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Tilting at Windmills

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March 24, 2011

BACHMANN POISED TO FORM EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE?.... I find this rather hard to believe, but strange people do strange things.

CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time.

But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates. [...]

Meanwhile, CNN has also learned that Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson has been hired to be Bachmann's political director for the state -- and that Bachmann aides hope to have a complete team together for Iowa by this weekend.

It's probably fair to say that most reasonable political observers, regardless of party or ideology, would agree that Michele Bachmann is stark raving mad. I don't mean this in a name-calling sense, I mean it objectively -- her record of truly insane rants and conspiracy theories makes Bachmann an embarrassment to herself and the institution she serves. There's just something deeply wrong with this person.

Bachmann's odds of becoming leader of the free world next year are about as good as mine. But that doesn't mean her candidacy, if it exists, won't matter.

For one thing, Bachmann is so boldly ridiculous, she's bound to generate quite a bit of attention for herself, which could have a real impact on the race. There's only so much media oxygen available for a sizable presidential field, and if Bachmann's clownish antics capture reporters' attention, lesser-known candidates like Pawlenty and Daniels may find themselves struggling to stay in the spotlight.

For another, Bachmann could prove competitive in Iowa, where radically-conservative activists tend to dominate. (Remember, in 1988, radical televangelist Pat Robertson came in second place in the Iowa caucuses, well ahead of the eventual president, George H.W. Bush.)

Ed Kilgore had an item last week explaining that the theocratic religious right -- which adores Bachmann -- is uniquely powerful in the Iowa caucuses, and Bachmann enjoys a strong alliance with Iowa's Steve King (R), one of the few members of Congress who's as crazy as she is.

Kilgore added, "Even if Bachmann doesn't win a state outright, she could wreak havoc on the field. Given her fanaticism about root-and-branch repeal of ObamaCare, is there any doubt she would make sure every Caucus-goer knows about RomneyCare? Plus, she represents a deadly threat to the ambitions of her fellow Minnesota Republican, Tim Pawlenty, who has been quietly consolidating a position as likely Republican frontrunner: When she was a state legislator, Bachmann once assaulted a Pawlenty proposal for an enterprise zone, saying it represented Marxist principles. She won't need an oppo research firm to dig up other alleged Pawlenty violations of conservative dogma. And it's unlikely Pawlenty could survive running behind a fellow Minnesotan in a state so close to his own."

If Bachmann runs, she'll be a sad, cringe-worthy sideshow, making a circus of the entire nominating process. But much to her competitors' chagrin, that's unlikely to stop her.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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We need better mental health care in America.

Posted by: K in VA on March 24, 2011 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

BENEN 2012!

Posted by: September on March 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Exploratory Committee? To find out whether there is any sign of intelligence in her thick skull?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

This is the context in which Haley Barbour seems like a realistic candidate. In the real world, Barbour is a dreadful candidate, with more negatives than you can shake a noose at. But compared with Bachmann, he's a paradigm of sweetness and light.

Posted by: MattF on March 24, 2011 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Reality tv, that's really what this is. Of course she's crazy and of course she'll be encouraged to run and she probably will. She'll be encouraged by anyone who stands to make a buck off the circus her campaign would be...and that includes the "news" media who want nothing more than to have a side-show freak like Bachmann up front and center. It's good for ratings, you know. Even more than crazy, Bachmann is an attention whore. She'll run.

Obama will win in a landslide, the Republicans know that, so they're not going to waste anyone serious *ahem, Jeb Bush* in 2012. The weirdos, the freaks and losers will take center stage for them, instead.

Posted by: SaintZak on March 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann does have crazy religious people on her side, which will hurt the Huckster. But really, having her in Republican primaries campaigning against Republicans is going to be like sending a runaway freight train into Times Square on New Years Eve. There will be blood. Will we actually get treated to a Debate between Bachmann and Palin? Bachmann and Mitt? Bachmann and Gingrich? Bachman and Rand/Ron Paul?, Bachmann and Trump? Frankly, I can't wait....lets get it on.

