The celebrity theory of politics

Michele Bachmann attracts attention with outrageous statements.

Cassandra Sundaram

A few weeks ago, Republican voters had to decide which was the lesser of two evils between two Minnesotans: Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann. They chose Bachmann. With famous one-liners like, âÄúNot all cultures are equal,âÄù and saying the recent hurricane on the east coast was a call from God to âÄúget the attention of politicians,âÄù Bachmann has garnered a tremendous amount of media attention for her controversial statements and self-assured personality.

She consistently captivates extreme right-wing and Tea Party conservatives; because she speaks loudly and draws attention to herself, she was able to make sure her name was better known than PawlentyâÄôs.

Pawlenty was too meek and too hesitant to align himself with the members of the Tea Party.  But are we sure that the kind of person who makes questionable statements to attract attention is the same person we want as commander in chief of the U.S.? 

You can say many things about Tim Pawlenty âÄî that you donâÄôt agree with his views, that you think he is incapable of translating his executive experience on a national level, that you think Mitt Romney is better looking âÄî but you canâÄôt say that Tim Pawlenty didnâÄôt do his best to present his political beliefs and campaign in a way that was purely professional.

He didnâÄôt talk the loudest, he didnâÄôt say things he didnâÄôt mean, and he never had to correct himself afterward. 

As consumers of media coverage, as voters and as citizens, we cannot afford to be ensnared by the loudspeaker or caught up in catchy slogans. We canâÄôt pick our leaders based on rhetoric alone, even if provocative language produces media attention and provides instant fundraising.  A loud and brassy voice doesnâÄôt make someone a better listener, especially when we canâÄôt even hear ourselves over the maddening blare of the megaphone.