Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Odd Tales From The 2012 Best of the Worst: Michele Bachmann Edition

A story about a debate coach exerting unusual influence on 2012 GOP presidential primary candidate Michele Bachmann comes to us from Buzzfeed:

Michele Bachmann's high-profile debate coach, Brett O'Donnell, developed an "unnatural" and "Rasputin-like" relationship with his candidate during her failed 2012 presidential campaign, another former aide told BuzzFeed, a charge O'Donnell denies. 
Peter Waldron, an evangelical organizer who served as Iowa field coordinator for Bachmann and helped her win the Ames straw poll said O'Donnell exercised an "unusual power over Mrs. Bachmann." Waldron and other former Bachmann staffalso currently say the Congresswoman has yet to pay them for debts owned from her short-lived campaign. 
"He prohibited her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, from sleeping in the same room with wife while on the campaign trail," Waldron said in an email to BuzzFeed. "He prohibited legendary consultants Ed Rollins and Ed Goeas from attending debate prep sessions. He told her when she could get off the bus (Waterloo event with Gov. Perry), he wrote most of the words that came out of her mouth, he wrote all of her speeches."

In that this particular former staffer apparently has an outstanding issue with Bachmann's campaign, I don't want to say I think this odd tale is totally true, but I can kind of understand why a debate coach  might try to micromanage a personality like Bachmann. When I think back on the comparisons made about Bachmann, it seems likely to me that there was some fear that people would start imagining a Palin-esque "rogue" moment that would throw her campaign irretreiveably off-course. That fear might have resulted in trying to shelter her from too much exposure, and to try to limit inputs the candidate received so that her message wouldn't get confused.

I can see that being a plausible strategic reason, as opposed to being necessarily weird (I don't know about the whole "not sleeping with her husband" thing though--that's awfully personal, right?), but I don't think the impetus behind it is an especially laudable goal--

The way I see it is, if you are a consultant with a campaign where you become genuinely concerned that your candidate can't be trusted to have too much input, make too many decisions, say things in her own words, or have unguarded access on occasion with press--you are no longer working on a campaign, you're babysitting. And babies should not be candidates for higher office. It doesn't show a lot of respect for the candidate's acumen, or for the people you think should vote for her.

As it was, Rep. Bachmann still made some "rogue" errors, most notably the unfounded claim regarding HPV vaccine allegedly causing developmental disorders--possibly suggesting that O'Donnell's instinct that Bachmann needed to be micromanaged wasn't off-base. But I think it's deeply off-base to assist a campaign if you suspect your candidate is far from ready for prime-time, in the first place.

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