Posted by: T2 on March 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Michele Bachmann - For President/For Freedom!
Because everyone else like her is locked up!

If she gets elected, I sure hope the White House has an attic they can keep her in.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

The other thing a Bachmann candidacy would do is to force other candidates to address her absurd conspiracy theories and even worse policy prescriptions. And if she does well in Iowa, there will be a lot of pressure on these candidates to consider her absurd positions.

Go Michelle! Bachmann/Palin in 2012!

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on March 24, 2011 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, as the field of GOP nominees starts to expand, Bachman is smart as hell to augment her power and influence by positioning herself as the dependably looniest nutjob in the batch. There's a significant Republican constituency that wants the most right-wing figure they can get, period. At this point, I'd give her a 1 in 10 chance of becoming the nominee, and if she doesn't embarrass herself too badly, a 1 in 5 shot at the nomination in 2016.

Posted by: beejeez on March 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Bachmann is the legitimate representative of the significant portion of the GOP that is, or chooses to act, completely insane. As such, I believe she ought to make a stand in the Iowa caucuses, and other primaries as possible.

I think it is important for the American people to see just how important this part of the party is to the Republicans, and to see that they aren't joking. They are really serious about all that insane stuff.

Combined with the antics of the Midwest governors and Gov. Paula Page - er, sorry- Paul LePage of Maine, a Bachmann candidacy might be what we need to convince people of the awful truth.

Posted by: biggerbox on March 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

She's in it to help split the teabagger vote, take the light off Pawlenty, and allow Romney to pick up the nomination. Corporate money is no doubt being used to prop her up and urge her to run.

Posted by: chi res on March 24, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

If a Bachmann presidential run means that the MSM will actually report all the bizarre shit she says, I'm all for it.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on March 24, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

So the GOP has finally jumped the shark?

Posted by: Jamie on March 24, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

On a serious note - she may well end up being the VP on a sacrificial lamb ticket in 2012.

If Jeb, or someone serious, doesn't get the nomination, they may forget the Presidency and concentrate on keeping the House and winning the Senate. But they'll need a loon on the ticket somewhere to bring out the crazies.

And who better than a nut like Bachmann to bring out the crazies in droves.

Sure, they'll lose to Obama by 4 to 8 points, but if they can win the two legislative steps on the stool, they'll make Obama's life a living Hell.

That will make them happy.

And make Liberals pissed - because I don't see Obama as being any great fighter, standing alone for for 2 to 4 years, trying to keep the barbarians from compeletely storming the gate, do you?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 24, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Even better, the rightwing Washington Times is playing up Rep Allen West as VP material!

Somehow the story fails to mention his little problems in the Army.

Lifelong Dem said:If a Bachmann presidential run means that the MSM will actually report all the bizarre shit she says, I'm all for it.

But they won't point out it is batshit crazy.

Posted by: martin on March 24, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Mark my words: Bachmann will be on the GOP ticket in 2012. Probably as veep, but don't rule out the presidential nomination; she's a very well-positioned dark horse who can take early states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Posted by: danimal on March 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"making a circus of the entire nominating process."

Dude.....Dude!!!.....Where have you been????

Posted by: Z. Mulls on March 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

If you wanna know why Republicans basically went insane after Obama's election imagine how you'd fell if Bachhmann somehow became President. You would say to yourself "I can't believe the America I know and love would do that".

I'm not comparing Bachmann and Obama in Presidential material in any way, what I'm saying is Republicans went crazy because they didn't think America would EVER elect a guy like Obama. (Urban, black liberal). Just like liberals don't think America would EVER elect Bachmann (crazy, dumb, tinfoiled hat, ultra conservative)

Posted by: Archon on March 24, 2011 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

The really interesting thing is if she does run it will be easy to get a handle on exactly how many people in this country are just batshit crazy. The number of voters and supporters for her will reflect the percentages pretty accurately.

