“Michele Bachmann does not have a strong record as a legislative strategist, and that’s never been her forte,” said Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political science professor. “She says things that are kind of off the wall, but these are often calculated statements on her part, to register with conservative, grass-roots people, and that’s very hard for folks who are not grass-roots conservatives to understand,” he said. “Some of the things she says are zany and embarrassing to other Republicans, but that’s part of what has given her this authenticity.”"Calculated statements" -- like accusing your political opponents of "un-American values" or conjuring "death panels" out of thin air or retailing invented cost estimates for presidential travel -- confer "authenticity." I'm afraid the good professor has caught the zeitgeist.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
What quality would you ascribe to a public official who is willing to toss out any lie or unfounded accusation to whip the extreme fringe of her party into a frenzy? One political scientist, perhaps a little too immersed in the political culture he studies, has an answer (my emphasis):