Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy, baby
Make it last all night (make it last all night)
She was
An American Girl

What’s the best possible news for Democrats and chances of a second term for President Barack Obama? The fact that Tea Party-darling Michele Bachmann is at the top of the straw polls for the Republican nomination for president. That’s right, the geographically and historically challenged Bachman is right up there with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In fact, a new Republican-commissioned poll finds her in the lead. Granted, we’re way too far out from the next election to have anything meaningful come out of these polls. But they’re fun to look at nonetheless.

First, Bachmann insulted all of us from New England by going to New Hampshire and congratulating residents of our neighbor to the north by saying they should be proud to be the home of the battle of Lexington and Concord and the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Hmmm.

Maybe the congresswoman can be excused for that because, after all, she’s from Iowa. Waterloo to be exact. But then she shocked those in the Hawkeye state when she invoked the spirit of John Wayne. Fox News’ own Carl Cameron writes, “Speaking to Fox News on Sunday evening in front of her modest childhood home, Bachmann said she’s a natural fit for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus voters.

‘I want them to know just like John Wayne is from Waterloo Iowa, that’s the spirit I have too,’ Bachmann said. ‘It’s embracing America. It’s sacrificing for America.’ Fans of the Duke immediately spotted the error, however, and called to point out that John Wayne was born 150 miles away in Winterset, Iowa. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy lived and worked in Waterloo.” Ouch. Well, maybe Bachmann can get points for not saying something like, “Just as Napoleon was defeated right here in Waterloo, so too will we defeat President Obama!”

After the John Wayne gaffe, the Bachmann campaign quickly responded by pointing out that John Wayne-the-actor’s parents lived in Waterloo for a while. Whew. A Tim Thomas-like save. 

The whole thing is reminiscent of Sarah Palin (another Obama savior in the making) continuing to insist that Paul Revere‘s ride was to warn the British — who were already here— that the British were coming and they weren’t going to take our guns. Or something like that.

The kicker came when Bachmann, the daughter of legendary rocker Randy Bachmann of the band Bachmann-Turner Overdrive, was told by rocker Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to stop using his song, “American Girl” at her rallies. First, why would she want to use that song (see lyrics at the top of this entry)? And then there’s also a crazy urban legend related to the song.

It was rumored to have been written about a girl who committed suicide by jumping from a residence hall at the University of Florida in Gainesville where Tom Petty grew up. (For what it’s worth, a University of Florida official says a student may have committed suicide by jumping from one of the dorms between 1967, when the facility opened, and the early 1970s, when Petty left Gainesville. But Petty says here’s no truth to that.)

Using an inappropriate song as a campaign backdrop is not a partisan problem. When Hillary Clinton was running for U.S. Senate in New York, her campaign mistakenly used Billy Joel’s “Captain Jack” as a crowd- warmer-upper instead of “New York State of Mind.” This is a family-friendly essay so we won’t get into why “Captain Jack” is so inappropriate.

But as for Michele Bachmann, why wouldn’t she just use her dad’s “Taking Care of Business” or “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”? Then again, I’m pretty sure an office supply store owns the former and the latter offends people who stutter.

Wait, what? Randy Bachmann’s not her father? Oh, Sorry. But I’m pretty sure her real parents did, at some point, buy a Bachman-Turner Overdrive album. Or hear them on the radio. Close enough, right?