Mark Steyn is someone whom I enjoy reading and listening to. He’s informed, intelligent, and has a wonderful (and sometimes wicked) sense of humor. But once in a while his analysis is, in my estimation, a bit wide of the mark. Take his comments about Michele Bachmann, who yesterday announced she will not seek reelection. In paying tribute to her, Steyn said she could have been “America’s Thatcher.”
No she couldn’t. Margaret Thatcher was a once-in-a-generation leader. She changed the trajectory of history, bending it toward liberty. She was a woman who possessed a powerful intellect. Her speeches were thoughtful and historically literate, she always did her homework, and she was a first-rate debater. Margaret Thatcher’s achievements were staggeringly impressive. Michele Bachmann, on the other hand, was a member of the House of Representatives who had some strengths but also some real weaknesses and limitations.
When someone we like retires we’re inclined to shower more praise on them than they deserve. I get that. But saying that Michele Bachmann could have been “America’s Thatcher” is (to be generous) hyperbole. And my guess is that Steyn himself, on reflection, would agree.