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Campaign Trailer Critic: Michele Bachman's Low Budget Independent Feature

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann's initial campaign video is appropriately shocking...ly low-budget. It was clearly filmed in her office in front of a filing cabinet, probably in one take. She looks directly at the camera and presents uncharacteristically conventional soundbites about being a constitutional conservative. She sort of looks and sounds like she's a robot, a robot with an intense glare that lasers through your body. 

Compared to T-Paw's glossy action packed videos, Romney's polished touch, or Herman Cain's unconstrained joy, this video launch can't help but look staid, weird and somewhat boring.

What's up with this video?  Is her campaign communications staff woefully out of touch? Or does it represent something deeper about Bachmann the candidate?

The Congresswoman from Minnesota is known for shooting Palin-like zingers and body-slamming one-liners against President Obama's policies and choices. She's fierce, a tiger cloaked with a mid-western accent. She's very smiley and is always perfectly coiffed and poised, projecting an almost icy calm, usually wearing a power-suit. In the video, she's got pearls, an American flag on her lapel, and her eyes pop. Maybe that's the eye-makeup, but it makes her look scary and tough. Tough enough to take down President Obama? That's likely the idea.

It's not about me, it's about you, Bachmann says to her viewers:

"I work very hard to bring your voice to the halls of Congress. Now I want to take your voice to the White House where it hasn't been heard for a long time. Because with your common sense and your energy, working together, we will take our country back."

Project your hopes, fears, and aspirations onto me, she seems to say. The GOP is looking desperately for someone to love, and Bachmann represents a more electable Sarah Palin, (though she sort of comes off as a clone). That's one reason why Bachmann is surrounded by so much energy and hype. But she's genuinely popular: she was just one point shy of winning the latest Des Moines Register poll in Iowa, and has the best favorability ratings of the candidates.

Assuming there is a video strategy (I'm giving the communications team my benefit of the doubt), my speculation is that it is to portray Bachmann as a no-nonsense, simple, direct, person who could care less for bells and whistles and is unafraid to claw her way to victory. No extra penny spent was spent on this one-minute feature (despite the fact that she is a powerhouse fundraiser). She doesn't need frills because she is a down-to-earth, hard-working woman from Minnesota (born in Iowa) who wouldn't be in politics if it weren't for her intense concern about a country being destroyed by an army of liberals. And she's ready to shoot those lasers out of her eyes at 'em.

It's either an oversight, or this video is meant to symbolize Bachmann's work ethic. If you had any doubts, Bachmann's the Tea-Party poster-girl, and it's not because she's hip. She doesn't spend money on hip.

Throughout the 2012 campaign season, It's A Free Country's political film critic Sarah Kate Kramer will be analyzing the videos released by presidential hopefuls.

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