Editor’s note: I just realized I’ve been spelling “Michele” with two “l”s today; this is why we should have copy editors. Sorry.
Jeez, she’s tiny. Everything else aside, are we ready for the first five-foot President?
I’m on a streak when it comes to catching GOP candidates declaring their candidacies; last week I got treated to Jon Huntsman in New Jersey. Now, I’m watching Michele Bachmann’s coming out party in Waterloo.
So far, I’m underwhelmed:
- Bad stagecraft – the flags and signage are poorly positioned for the cameras
- Bad speechwriting – as with Mr. Huntsman’s announcement, I’m left wondering if Ms. Bachmann read this speech aloud before today
- Bad delivery – She’s getting better as she gets into it, but her delivery is rushed and a little flat.
Let’s give Ms. Bachmann and her handlers a little break; this is the biggest stage they’ve ever played and in days of yore a lot of this would have been worked out in less of a glare (the first press conference I ever staged I set the camera angles to give a great shot right up the candidate’s nose but fortunately it was only covered by two stations in Hannibal, MO).
Biggest applause lines so far:
- “I’m a social conservative.”
- “I’m a member of the Tea Party.”
- “Barack Obama will be a one-term president.” This one has become such a signature line for Ms. Bachmann that the audience did a sing-along with her as she spoke it.
She’s reminding the audience of the sacrifice of the Sullivan brothers who grew up in Waterloo and who died in the sinking of the Juneau in World War II. This set up her call to action close for sacrifice and common purpose.
And we’re done. Ms. Bachmann is doing the waves and hugs at the lectern to the strains of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” As an aside, I hope Mr. Petty gets residuals from all the politicians who have appropriated his music for political events. Same for Mr. Springsteen.
We’ve now segued into Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”. Followed by the classic “I Feel Good” by James Brown and the Stones’ “Start Me Up” Ms. Bachmann said in her remarks that she wasn’t trying to turn back the clock, but from a musical perspective, it’s 1980 again.
Musical update. We’ve gotten up to the 21st century – almost – with Jennifer Lopez’ “Lets Get Loud, U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”
This performance was quite restrained in contrast with other Bachmann outings I’ve seen – no “gangsters,” no “anti-Americanisms.” In fact, much of the red meat one has come to expect from Ms. Bachmann was missing. All in all, however, a decent coming out, significantly better than Mr. Huntsman’s in terms of energy and excitement. Jason Lewis, who did the introduction, will no doubt have an enjoyable second career for a while as crowd-whipper in chief. Based on this event, the new Iowa poll and her widely praised performance in the New Hampshire debate, Ms. Bachmann has clearly been on a roll in the last couple of weeks.
Poor Tim Pawlenty. Like the Highlander series, there can only be one Minnesotan in this race and the very early betting on who’s head will be taken is on Mr. Pawlenty.