Michele Bachmann and the Empathy Card

I am a long-time friend and admirer of Michele Bachmann, but nevertheless was disappointed when it became clear that she was going to run for president. I did not think she would be a serious candidate–sorry, Michele!–and believed she would distract needlessly from my own favored candidate, Tim Pawlenty. What happened Monday night, however, demands a re-evaluation.
Not that I was surprised by Michele’s performance; I wasn’t. But the fact that other people were surprised, and impressed, was revealing. Suddenly, Bachmann doesn’t look like a fringe candidate anymore.
Next we come to her appearance last night on the Hannity show. It drew this headline from the Los Angeles Times “In a switch, GOP’s Michele Bachmann talks of empathy.”

In her first televised interview since declaring her presidential candidacy, Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of having a “shocking” lack of empathy toward Americans victimized by the struggling economy.
“I talk to people. I care about people,” the Minnesota Republican told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity Wednesday evening. “The president has no understanding of what is happening in real people’s lives.” …
In the interview, Bachmann also called the president “out of touch,” saying “he has no basis of understanding how to deal with the economy.”

Here is the Hannity interview:

That Barack Obama is without a clue when it comes to the economy is no revelation, but that he lacks empathy–traditionally a Democratic refrain–is a bold and interesting twist. The fact is that Obama does often seem to be weirdly detached from the problems he ostensibly is trying to solve. Perhaps that is just his style; perhaps it suggests that his real objective is to advance leftist objectives like government takeover of medicine, not to improve the lot of working Americans. Be that as it may, the fact that Bachmann is an unusually empathetic person positions her, perhaps uniquely, to take that particular approach to Obama’s failures.
It is no surprise that Bachmann’s enemies continually underestimate her, but I am beginning to think that her friends have underestimated her, too.

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