COMMENTARY | True Elvis Presley fans are rolling their eyes and gritting their teeth after presidential candidate Michele Bachmann made a stop in South Carolina on Tuesday to do a little post-straw poll victory bus touring in the state and get in some stump time. Bachmann, who claims to be an Elvis fan, made a particularly offensive gaffe in Spartanburg right after she got off the bus, according to CNN, somehow confusing the August anniversary of The King’s death with his birthday. (And now you know why true Elvis’ fans are rolling their eyes and gritting their teeth, not to mention mumbling under their breath.)
“Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today,” the Minnesota congresswoman said to the event attendees at a “Join Team Bachmann” rally.
“We played you a little bit of ‘Promised Land’ when we pulled up,” she continued, oblivious to her horrible gaffe. “You can’t do better than Elvis Presley and we thought we would celebrate his birthday as we get started celebrating taking our country back to work.”
To many, saying something like that would mean a great deal (and it was no doubt offered for that very reason) — if it had been the anniversary of Elvis’ birthday, but that day came and went back in January. Instead, millions of Elvis fans throughout the world honored the life of the “Don’t Be Cruel” crooner on the 34th anniversary of his death on Tuesday.
Some of The King’s fans were no doubt in attendance at the rally in South Carolina.
It is doubtful those fans were amused. An Elvis fan would have known better — known the difference. And if it had been some sort of mental slip (a birth for death kind of transpositioning, say), they would have caught it, quickly apologized and talked about The King actually being in the Promised Land. A true Elvis fan would have never uttered the next few words she spoke, not to mention using the day in an abominably crass tie-in with a political message.
But the operative term in the aforementioned set of circumstances is “true.” It is a state or condition that Bachmann apparently is estranged from. Like her attempts to pander to Elvis Presley fans, Bachmann has made a career — literally — of saying things that aren’t true. Her falsehoods are numerous, they are blatant, and they come with full denial afterwards. (Ask Bob Schieffer of “Face The Nation.”)
Sometimes she tells a lie while talking about or explaining another falsehood. (Again, ask CBS’ Bob Schieffer.) The fact-finding agency for the St. Petersburg Times, Politifact, has Bachmann down for 27 half true to “pants on fire” (the worst rating for lying) forms of false statements out of 30 statements that they have fact-checked.
And if they checked, it is almost certain it would be found the presidential candidate Bachmann is no Presley fan. (Seriously, how could a true Elvis fan forget the anniversary of his death?)
But it isn’t as if Bachmann isn’t prone to making eye-rolling gaffes. In June, while visiting her home state of Iowa, she invoked the spirit of John Wayne, noting that, like her, he was from Waterloo, Iowa. Only John Wayne — the actor to whom she was referring — was not from Waterloo. But John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial murder had once lived in Waterloo.
The media had a field day with that gaffe. As they no doubt will with the current Elvis gaffe.
And with regard to said gaffe, better that the Congresswoman was in South Carolina and not in Mississippi or Memphis. (Elvis fans will know why that’s important.)