Are you wondering what Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is up to as she prepares for a potential run for the White House? Probably not! But, as it turns out, she's had her head down in some books lately.
What sorts of books? Sadly, it's not Arthur Bernon Tourtellot's "Lexington and Concord." Nor is it Richard Ben Cramer's well-regarded "What It Takes: The Way To The White House." Rather, Bachmann is paging through two of the tawdriest, gossip-infused campaign books available.
In interviews with MinnPost, Bachmann said that as she prepares to make her decision, she’s gone cover-to-cover on "The Politician," a book written by a former John Edwards staffer that details the lengths Edwards went to in order to cover up an affair even as his wife was fighting a recurrence of cancer.
She also read "Game Change," an in-depth account by a pair of veteran political reporters of the 2008 election that allegedly convinced South Dakota Sen. John Thune's wife that she wanted no part of a presidential bid.
"'Game Change' is a book that is very difficult to put down, at least I found it difficult to put down, and it gives a person pause,” Bachmann said. "But the other thing that it does, I think, is it informed me of what I don’t want to do."
"I'm still a human being, and I still have the values that I stand for, and it tells me that the pursuit of a brass ring, the pursuit of an office, is not worth losing your health, losing your marriage, losing your integrity. That I’m not willing to do."
I've not read "The Politician" (probably because I keep not running out of better things to do with my time), but I, too, found "Game Change" difficult to put down, because it was much easier to fling the book across the room. Bachmann's not going to draw any great ideas from "Game Change," because it contains none.
Nevertheless, I think it's a smart move. If nothing else, "Game Change" has a good list of what candidates for president should know before they run: Their campaign staffers will anonymously tell tales to campaign reporters, they shouldn't have an extramarital affair with their campaign videographer, they definitely should not hire Mark Penn and their entire presidential run will be reduced to a half-remembered series of trivial pseudo-events.
Anyway, the Michele Bachmann campaign is going better than I expected. For instance, she can read!