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Bachmann in the Big Leagues

October 23, 2008 |  7:00 am

Michele Bachmann, Barack Obama, patriotism, Chris Matthews, Hardball Whatever Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Republican gentlelady from Minnesota, said or thought about Barack Obama's patriotism -- and in the course of a couple of days, her stated viewpoint has evidently swung like a compass needle in a sci fi film -- one thing she said in her own defense raises questions about whether she's ready for the majors.

And it had nothing to do with Obama's patriotism.

At the Rotary Club in St. Cloud, she said that the MSNBC remarks that have imperiled her re-election campaign were the fault of MSNBC's ''Hardball'' host Chris Matthews -- because he invited her on his show in the first place. "I probably should have said no to Chris Matthews."

And here's the clincher: "I had never seen his show before. I probably should have taken a look at what the show was like....  A trap was laid, but I stepped into it.''

She had never seen his show before? A member of Congress had never watched one of the most influential TV political pundits around, a man who once worked for a Speaker of the House? It's incumbent on a member of Congress not only to work on Capitol Hill but to work to get the political message out beyond its marble walls. An invitation to a nationally broadcast talk show such as "Hardball" is political gold, and Rep. Bachmann had been collecting a lot of that lately.

Bachmann's been interviewed on CNN several times, and by Sam Donaldson last month on ABC at the Republican convention. She's been on CNBC and Fox and, of course, on C-SPAN. Her website has an array of all the hip features, Twitter and Facebook and MySpace and Flicker and YouTube. She's talked to her hometown newspapers and radio and TV stations. Heck, she's even talked to me, more than once, on KPCC radio. How the top-volume Chris Matthews could possibly have escaped her notice, I can't understand.

Whatever happens on November 4, here's a suggestion for the perfect Christmas gift for Rep. Bachmann: TiVo.

Photo of Michele Bachmann speaking to the Republican National Convention: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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