In my latest reading of Michele Bachmann’s Core of Conviction: My Story, Bachmann offers her opinions on prominent political figures: Jesse Ventura (not that great of a reformer, plus he surrounded himself with liberals), Paul Wellstone (a liberal Michele Bachmann respects), Hillary Clinton (would have made a better President than Obama, since she’s not as far left), John McCain (good guy, but he was wrong to support the bail-out), John Boehner (wrong to support No Child Left Behind, but he looks like Dean Martin), etc.
I particularly enjoyed Michele’s story about how she was reading a book about Lincoln’s cabinet at an event where President George W. Bush was about to speak, and Karl Rove told her to get rid of the book because the President was about to give a speech. (Michele says that Rove’s concerns were understandable because the media might photograph her reading the book and make it look like she was reading during Bush’s speech, implying that she was bored.) Michele replied that she would not read it while Bush was speaking, and that it was a good book. Rove responded that he knew it was a good book, since he had read it himself, but the President was about to speak! I liked this story because it highlighted how Karl Rove is a voracious reader. I’ve read that he and Bush would compete over who would read the most books over the year. And we’re not just talking about light-weight books, either, but substantive books about history. See here.
I’d like to turn now to a story that Michele tells on page 139 about her husband Marcus and her two daughters at the political fundraiser with President Bush:
“Yet another big thing also happened that night: Our two youngest children, Caroline and Sophia, had their youthful lives changed. Marcus, always thinking ahead, had said to them a few days earlier, ‘Let’s make this event your chance to improve your social skills and your confidence.’…So he gently instructed the two shy girls, then twelve and fourteen, that their mission for the evening was to go up to everyone at the dinner and introduce themselves. Nobody would bite them, he promised…Caroline and Sophia were both a bit daunted at the prospect, but…they went for it; sticking close together, they primly and properly extended their greeting to all the folks. The girls knew, of course, that Marcus was hovering nearby, ready to help in case of a faux pas emergency. And so their debut in big-time political fundraising was a success; they had no trouble working the room. That’s the way childhood ought to be: parents guiding the development of their kids, seizing every opportunity to help them grow in confidence and ability.”
I liked this story because I myself am a shy person. Do I fear that people will bite? No, not literally, but I fear that they will think I’m an oddball were I to introduce myself to them (which happens sometimes, but not most of the time), or that I won’t know what to say after saying hello and introducing myself. Small-talk is not something I’m good at. But there are cases in which I may not have to do much small-talk (as important as it is to learn how to do that). I could just say “Welcome to the event” or “Thanks for coming”.