Yesterday, I mildly criticized Michele Bachmann for reminding people she had placed Lexington and Concord in New Hampshire rather than Massachusetts.
Needless to say I am not surprised that many who have taken the time to comment believe she is above criticism even if it is of the constructive variety. Case in point:
I’ll tell you why Goldstein is sweating the small stuff: Because he is just like the elite “conservatives” who cannot stomach the thought of Sarah Palin leading the party. Obviously, the courageous, brave, honest and very bright Michelle Bachmann simply doesn’t pass muster.
He doesn’t like the cut of Michelle’s jib, don’t you know, and so he’s trying to undermine her – under the guise of offering friendly advice.
But if I cannot stomach the thought of Sarah Palin leading the party then why would I go to the trouble of defending her at every possible turn? Anyone who is disinclined to give me the benefit of the doubt on that score can check for yourself here, here, here, here and here. I’ll go further than that. If Sarah Palin decides to run for President she has my unconditional support. I hope this clarifies matters.
As for Bachmann, if I didn’t like the cut of her jib I would say so. Despite not having a formal leadership position within the House GOP caucus, Bachmann is arguably the most well known member of the House of Representatives in the entire country. That takes some doing and she wouldn’t have done it without having the ability to resonate with her constituency and beyond. If Bachmann can take that resonance and attain higher office then more power to her. But criticism comes with the territory and she should expect those slings and arrows which will only intensify if she actually seeks higher office. Most of the criticism, of course, will be unfair and undeserved. Yet even in the face of a such a barrage one does have to choose one’s battles carefully.
So when Bachmann gets accused of complicity in the Arizona shootings then, of course, she should vigorously defend herself and dress down the liberal media. Nothing she said or did caused Jared Loughner to commit mass murder. But when Bachmann is criticized for her an error of her own making she needs to walk a finer line. Instead of saying that the media is only interested in criticizing conservatives when they err she ought to have said something along the lines of, “You got me. I messed up my geography. My fault. My apologies to the good people of Massachusetts. Next time I’ll do better. I only hope the media will scrutinize President Obama with the same diligence and vigor the next time he tells us there are 57 states in the Union.”
Now one might argue that this is nitpicking. But there is a time to hit back hard and there is a time to hit back with finesse. Or let me put it this way. If President Obama had said the first shots of the American Revolution were fired in New Hampshire rather than in Massachusetts I and other conservatives would have excoriated him for it and rightly so. If we are unwilling hold our fellow conservatives to the same standards then what does that say about us?