After the Republican presidential candidates’ debate, observers of the pageant opined that Michelle Bachmann had little command of history (as usual, in her case), but a great command of turning phrases that telegraph to particular interest groups that she is one of them. For example, somewhere in the debate Bachmann sneaked in a claim that “we are the head and not the tail.” This was said to be a cryptic shout out to fundamentalist Christians, a reference to Deuteronomy 28.13.
So, if Bachmann is so thoughtful, so careful to send coded messages to her supporters, one may wonder: What group is she giving a shout out to, here, in her appearance in Waterloo, Iowa:
Nominally, one might think she’s sending a note to all of us in the John Wayne fan club. But some of us in the fan club remember that Marion Mitchell Morrison (John Wayne’s non-screen name) was born — in Iowa, true — but in Winterset, in the southern part of the state.
Waterloo was the home of another man who was born with the name “John Wayne.” But that was John Wayne Gacy, the serial murderer who moved to Waterloo, Iowa in the middle 1960s.
Oy. Wrong John Wayne to affiliate with Waterloo, or even to remind Waterloo residents about. History that is, regretfully, bogus. Or voodoo history, depending on whether one thinks Bachmann is conscious, not on drugs, and meant what she said.
Bachmann told CBS News that she’s running because “People are tired of being told things that aren’t so.” Practice what you preach, Ms. Bachmann?
- Washington Post blog story on the goof
- HuffPost with longer video
- Salon, on how to tell the difference
Sunday I watched Bachmann vs. CBS’s veteran report Bob Schieffer. Schieffer asked her about her tendency to tell extremely tall tales — like her claim that the Obama administration had failed to approve any oil leases, when the total approved at that point was 270 leases. Bachmann went off on a tangent. Schieffer asked the question a second time. She went on another tangent. Schieffer asked a third time, a third tangent.
History challenged, veracity challenged: Every time Michelle Bachmann opens her mouth, it’s an adventure.