Last summer, Margaret Thatcher snubbed Sarah Palin, turning down a visit from the Tea Party darling because (in the words of someone in Thatcher’s camp) “That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.” If that was really how Thatcher thought of Palin, imagine the low regard she’d have for Michele Bachmann.
That’s not stopping Bachmann from comparing herself to Thatcher in a new ad (embedded above), one that capitalizes on the buzz surrounding Meryl Streep’s Oscar-worthy performance as Thatcher in the new biopic The Iron Lady. Now, it’s often problematic when conservatives try to tap into pop culture and align themselves with current hit movies.* (Remember over the summer when Republicans in Congress psyched themselves up for the debt ceiling fight by watching a clip of thuggish behavior from The Town? Was that really the image these fiscally responsible Republicans wanted to convey, that of violent bank robbers from a movie made by prominent Democratic supporter Ben Affleck?) How tone-deaf is it for Bachmann to associate herself not with the real Thatcher but with the movie Thatcher, played by one of Hollywood’s prominent liberals, in a film that British conservative politicians have criticized as an unflattering smear of Thatcher?
Oh, well, it could have been worse. Bachmann could have chosen instead the new movie Young Adult, about an attractive Minnesota woman who’s a bitter, mean, has-been. Or, if the Iowa caucuses were being held a year ago, she might have had to use Black Swan.
*For all its buzz, The Iron Lady is not exactly a hit yet. It’s done well in its first week of limited release, but it’s far from a blockbuster, since it’s only playing on four screens throughout the U.S. so far. So no one in Iowa (or most of the rest of the country) has had a chance to see it, which means the comparison will be lost on most voters anyway.