Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It seems like the Presidential campaign is starting to heat up, which we all know makes me all tingly inside. And it gets me thinking, and gets me wanting to spout some nonsense about it. And to start with, I wanna talk about Michelle Bachmann. And I have so much to say that I don't really even know how to start.

The facts, I suppose, are as follows. Michelle Bachmann is a third-term Representative from Minnesota who is running for President. She is a vocal member of the Tea Party movement and has been something of a rising voice within the Republican caucus since her election. I would classify her policy ideas as pretty consistently Christian Conservative. She sought but did not get a leadership position after the last election.

There are two things that amaze me about her - the amount of attention she gets from the media, and the level of obsession about her from the political left. I get it: she is a relatively good looking woman, and she says lots of things that make for good TV...but is that really enough to devote the level of coverage that she gets? She has more writers and cameras follow her than anyone else, despite the polling, donations and common sense that says she is a second or third tier candidate. That extends to not just the major media, but also the minor web and print sources as well.

Feeding the "good looking woman" thesis, of course, is that the only person who could divert the media's attention from her is Sarah Palin, of course. And don't even get me started on the assertion that a Palin candidacy would be the end of Bachmann's campaign. You know, because her supporters will blindly follow the highest-profile hot chick they can find...(this is a whole other issue about the media covering Republican supporters as if they are stupid. They may or may not be, but the constant overtone of the coverage is ridiculous.)

I guess I can understand the media's coverage, though. They may be doing a disservice as a "news" organization, but the ratings quest is at least understandable. More confusing to me is that the left is absolutely obsessed with her. Just check out any kind of it Twitter or any other opinion-generating source, and the attention to all of her actions is mind-boggling. I feel like MSNBC has a once-every-fifteen minute update on her, and its hosts (and others like them) take every stupid thing she says as if it is an earth-shattering revelation. Check what your liberal activist or involved friends are posting or forwarding about the Republican candidates and I can promise it will be all Bachmann, all the time (except for Herman Cain's pokemon references:-))

She is, at best, the third most likely Republican Presidential candidate (although she looks a little better with Tim Pawlenty's dropping out), and an argument could be made that at least a half dozen people are more likely to get the nomination. But check in with anyone you know who considers him or herself to be an "informed" follower with a liberal bias, and I can promise you that they will have a much more intense feeling about her than about either Mitt Romney or Rick Perry (the likely front-runners) or John Hunstman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.

And let's contrast her to a couple of those people. Start with Ron Paul, whose lack of media attention baffles me. He has a much longer record than Bachmann (and I use the comparison not to knock her, but just as a benchmark for him) and is the intellectual father of the movement that she is riding. His rallies draw bigger crowds than hers, and he has a proven record of outstanding fundraising. Even with her "flavor of the month" status, he has raised more money than she has, from more donors.

Polls of actual likely voters in Republican primaries have him even or ahead of her. Quick question: which Republican candidate, other than McCain, raised the most money in the last election cycle? According to, it was Paul (Romney's donations to his own campaign excluded.) So, why have the major media outlets designated him as "not a serious candidate" while they follow her like she is the nominee? I don't disagree with them about his chances, but what is the objective criteria that they are applying to the two of them?

And what of, say, Rick Santorum? As a bogeyman for the left, he should be better...he was the third ranking member of the Senate, was considered a very likely Presidential candidate in the mid 2000's...and he is more conservative than Bachmann is. And that doesn't even get to Newt Gingrich!

I guess these two phenomena feed on each other...the left is obsessed with her, which means the media covers her because that is what the viewers want. And that level of coverage makes her seem important, which makes the obsession seem worthwhile. But where are the people who actually step back and ask "Who exactly is she appealing to that is going to make her a Presidential nominee?" If you know any registered Republicans (in other words, the people who will ultimately determine the nominee), ask them what they think of her. My guess is that they don't really think of her much at all...

(And yes, I know she won the Ames, Iowa straw poll last week...but seriously, she could have won Miss Onion Festival 2011 at the Michigan State Fair and it would be moderately less relevant)

Anyway...not sure what this is really related to at all...just what I am thinking this week.


brandy said...

I too, am feeling all tingly with an upcoming election! When it comes to Bachmann, I find that I have a hard time turning off the tv when she is on, though I wouldn't call myself obsessed. For me, the absolute intrigue I feel comes from watching someone who I have absolutely nothing in common with. I don't mean this to be snide, but I watch her hoping to understand how it's possible that I have absolutely nothing in common with a human being when it comes to not just political views but personal beliefs. Usually, I can find something to get behind, even if it's someone from another party. I can admit that they are reasonable, that even if I disagree with them that they are articulate or thoughtful in their argument. But with her.. I just struggle. So I keep watching hoping that one day there will be some common ground. And the fact that there is never a middle ground with her? Worries me.

Kari said...

I love your posts about politics!!

Accidentally Me said...

Brandy - That is kind of my point...why does she engender that reaction, but someone like Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich doesn't? Maybe they are a little more polished, and Gingrich is certainly more articulate...but there aren't really many policy differences.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I love these posts - because it shows you care - and that, unfortunately, puts you in the minority! At this point in the campaign, the general public doesn't really care. And so, news stories about the compelling candidates does nothing for ratings. Following a good looking candidate with wacky political views does. Sigh.