Bachmann's Former Chief of Staff: She Isn't Ready

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Ron Carey criticized his one-time boss in the Des Moines Register, but his argument was short on specifics

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In today's issue of the Des Moines Register, Ron Carey, former chief of staff to Michele Bachmann, says that she isn't ready for the White House. He also endorsed one of her rivals for the GOP nomination:

Having seen the two of them, up close and over a long period of time, it is clear to me that while Tim Pawlenty possesses the judgment, the demeanor, and the readiness to serve as president, Michele Bachmann decidedly does not.

The Bachmann campaign and congressional offices I inherited were wildly out of control. Stacks upon stacks of unopened contributions filled the campaign office while thousands of communications from citizens waited for an answer. If she is unable, or unwilling, to handle the basic duties of a campaign or congressional office, how could she possibly manage the magnitude of the presidency?

Does anyone else find that to be a notably weak takedown? It's never a good thing when someone who has observed you closely votes "no confidence," so file that away for what it's worth. But the particulars of this op-ed? Think about it. What does a good leader do when folks in the office are getting behind on the mail and correspondence? I'd say that hiring a new chief of staff is an acceptable answer. Sounds like that's what Rep. Bachmann did. I could write a better takedown of former colleagues who I found to be totally wonderful and qualified in every way!

I am prepared to believe that Bachmann is unfit for the presidency. In fact, I already believe it, for reasons alluded to here. But if you've served as someone's chief of staff, observing them behind the scenes, and unopened mail is the most compelling specific example you have of their shortcomings, you've told us nothing of value. Here's as close as he comes to another specific complaint: "I know Michele Bachmann very well. She is a faithful conservative with great oratory skills, but without any leadership experience or real results from her years in office." Surely Ron Carey can do better. He should either tell us insider stories that bear on Bachmann's qualifications, or else apologize to his former boss for blowing trivialities out of proportion.


Image credit: Reuters
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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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