She has chosen her Waterloo, or rather Waterloo chose her, and Michelle Bachmann formally announced her candidacy for the highest political office in the land at the place of her birth. Having tested the atmosphere for a run at the GOP nod, and having found it suitable, she will take on the formidable task of campaigning for the foreseeable future. The barrier to serious contention that was womanhood seemingly extinguished, Americans should be proud to have another woman making a serious run to lead the nation.
The problem though is that this particular woman is completely unfit to lead anything. Michelle Bachmann lives in a small world inside of her head, filled with misinformation and delusions. For reasons difficult to fathom, she is a favorite of the ultra-right–or perhaps the ultra-clueless–and has broad support among the Evangelical Christian voter.
Many have compared her to Sarah Palin but other than being frequently on the wrong side of factual information and prone to making regretful public statements, I don’t think it’s an apt comparison. Palin is a phony. A complete caricature, a woman with no core, no principles. Bachmann is authentic, and this may be what her fans see in her.
Mrs. Bachmann is one of the many “GOP for Jesus” candidates but where Newt panders and Mitt avoids comment, Michelle is open and honest about her faith in, and conversations with, the Almighty. He told Michelle to run for President, or more accurately she sensed Him telling her this, and I for one, believe that she believes it. As many flaws as she has as a candidate for public office, the fact remains that she actually is in public office and has found enough backing to make a go of this Presidential run, at least the early rounds. The other GOP candidates take her lightly at their own risk. She can’t win the nomination, but she can cost the rest of the hopeful a lot of points with the Jesus voters.
As an observer of this race, Michelle Bachmann is the only candidate of interest to me. The sheer existence of her presence in this race is a fascinating and troubling look at a segment of the American electorate. We call them the Tea Party, but rather than being an organized party with a specific political objective, they are actually a mixed bag of opinionated ignorance. Republican calling cards in their pockets, all they really want is an even more vicious opposition to President Obama than the GOP has given him in his first two years. These alleged opponents to government spending were nowhere to be found, conveniently, when former President Bush and the Republican Congress ran $400 Billion annual deficits, created a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan with no way to fund it, and ran two wars “off the books” by keeping the costs of the war out of the budgets.
In Michelle Bachmann, they have their voice. A voice that will go on the offensive with or without factual ammunition. Bachmann–who once suggested that President Obama was anti-American and that the news media should investigate members of Congress who might also be anti-American–is someone for whom conspiracy theories feel like actual threats. The Health Care Reform act may support school-based health clinics, but to this voice of the far right it really meant school-based abortions. She has accused Barack Obama of turning the USA into a nation of slaves, and of reviving Mussolini’s economic plan of 1930’s Italy. In Bachmann’s world, the Service America Act, which expands community service programs, are really “re-education camps” for young Americans who will be forced to learn a “philosophy that the government puts forward.”
On science, she comes down where one would expect–in favor of Intelligent Design–but tries to walk a fine line by supporting the teaching of evolution in schools, but also supporting teaching Intelligent Design. Mrs. Bachmann believes “both sides” of the story should be taught and allow the children to decide what they believe is right. This is just another example of the mind-numbingly absurd things that escape her lips. For starters, there is no other side of the story. The Theory of Evolution is a scientific fact, where Intelligent Design is, as scientists are wont to say, not even wrong. There is literally nothing scientific, or even logical, about ID. To teach it in schools, apart from being unconstitutional as has already been found in various court cases, would be the equivalent of teaching children Astronomy and Astrology and letting them decide which they prefer. After Chemistry class, they can head down the hall to Alchemy class and later decide which they believe is right.
I suspect Candidate Bachmann will do well in Iowa and fight admirably in South Carolina–who has just elected a female Governor–but beyond that, her chances of attracting voters other than those Republicans who dangle Tea Bags from their hats and carry signs insulting spelling-conscious Americans everywhere, are very slim. She will ultimately consult with the Creator of the vast and expanding Universe, who will take a break from his busy schedule of not doing anything noticeable, to telepathically communicate to her that the jig is up.