The Grauniad on Bachmann et al

There’s more, but this is the meat. The rest of her extremist views are just the gravy.

Bachmann, 55, believes her country needs to be reclaimed from a socialist president, a gay mafia, and treasonous liberals, responsible for, among other things, robbing Americans of the freedom to choose their light bulbs.

While I hate the way that the media has immediately geared up for some kind of catfight narrative starring Palin and Bachmann, it’s not actually sexist to note that they are in more direct competition with each other than with the male cohort of contenders, especially since Bachmann’s own PR team have been touting her as a “smarter version” of Palin. Palin paved the way for Bachmann’s brand of SuperMom Tea Party appeal, and Bachmann is going to be better at hitting hard-right talking points than Palin because she does have more than just folksy winks to fall back on. She’s much more genuinely “conservative” (i.e. a radical Constitutionalist) and has a more solid political history even though she’s (so far) just a low-level Congressperson.

Not that either Bachmann or Palin are truly likely to end up running seriously for President in 2012, and the odds are that Romney, Pawlenty and Gingrich won’t either. They’ll probably dip out well before the primaries season gets fully under way. Just putting one’s name up there as a contender translates to big gains in national profile and campaign funding these days, especially on the Republican side of the aisle:

They get to be somebody, rather than just an aging ex-Speaker or defeated Senator or obscure pizza executive or ranting congressperson.

Not only that, but if they do a half decent job they can set themselves up for a big prize. A vice-presidential slot? A cable news channel show? A 2016 presidential run? If nothing else, the prospect of being a Serious Heavyweight Politician, with a juicy book contract and hefty speaking fees.

Are some of them dreaming about 2016? Probably, but I don’t know that any of them seriously see it as more than a dream right now. I just want to see Bachmann put a huge dent into Palin’s credibility before she says something so rank that her own campaign implodes, because the male contingent can’t torpedo Palin without looking mean, while they can be relied upon to derail each other anyway. It will indeed be interesting to see how SNL and the other comedy shows caricature each of the contenders, because it’s hard to take somebody seriously if a spot-on parody of them is generating ridiculous water-cooler punchlines in every office.

So who is going to emerge as an actual credible Republican contender for 2012? The current crop nudging each other out of the spotlight probably know, deep down, that they don’t have enough momentum to beat Obama despite his falling popularity with Democrats, and that the Right will have a better chance in 2016 which they want to wait for, but who is going to step up and take the fall for the team?

Categories: culture wars, media, parties and factions

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. Not the paperclip, that’s for sure. Paperclip will quite happily go with the “I see you’re trying to damage Obama’s reputation with a presidential run, would you like help with that?’ and run VP, but it’ll take a goat who can swallow anything, including the comments of their allies and press team to actually front the kamikaze run. Of course, you might get someone prepared to make a half bid because of tactics.
    Vote Goat and Paperclip!
    (Google it. You know you want to)

    • According to this backgrounder from Daily Beast – Bachmann is so terrified of Teh Gay that she screamed out loud when some lesbians wanted to talk to her and made a complaint to police:

      In April 2005, Pamela Arnold wanted to talk to her state senator, Michele Bachmann, who was then running for Congress. A 46-year-old who worked at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Arnold lived with her partner, the famed Arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, on a farm in Scandia, Minnesota. Bachmann was then leading the fight against gay marriage in the state. She’d recently been in the news for hiding in the bushes to observe a gay-rights rally at the Capitol. So when members of the Scandia gay community decided to attend one of Bachmann’s constituent forums, Arnold, wanting to make herself visible to her representative, joined them.
      A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9 event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to same-sex marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. “Help!” she screamed. “Help! I’m being held against my will!”
      Arnold, who is just over 5 feet tall, was stunned, and hurried to open the door. Bachmann bolted out and fled, crying, to an SUV outside. Then she called the police, saying, according to the police report, that she was “absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.” The Washington County attorney, however, declined to press charges, writing in a memo, “It seems clear from the statements given by both women that they simply wanted to discuss certain issues further with Ms. Bachmann.”

      Via Pharyngula (TW for usual ableist language equating political extremism with mental illness), where they’re taking the possibility of President Bachmann more seriously than I do.


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