Michelle Bachmann’s Turn in Overdrive

Now, I’m probably about as conservative as they come from my generation; firm Judeo-Christian ethics, believing in the American dream and the fact that anyone who tries hard enough can succeed to their best level… after all, I did as I’ve turned around a quickly-grown-tired first career in information technology into a near-midlife-crisis second career as a nurse (and now continuing on for a Nurse Practitioner certification.

I studied hard in my formative years, I think I learned the civics, US geography, and history lessons pretty well, and overall, I’d say I’m at least as patriotic about being an American as most.

As a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen, I like to see a good political debate, though in the end I think some high-ranking politicians are in large part out for themselves first, and their constituents second (or third).  After all, look what happened with Obama.  Oh, he was supposed to set everyone free from the tyranny of the government, and make everything better for the “little guy”… and he spends more time on personal vacations than any other president in history whilst allowing the economy to sag so horribly… but, I digress.

Which is why when I was working the other night, I heard with some disdain on a patient’s TV, that Iowa straw poll front-runner Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota) has several notable features of her campaign:  1) Elvis music, 2) Obama-bashing, 3) consistent verbal gaffes, and 4) a sea of incredibly stupid aides and security bullies who don’t seem to know the difference between a reporter and a credible threat.

The first issue I understood about this Sarah Palin wannabe is that she has a penchant for misspeaking… a lot.

Now, if you’re the, say, Vice President of the United States, making a small verbal gaffe like, say, Mubarak is not a dictator, this can be overlooked (after all, he was speaking to Jim Lehrer, for crying out loud).  But when you’re say, a nurse like me or a doctor, telling the patient that they’re going to cut off your right foot when it’s your left that’s on the chopping block due to gangrene is a bit distressing to say the least.

So also is a Republican presidential hopeful who:

  • referred to the rise of the Soviet Union, twenty years after its epic demise;
  • celebrates Elvis’ birthday around the anniversary of his death;
  • proudly shared with school children in New Hampshire her knowledge that their state was where the “shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord” (for those of you who missed the Revolutionary War, Lexington and Concord are in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire);
  • compared the US government debt debate to the fraud scandal that caused the demise of Texas-based energy company Enron when she said “ever heard of Enron?  You get shut down when you don’t pay your bills”; though perhaps she was inferring that Obama and the big-wigs in the DNC would be treated like the Enron executives, and perhaps that’s how she’ll waltz right into the White House;
  • called her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, where she officially launched her campaign, the hometown of actor icon John Wayne, when in fact it was another icon, serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was born there (how’s that for a coincidence?);
  • her praise for our founding fathers and their tireless effort to end slavery (I guess, being from Minnesota, she sort of forgot about that little guy Abraham Lincoln);
  • spoke with praise in 2007 for Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, comparing one of them to the Mall of America in her state (I hear Hussein used the same architect);
  • defending her years-old statement about virtually ending unemployment by eliminating the minimum wage.

Can I go on?  Of course I can.  But why embarrass the poor woman any more than she’s done, excuse me, continues to this day to do, all by herself.

The last Republican president, George Bush, was well-known for making verbal gaffes, but at that time, that was part of the comic mystique of Bush.  Now that we’ve had some time with Obama, there’s one thing that everyone needs to at least admit about the President whether you like him or not: he does tend to speak with eloquence.  Compared to the speaking schedule he maintains as the current President of the US, the gaffes are at a minimum.

This is precisely why the next serious Republican presidential contender needs to speak with just as much eloquence.  We can’t go back to the funny-ol’ George Bush days anymore.  Any Republican candidate who truly wants to be seen by the voters as someone who can credibly take on Obama and win, has to speak well, and avoid the stupidity of consistent verbal gaffes.

Sure, Bachmann’s gaffes can be seen as funny, or as she has often put it in a feeble attempt to defend herself, slip ups due to a hectic speaking schedule (if only I can use that kind of excuse).  Were this the only problem with Michelle Bachmann, I might be able to set that aside until the candidate field congeals a bit more.

But the Bachmann issue that has me boiling, and should do so to every conservative, is the issue over the physical altercations by her staff with reporters and would-be well-wishers.