Posted by: Gandalf on March 24, 2011 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

cg: I don't see Obama as being any great fighter, standing alone for for 2 to 4 years, trying to keep the barbarians from compeletely storming the gate, do you?

Obama knows how to fight, but has made intentional decisions not to do so, for the most part. I've been thinking for a while now that we'll see a strikingly different Obama in his second term.

Posted by: chi res on March 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Just like liberals don't think America would EVER elect Bachmann (crazy, dumb, tinfoiled hat, ultra conservative)."

Why wouldn't we?
We just went through 8 years of Little Boots Bush.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I hoped for Palin, and got Bachmann. Proof there is a god. Time to play the lotto.

Posted by: Jeff In Ohio on March 24, 2011 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

She is simply following the Palin Model:
Attract lots of attention, get lots of campaign contributions, lose, and finally become famous by being famous.

She will be a shoe-in for a time slot on Glen Beck's new network!

Posted by: DAY on March 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag:

If you don't think Obama's been fighting, and winning, then I'd like to know 1. what your historical context is and 2. what they are smoking in the firebag gulag.

Posted by: September on March 24, 2011 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag:

If you don't think Obama's been fighting, and winning, then I'd like to know 1. what your historical context is and 2. what they are smoking in the firebag gulag.

Posted by: September on March 24, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

You've got a point, I've over exaggerated. Sorry. But I'd like to see him use his 'bully pulpit' more often.
Right now, the Republicans are trying to bust unions all around the country. I know he's been busy with Egypt, Japan, and now Libya, but if he doesn't stay on top of the lies, who will?

The Republicans BS about deficits isn't being challenged enough. The meme about entitelement is out there. Who better to keep fighting against their BS than him?
I wanted to see a greater fight over NOT keeping the tax cuts. I'm glad we go DADT, but we need to keep harping on the fact that those tax cuts didn't provide jobs for the past 8 years, and they don't seem to be doing squat now either.
Who better to explain that story than Obama.

I volunteered for his campaign, and was a part of it for over a year-and-a-half. And I am proud of what he's been able to do with the Congress he had for the first two years.
But now, with a Republican House, I'd like to see a lot more 'drama' from President Obama.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

They've been feeding the crazy for a decade or more now; it looks like the crazy's finally seized control of the GOP, and even self-preservation may not be enough to rein it in.

Posted by: BruceK on March 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is gonna need a bigger clown car next year.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on March 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

This "exploratory committee" crap is so tedious. What the hell is she exploring? And who possibly would make up that committee? Larry, Mo and Curly? Seriously. They'd have to be nuttier than she is, and that's a extremely high bar.

Posted by: Jack on March 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"Larry, Mo and Curly"? I thought they were too engaged, this month, reffing Big East and Big Dance games.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2011 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

she's stupid and crazy. but, let her run. let them deal with her idiocy

Posted by: rikyrah on March 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dismiss this woman at your peril. Sure she is nuts, but she is nuts like a fox. She didn't get where she got without having some real street smarts.

There was lots of crowing about how badly she did recently when she suddenly popped up on TV bleating about the Obama administration having somehow "hidden $100 billion worth of givewaways" in the health care bill.

As soon as she got on camera she hoisted a piece of paper with the number written on it, and despite an onslaught of questions about whether she was ready to see a government shutdown, she clung to her message like a bulldog....repeating it over and over and over.

When she was done, it was the one thing you remembered from the interview. It was a complete lie, but it was now part of the national narrative. Mission accomplished.

She is truly dangerous.

And remember....this was a case in which the media actually tried to pin her down. Most times, as noted in Steve's previous piece about politicians and flip flops, the media doesn't even bother calling a politician's inconsistencies into question.

Smart interviewers would have a load of video clips of past statements in the hopper and haul them out when one of them exposed an inconsistency. For that you need good pre-show research and a sharp producer working behind the scenes with you.

