Full disclosure: I have a major crush on S.E. Cupp. I can’t really explain it…maybe it’s like that thing where the good girls have crushes on the bad boys. So even though I don’t have a lot of political common ground with S.E., I still follow her on Twitter, still tune in to shows I know she’s appearing on, and still wind up frustrated by her. Why do I keep falling for it every time?!?!?!?!?
So when Ms. Cupp Tweeted “My Daily News column today: ‘Bachmann For President! (What’s So Funny?)'” yesterday, I fell for her siren song once again. I gave her column a fair read, but still can’t figure out why I pay attention to anything she says. Michele Bachmann for President is both a laughable idea and my dream come true. (Can you imagine her debating with Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee? Comedy gold!)
Cupp feels that Bachmann’s political beliefs and personal story make her a perfect Presidential candidate – no more laughable than Huckabee or Tim Pawlenty. I contend that Bachmann is actually much more laughable as a serious candidate. Bachmann reminds me a bit of Palin, which is why I laughed so hard when Meghan McCain – my other political commentator crush – called Bachmann the poor man’s Palin. It’s absolutely true.
Both candidates are clearly shrewd politicians. They’re clearly skilled at rhetoric. They know how to fire up the fan base by feeding them a steady diet of red meat. But do they really know how the cow gets turned into the steak they’re serving their fans? I don’t think so. As a former coworker once said of a relative, “She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know!”
Bachmann’s public file is littered with missteps that make it hard to take her serious. My introduction to her came when she accused the Obama administration of trying to move the United States away from the dollar and into using a “global currency.” I know nothing of economics, but even I knew how badly she misunderstood the issue. China wanting to use an international currency for its reserves and protect itself from inflation of the dollar has nothing to do with the currency you and I use to buy our groceries. A serious presidential candidate should understand that.
And that’s only the beginning of Bachmann’s botches. She opposed stimulus because we’re “running out of rich people” in this country. Even the Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal rag, said she was off-base. Frank Rich said, basically, we’re not running out of wealthy people, those wealthy people are just running out of taxable income. Those are very different things. It’s worth pointing out here that, at a combined wealth of $1.37 trillion, the 400 richest Americans saw their wealth increase by 8% from 2009 to 2010, so they aren’t doing too bad, right? No need to sound the alarm.
Want more? I’ve got all you can handle. Since CO2 is a “natural byproduct of nature,” the threat of man-made global warming doesn’t make sense; Swine Flu only seems to strike when Democrats are in the White House…except for the fact it first hit when Ford was President, not Carter; the “Hoot-Smalley” Tariffs signed into law by Herbert Hoover are how FDR turned a recession into a depression. Etc., etc., etc.
She also provides plenty of political fodder for left-of-center moderates like me to get worked up over, like quoting an article that blames the 2008 financial crisis, in part, on President Clinton pushing “homeownership as a way to open the door for blacks and other minorities to enter the middle class”; she calls hate crimes legislation the “very definition of tyranny.” She’s also called for the news media to do a “penetrating expose” and take a look at the views of the people in Congress to see who’s “pro-America” and who’s “anti-America.” I assume, then, she’d want them to use her own standards to define both pro- and anti-America. As if she’s the one who gets to decide that for everybody.
Have I made a case here? Cupp, late in her column argues that “the staunchly conservative Condoleezza Rice does not attract such visceral animosity.” And I agree with that. I have no such disdain for Rice. Though I disagree with her, I find her to be a thoughtful, respectable person. Her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart backs that up. I wouldn’t be so quick to laugh at her for having presidential aspirations.
But that is not who Michele Bachmann is. She is brash, outspoken, confrontational and – as I’ve shown above – wrong too many times to be taken seriously. That’s what’s so funny, S.E. But don’t worry. I still have a crush on you.