Some people think Rep. Michele Bachmann won last night's GOP debate in New Hampshire. Those who are awarding the grand prize to the Minnesota congresswoman must be the same people who are easily and often distracted by shiny objects. Because mesmerizing us all with a carnival show seems to be Bachmann's specialty.
What I mean is, she seems to be all about the sound-bytes and publicity stunts. For instance, just last night, Bachmann used the debate as a "me, me, me" opportunity to announce that, sans "exploratory phase," she's running for president. If I were Mitt Romney or Herman Cain, I'd be more than a little peeved that Bachmann didn't respect the other candidates and me enough to take care of that beforehand.
Or how about how she led the audience at the Faith and Freedom Conference in prayer following her address? Herman Cain may regret calling that "pandering," but I can't think of a better word for it ... except "publicity stunt."
Then, you've got the jabby sound-bytes like the one about how we should change the name of the Environmental Protection Agency to "the job-killing organization of America" or how "we cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation" or her vow to "not rest until I repeal Obamacare. That is a promise. Take it to the bank and cash the check. I'll keep that promise." It's as if she knows that all this neat and tidy, name-calling quotes up her shock value and buzzworthiness. Kind of like the Mean Girl who reigns supreme in the high school cafeteria.
And if you think for a moment that she believes what she's saying, that she's really passionate about these points and she plans to stick to 'em, consider her flip-floppy stance on marriage equality. First, she says she's all about the states having the freedom to decide what works best for them ("Love me, Libertarians!"), but then, she decides she also likes the idea of a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which would, of course, overturn state laws ("Christian right, I'm with you!"). She must not understand how state vs. federal laws work, or she thinks she can have it both ways. Either way, she comes off looking like she's just putting on a show to endear herself to anyone and everyone she thinks she has a chance of winning votes from.
All candidates have to entertain us to some extent, but there must be substance behind the spectacle. It's clear that Bachmann only seems to have the latter going for her.
What do you think -- does Michele Bachmann have substance or is she all spectacle?
Image via Olympus Photography by Massimo/Flickr