What a rough road it has been for fledgling presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN) so far.
First, Chris Wallace calls her a “flake” on, of all places, Fox News – inspiring the ideologically hostile media to launch a piranha-like assault on her. Then Tom Petty asks her to stop playing “American Girl” at her campaign rallies.
Then, things really got embarrassing for the three-term congresswoman.
At an appearance in Waterloo, Iowa, Bachmann seemed to confuse America’s all-time greatest movie hero with its all-time worst mass murderer.
Bachmann stated that John Wayne was from Waterloo, and that she shared his patriotic fervor. In reality, The Duke was born in Winterset, Iowa – 150 miles away.
Adding insult to injury, the media latched onto the fact that notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy once lived in Waterloo. Executed in 1994, Gacy murdered 33 young men and boys, burying most of them in the crawlspace under his house.
But as gaffes go, I think it is fairer to say that Bachmann confused two Iowa towns, and not Rooster Cogburn with Pogo the Clown.
Anyone who is up on his or her serial killer history knows that Gacy was born in Chicago. That is where he committed his crimes, and Illinois is where he was tried, convicted, and executed for them. He only lived in Waterloo for a very brief time.
Accusing Bachmann of confusing Good John with Bad John smacks of a media-driven contrivance. That said, when I saw the images of John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy side by side in the Los Angeles Times today, I couldn’t help but laugh. From a pop culture standpoint, it doesn’t get weirder or more random than that.
I question whether Bachmann is qualified to be president, but I think this kind of orgiastic feeding frenzy on the part of the media will help her by making her a sympathetic character, if not a martyr, among conservatives.