Is talking in circles an affliction of politicians or is it just my imagination? Now I know that certain bloggers have a tendency to talk in circles when the facts go against them or their argument is shown to be so full of holes that you can hear the wind whistling through it. But I find it more than a little perplexing when national political leaders are on the Sunday talk show circuit and they just won’t provide a simple answer to a direct and simple question. I mean after all, aren’t these leaders supposed to be “up to speed” on the issues of the day?
This morning, Congresswoman and House Tea Party Caucus Leader, Michele Bachmann appeared on Meet the Press with David Gregory. Gregory, the shows moderator, asked Ms. Bachmann specifically if she would vote to shutdown the federal government in the event that a budget compromise could not be reached. Instead of answering the question, Bachmann chose to answer with a comment about $105 Billion dollars that she claims is squirreled away in the new health care legislation in order to insure its enforcement. Gregory repeatedly asked Bachmann to answer the question and she continued to talk about the $105 Billion dollars, falling back on that subject two or three times before Gregory gave up and posed a new question. When asked if John Boehner has fallen short of Tea Party expectations, Bachmann again raised the subject of the $105 Billion dollars. When asked if removing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power was in America’s best interest, Bachmann instead started talking about the two U.S. Airmen gunned down in Germany or why Obama had not moved faster to evacuate 600 American civilians who were working in Libya when the crisis began.
Now clearly these are not such complex questions that they can’t be answered on a political talk show. Surely an informed individual should be able to provide an intelligent and well reasoned answer to three questions that are at the center of today’s national political discussion. So then why can’t Ms. Bachmann? Is she just not that well informed, is she just plain stupid or is she just so set on injecting her own personal brand of political pyromania into the national political discussion that she can’t control herself? One would think that when invited onto one of the country’s premier political talk shows, one wouldn’t use that forum to repeatedly wander off topic so as to appear unprepared or so intellectually challenged as to be unable to answer the questions asked. Is Ms. Bachmann merely showcasing the shortcomings of so many Tea Party backed national figures who have shown themselves to be prone to wild and bizarre comments a la Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Tom Tancredo? Does this sort of behavior “run in the family”, so to speak? What impression does Bachmann think she is making on a national audience by engaging in this sort of dysfunctional behavior? With independents being the key to electoral success now, what impact does the persistent prattle of a Michele Bachmann have on the independent voters whom the G.O.P. will need in 2012? If Ms. Bachmann is a key player in the amorphous national Tea Party leadership, what does that in turn say about the long term viability of the “movement” based on the quality of its leadership?
I hate to sound like I believe in conspiracies, but I have often wondered if personalities like Bachmann aren’t invited onto shows like Meet the Press or MSNBC’s Hardball for the sake of making them look like fools on the public stage thereby furthering a liberal agenda. Chris Matthews used to have Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on his show regularly and she, like Bachmann seems to be more often than not, incapable of providing a straight answer to a direct question. At any rate, if you’re looking to the likes of Michele Bachmann for any insight into the pressing topics of the day, you had better look elsewhere. However if your primary interest is political farce and folly, then you should find Ms. Bachmann good company.
Steven J. Gulitti