Jeff Smith: Can Michele Bachmann survive her gaffes?

As part of his role as a member of Politico’s Arena, contributing RP Jeff Smith was asked whether or not Presidential contender Michele Bachmann could survive a series of gaffes over the past year, including stating that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H. rather than Concord, Mass.

Here’s Jeff’s response:

I don’t think gaffes like this are a big problem for a candidate like Bachmann as she seeks the nomination.

The Republican Party has long appealed to the anti-intellectual strain of the electorate, starting with Nixon and his lambasting of academics (a concerted attempt to bring in the Wallace vote), continuing through Reagan and Bush 43, and culminating in Palin know-nothingism. If anything, these mistakes are often “owned” and used as a self-effacing badge of honor (see “misunderestimate,” “refudiate,” and “I can see Russia from my house”), against media and academic elites who actually care about electing leaders with a mastery of basic grammar and American history.

Of course, gaffes like this, and her out of the mainstream views, will ensure that she will never be president.


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