not a flake, what is she doing in the race?

(1) She wants the exposure that comes from running. She's now in the #2 slot following Mitt Romney, so that is working.

(2) She is really running for a seat in the Cabinet or for Vice President. Joe Biden has said dumber things.

(3) She wants to speak for the Tea Party in the debates. I think participation in the debates is the only reason Newt Gingrich is running.

(4) Her job is to help marginalize Ron Paul, who has a prior claim to the Tea Party vote. Ron Paul is a fiscal conservative but no social conservative or peace through strengther.

(5) She is keeping a seat warm for Sarah Palin, in case Sarah wants to make a late announcement.

Not flaky or stupid, any of those reasons. But not necessarily to be taken seriously either. Michele will have to earn that. Here's what she told Sean Hannity on Fox Monday evening:

"He fears me. He sees me as a serious, substantive competitor. I think he sees that I have a very clear path to victory for the nomination. And, I think that he wants to do whatever he can to diminish me, because he thinks he will have to see me in the debates."
Who fears her? Chris Wallace, maybe, although I'll bet the Gacy-gaffe got him a reprieve on the Corn Flakes. Mitt Romney, maybe, he may lay awake at night with visions of what she might say as his Vice President. Barack Obama, no, I imagine he sleeps very well with the prospect of facing Micehele Bachmann.

Update 6/29/2011: What Michele told the Charleston, South Carolina Tea Party today about the prospect of Sarah Plain entering the race gives support to reason #5 above:

"They want to see two girls come together and have a mud-wrestling fight, and I'm not going to give it to them. I've got a lot of great respect and admiration for the governor," Bachmann said in the early primary state of South Carolina. "I appreciate her and I wish her well, and I think that this race is wide open."

No comments: