Maybe Bachmann Still Has Things to Learn About Campaigning?

By James Fallows

I mentioned last night how professionally disciplined and polished Michele Bachmann's political operation seemed capable of becoming, at this very early stage. Certainly in comparison with the gaffes and mis-steps that have plagued Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, non-candidate Sarah Palin, and even in a mild way Jon Huntsman. Ie, just about everyone but Mitt Romney.

She joins the crowd today, with a hilariously inept comment about her kickoff speech in Waterloo, Iowa. You should read about it here or here, but the clue is: two words she won't want to hear through the rest of her life are "John Wayne." (Explanation after the jump.)

I would not want to be the advance person or briefer who had worked on this event. We don't even need to make the jokes about Bill Clinton's beginning his political career in "a place called Hope," vs Bachmann tempting fate by launching hers in a place called Waterloo.

___
Punch line: Bachmann, who grew up in Waterloo, said that she was proud to share the city's heritage with its native son John Wayne. "That's the kind of spirit I have too." Unfortunately, the John Wayne who is from Waterloo is the dreaded clown-costumed serial killer of 33 boys and young men in Chicago, John Wayne Gacy. Ah politics.

Update: What will really say something about Bachmann's professionalism is how she handles this. The right way will be to laugh it off as a huge embarrassment, and move on.

Update^2: See this follow-up item on the Ronald Reagan precedent.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/maybe-bachmann-still-has-things-to-learn-about-campaigning/241097/