Monday, June 27, 2011

Michele Bachmann Enters GOP Presidential Primary

Michele Bachmann announced Monday - formally - that she is a candidate for the GOP nomination for President in Waterloo, Iowa, her hometown. Though she hasn't lived there since her girlhood days, Bachmann is proud to call Waterloo home and especially now, given the importance of the Iowa caucus. Bachmann is now neck in neck with Mitt Romney in Iowa according to the latest straw poll. To say that is a surprising development is an understatement.

The candidacy of Michele Bachmann will be of great interest to the political junkies among us. Does she bounce back to being a true Republican candidate - she is a third term Congresswoman elected as a Republican, after all - or does she prefer to highlight herself as a Tea Party candidate?

I listened to her speech at Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans recently and I have to admit she has matured a bit in her speech delivery to a crowd. This crowd was enthusiastic and she was obviously happy to be there. She is forceful in her words but remains cheerful and doesn't waver in delivery. She is what Ronald Reagan challenged us to be - a happy warrior. It is refreshing to not hear the ugly undertones often heard in political speeches.

It is unfortunate that today, in the year of 2011, men feel so comfortable in challenging the 'seriousness' of a woman in political office seeking higher office. I don't recall that happening much to men. Maybe men are questioned in the direction of the fire in the belly challenge but they are not accused of being a 'flake', as Michele Bachmann is currently experiencing. It has been an attack used by liberal bloggers and especially by liberal women who are noticing their vanishing political clout. Conservative women are leading the Tea Party efforts and are moving right along in Republican leadership positions - look at Cathy Rodgers McMorris, for example - while liberals rely on the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, both prone to verbal gaffes and clownish portrayals from the opposition. But, if Bachmann proves human and makes a mistake on the campaign trail, she's not smart and the Tea Party alliance makes her a 'flake'. We all know how the Tea Party is portrayed by liberal bloggers and the media.

So, it was disappointing to learn of Mr. Wallace's gaffe during his interview with Bachmann for his Sunday morning show. I didn't see the show but I heard the clip as he asks her if she is a 'flake'. Unfortunately that feeds right into the liberal agenda by reinforcing the caricature. No one asked Barack Obama is he is a flake, though he was the record holder for voting present during his Illinois State Senate career and only bothered to be in his sole national political office - the U.S. Senate - or a year before he decided to jump into the Presidential race.

After the predictable reaction from the television viewing audience, Wallace issued a video apology to Bachmann. Good for him.

Finally, a person in the public light issued a true apology, not the one used by most- the insincere sounding sorry if I offended anyone. Of course you offended someone or else you wouldn't be apologizing is what I am usually thinking as I listen to that nonsense.

Wallace didn’t offer a “sorry if you were offended by my genius” non-apology apology. He deduced — rightly — that having the question overshadow the answer in an interview is usually a mistake, and accepted it as such. Wallace is right that Bachmann’s perceived seriousness is a legitimate topic for an interview, considering her status as a presidential candidate, but at the very least Wallace should have provided better contextual basis for his question. Had he said, “So-and-so called you a flake,” or better yet, “So-and-so questioned your seriousness in light of these gaffes,” he would have opened the same topic but in a better and more fair manner for Bachmann to respond.
As Wallace says, every day is a learning experience. More than a few people in his position would be tempted to dig in and defend a poor choice. Kudos to Wallace for learning a lesson and admitting to it.
Still, when will the national media start questioning Obama’s seriousness if rhetorical gaffes are the determining factor, as they apparently are for Republicans such as Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush?

Bachmann's response? She isn't accepting the apology, at least for now. That, too, plays into the liberal agenda. They like nothing more than tension on the side of the GOP and for a Fox news show host to be the cause of friction is delicious to them. That's too bad.

Bachmann says she is not accepting the apology, though.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she wasn't accepting the apology of Fox anchor Chris Wallace, who asked her Sunday if she was a "flake."

Bachmann rejected an apology from Wallace, who challenged whether the Tea Party-aligned congresswoman was serious in her bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

"I think that it's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious," Bachmann said in an interview on ABC when asked about Wallace's apology, which he posted online.

Yes, it is insulting for her to be asked the 'flake' question. She is, however, in the big leagues now and needs to move on. Accept the apology, be the bigger person, and next time come out with a stronger answer, though the one she gave in the clip I heard was pretty good. And, look the mean boys square in the eyes and tell them that you will give them the same amount of respect that they give to you.

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