Today we have another entry in that timeless political genre, the Disputed Insider Account of a Failed Presidential Campaign. This time around, the dish involves the implosion of Michele Bachmann’s highly amusing 2011-2012 campaign (for PRESIDENT!), which one former aide suggests would have gone just swimmingly had the candidate not come under the hypnotic influence of another aide, who the first aide claims held an “unnatural” and “Rasputin-like” hold over the otherwise completely calm and rational Bachmann. Now, the most important thing to keep in mind here is that all of these people thought Michele Bachmann would be an awesome president. So tell us, Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, which faction of crazies is right?
First, the “disgruntled former aide” making the accusations: a charming chap named Peter Waldron, an “evangelical organizer who served as Iowa field coordinator for Bachmann and helped her win the Ames straw poll.” Among other achievements, he is the head of something called “Christians Restoring America’s Greatness” and may or may not have smuggled guns to Uganda in 2006. He’s Oh, yes, and he’s also the source of the report that the Bachman campaign refused to pay several staffers, including Waldron, for his work, so there’s that, too.
The target of Waldron’s ire is Brett O’Donnell, Bachmann’s debate coach, which leads to the inevitable question: That madness was the result of coaching? Or maybe O’Donnell simply accepted the job title and Let Shelly Be Shelly, because wild horses’ asses must run free. In any case, Waldron’s emails to Buzzfeed claim that O’Donnell
“exercised Rasputin-like control over Michele. More than one staffer was grateful to God that she didn’t win the nomination because of the influence that Brett had over her.”
As evidence, Waldron says that O’Donnell isolated Bachmann from other staff (especially Waldron, of course), keeping them off her campaign bus, even when she asked Waldron to ride along and pray with her:
“On one occasion, she whispered to me, ‘Peter, don’t get off the bus no matter who tells you to get off.’ Another time, her personal assistant told me, ‘Peter, Michele does not want to you leave. Stay on the bus. Please pray for us.'”
Waldron also claims that O’Donnell “prohibited legendary consultants Ed Rollins and Ed Goeas from attending debate prep sessions,” and that he scripted “most of the words that came out of her mouth.” In that case, we really need to question Mr. O’Donnell’s knowledge of Elvis’s biography, the difference between John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy, the way vaccines work, and of course the basic facts of American history.
Perhaps most shocking, Waldron says that O’Donnell was an even greater threat than gay marriage to the sacred bond between a good Christian husband and a good Christian wife:
“He prohibited her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, from sleeping in the same room with wife while on the campaign trail.”
We can only imagine how much Marcus paid O’Donnell for THAT.
O’Donnell called the claims “outrageous,” noting that they came from “a disgruntled campaign employee who has little knowledge of reality.” James Pollack, the Bachmann campaign’s former finance chair, added that Waldron’s
“accusatory inferences regarding the Congresswoman are both inaccurate and meritless. His outrageous embellishments of the reality of what transpired are not deserving of further comment. Further defamations by Mr. Waldron will be dealt with accordingly.”
And we should probably mention that Waldron, who is a very busy boy this week, has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that Bachmann’s PAC, which was supposed to be independent from the campaign, used PAC funds to pay fees for another campaign consultant. That’s rather a big no-no, if it turns out to be true, and ultimately more damning than squabbles about who got to hold hands with whom while praying. But it’s not nearly as funny, is it?
Once again, we would simply remind the Gentle Reader that everyone involved here thought that Michele Bachmann would be an excellent Chief Executive of the United States.
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