A recent article on Politico (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61598.html) tells the now well-publicised and clearly verified story of reporters and autograph-seekers being pushed, shoved, and even threatened with physical harm by Bachmann aides and, in particular, one “silver-haired” supposed former Secret Service agent.

At least two of the altercations were caught on camera and were against well-known journalists, ABC’s Brian Ross, and CNN’s Don Lemon, the latter clearly showing Bachmann’s husband getting into the mafia-like strong arm act by shoving Lemon into a cart.  The videos of these and other altercations are nearing viral status on the Internet.  For a Republican candidate who wants to be seen as a serious contender against other big names like Texas governor Rick Perry, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Bachmann can’t afford to have mindless muscle running around shoving people left and right.

It’s old “silver-head” that gets me the most.  For all his anonymity, the story that he’s a retired Secret Service agent who has protected former presidents is entirely laughable to me.  IF (and that’s a big if to me) he was a Secret Service agent, he’s no doubt the agency’s most moronic agent, and probably was let go instead of retired of his own volition (probably the agency is covering up a few broken arms and noses at this guy’s hand).  The man is clearly a mindless dope if he can’t credibly tell the difference between a reporter with a microphone and a camera, and a deranged hitman or terrorist trying to harm the Congresswoman.  His actions are, in reality, far below the “extremely professional” behaviour that Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart claims of this thug.

According to Politico, the Iowa State Fair was a resounding lesson in the difference between Bachmann’s camp and those of other contenders.  I’ll just quote this straight:

“The difference was sharply visible over the past week at the Iowa State Fair. Palin wandered the fairgrounds freely with her husband, an advance man, and, at a remove, a handful of Iowa State Police. Rick Perry was guarded by watchful Texas Rangers who gave the press and fair-goers broad latitude to talk and walk next to the governor. Bachmann, in contrast, raced through the fair in a golf cart; in a similar cart in Ames on Saturday, her bodyguard could be seen pushing away the hands of autograph-seeking supporters.”  (Ben Smith & Jonathan Martin, Politico)

Why the high-handed physical tactics by the Bachmann group?  They claim it is for her protection, “The number one priority for us every single day we step out on the campaign trail is the safety and security of Michele Bachmann,” spokeswoman Stewart claimed.

But given the fact that this behaviour goes way beyond the expectation, or even the actual behaviour of other, bigger, celebrities and presidential candidates in the past like Hiliary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, her staffers seem to be treating Bachmann like she’s already president.

After another local Iowa journalist, Chuck McClurg, was accosted by a female Bachmann staffer when he tried to get a quote from Bachmann, he had this to say:

“You don’t have to talk to any camera but if you’re going for the presidency of the United States, you do not place your hands on the cameras and push them — that’s just wrong… I have never had any candidate or staff ever touch me — only shake my hands and smile and answer my few simple questions.” (Chuck McClurg, as quoted in Politico article by Ben Smith & Jonathan Martin)

Bachmann and her thugs need to clearly understand one thing.  Setting the obvious party divide aside, Bachmann is no Gabrielle Giffords, and her staffers have no business treating her as such.  She is no god, and clearly her ideas and campaign rhetoric thus far show she is no Tea Party queen, either.  The Republican Party and the Tea Party movement itself can do much better than Michelle Bachmann.

If we truly want to “take back America”, we first need to keep it out of the hands of politicians like Michelle Bachmann who use the Mayor Daley style of politics, replete with bubble-headed thugs around them to do the shoving and the “dirty work”.  We can take it back from corrupt politicians who smile in our faces and wave from the golf carts, while the husbands and staffers act like Nazis, beating people into submission.

To you, Michelle, I say that you need to get rid of your Gestapo thugs if you want to be taken seriously.  If you prefer to have these paid club bouncers around you, and that includes your husband, than please step away from the microphone, step off the platform, and hang up your ambitions to become President.  Go back to Minnesota, and stay out of the Presidential race.  The evidence of your campaign, the inability to speak clearly without gaffing left, right, and sideways, the same old tired rhetoric we’ve heard before from other candidates we can elect instead of you, and worst of all, your insistence on protecting idiots who act more like Nazi thugs than staffers, all demonstrate clearly that you just don’t have what it takes to be President of the United States.