James M. Lindsay of the Council of Foreign Relations and formerly of the National Security Council, who may know something of what global leadership looks like, examines Rep. Michele Bachmann, candidate for President of the United States. He notes that Bachmann "switched to the Republican Party after reading a book by Gore Vidal that she thought was 'mocking our founding fathers.'"
Commenter Derek Wain objects to Lindsay's overview:
There is...an obvious and clumsy attempt to Palinize Bachmann.... Lindsay’s patent political propaganda brings to mind a Chinese saying: "Why you point one finger at me, you point 2 fingers at yourself."
Oh, for the waning days of Chinese stereotyping and of Americans' innumeracy, we live in hope. But in the land of Wain's Bachmann and Bachmann's Wain, it's probably best to temper hope.
Bachmann's simplistic view of Vidal's novels (on different occasions she's cited 1876 and Burr, only one of which has to do with our Founding Fathers) reveals her literalistic mindset--or "worldview," a not-new and once-academic term now trendy. She hadn't the sense or ability to read an imaginary first-person narrative as being subjective, even purposefully untrustworthy through the novelist's craft. (An elderly Aaron Burr provides that perspective in Burr, Charles Schuyler in 1876, and both characters are clearly flawed, each a mix informed insight but also bias.) It's Literature 101 kind of stuff, and she didn't even get it, because the literalistic mind can't; epistemological fundamentalism doesn't mesh as well with subtly or even complexity as it does with pigeon-holing and inflexibility. It is a mindset that allows her to be comforted in pre-scientific conservative evangelical religiosity. It is mindset a bit like the electrician's comparator: reality with only two modes to offer and completely committed to either all one or all the other. Such black-and-white thinking is not suitable for the job of head of state of our republic in a complex global era.
Of course, just because it's unsuitable doesn't mean it's impossible to be operative in (whisper it) a Bachamann presidential administration. Certainly it was the case that unsuitable mental habits did not disqualify other candidates from winning the presidency.