Michele Bachmann: Blame Elvis

Michele Bachmann
getty images

Michele Bachmann is out, and Elvis did her in. 

She whipped a South Carolina crowd into a frenzy last summer with her big smile, her even bigger campaign bus, and this unfortunate shout-out: “Let’s all say happy birthday to Elvis Presley today!”  

But the King was born in January. The day she made that speech was the anniversary of his death.
  
Was that the decisive moment in Bachmann’s campaign? No. But it didn’t help.

Neither did another misstep, when she told voters in Waterloo, Iowa, that she had the same spirit as their hometown boy, the legendary actor John Wayne. But he never lived there. John Wayne Gacy did.

He was a serial killer who dressed up like a clown.  
 
I have mixed emotions about us media types skewering politicians for every twisted pop culture reference. Frankly, I don’t think the Leader of the Free World should be keeping up with the Kardashians, the King or the Real Housewives. I tend to agree with critics who think that our political process has become too much of a game of “Gotcha!” 

We pepper candidates endlessly with detailed questions about what they know, who they know, why they know them and when did all of this happen anyway? We ask them to be instant experts on everything from the economy, international affairs and farm policy to education, housing and alligator wrestling. Then, when they stumble, we pop open the trap door and drop them, like contestants on a game show, into the footnotes of history.
 
It’s not fair. These folks want to be the president of the United States, not a Jeopardy champion. 

But … and this is a big caveat … it is worth noting that candidates are rarely torpedoed by a single gaffe. Or even two or three. What does them in is a pattern of mistakes that suggests a certain overall sloppiness of thought, inattention to detail, or a shaky grasp of facts. Bachmann, while certainly an intelligent, talented politician, had a few too many of those moments. And she won’t be the last to do so. 

Maybe they were honest mistakes, blown out of proportion. But in the end, they — and Elvis — took her out. And I wonder if she’s lonesome tonight.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please send 300-word submissions to letters@metro.us.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.