But for that you need Colbert and Stewart. The MSM is so truly f...ing lazy that their most consistent exercise is flipping their Rolodex to John McCain's entry. By now, they don't even need the card.....they got the number memorized.

Posted by: dweb823 on March 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

What about her district seat in 2012?

Posted by: RollaMo on March 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK


I said the same thing about Reagan. I never thought the country would vote for a divorced former movie actor with a simplistic world view and known for saying stupid things.

Posted by: Objective Dem on March 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's really no fun watching a clown car roll out that isn't packed with clowns, so I for one welcome her addition to the Republican collection of clowns. Not being a Republican, it's all the more enjoyable not having to make a donation to see this show unfold under their "big tent" for free.

Posted by: sparrow on March 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Silly Michelle... Huckabee is a much more serious candidate and his proto-campaign has all the power of a used motorcycle http://twitgoo.com/21suwz. I agree with your analysis that she just uses up valuable air time, possibly making the Repubs look bizarre.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on March 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, man. Didn't you love the clowns at the circus when you were a kid?

Posted by: E L on March 24, 2011 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

If there were a well-informed, well-educated, electorate, the prerequisites for a functional and functioning democracy, the quadrennial circus that the presidential 'election' has become wouldn't happen. So we don't really need to have a laughable candidate like Bachmann or Palin to find out how many uneducated idiots there are in this country. We already know. Reagan got elected twice. Little Bush got in twice, albeit in two stolen elections, and lots of people voted for bad-tempered, senile McCain.

That Bachmann and Palin, even Gingrich, haven't been laughed off the stage is also an indication of how bad things are. I'm not suggesting there was ever a golden age of presidential elections, but in the past there does seem to have been a higher standard for presidential candidates. Palin and Gingrich are just opportunistic, greedy, frauds cashing in on the political game. Bachmann, however, is so blinkered and delusional no coherent, rational person can do anything but wet their pants because of the extreme hilarity she causes every time she opens her sexy mouth. She is Gracie Allen to Newt''s George Burns.

The corrosive effect on democracy when a mockery is made of the presidential contest, as is now the case, will ultimately lead to another total moron in the WH. But not until 2016 at the earliest. Obama is no moron, just feckless, and the Rethugs (those with any remaining brains) know he will be hard to beat in 2012 despite his base being disillusioned. So we will have a freak show, and a tidal wave of Koch money behind plastic puppet Romney to make him look inevitable. But Romney is no match for Obama.

How can any sane person any longer pay attention except as a amused outsider just waiting for this scripted reality show to unfold?

Posted by: rrk1 on March 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." I think P.T. Barnum said that.

I won't say that Bachman would be FAVORED to win the Presidency, but it's not completely out of the question if the corporate money decides she'd be sure to give them another $ trillion in tax cuts -- which she would.

If they see her as a threat, then of course she'll be on her own with no help from the Koch brothers.

THAT would be fun to watch because it would screw with their preferred candidates. But, I see her as no different from Newt Gingrich or Tim Pawlenty or anybody else in the field.

EVERY Republican is going to have to earnestly promise at least 50 completely INSANE things before they can get the nomination.

I DOUBT whether the things Michelle says naturally will wind up saying will be any crazier than all the nonsense Newt or Mitt will say in the next six months to a year.

Posted by: Cugel on March 24, 2011 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Cugel: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." I think P.T. Barnum said that.

Actually, H.L. Mencken said that, or rather, something close to it:

"No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

Posted by: Chet on March 24, 2011 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting point rrk1, the media has basically made a mockery of Presidential politics and the consequences to that can't be good.

Although like I said I'm sure there were a LOT of conservatives who thought liberals were making a mockery of the system by even considering the idea that a guy like Obama could be President.

I guess "Presidential" is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: Archon on March 24, 2011 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

You know who else was nuts?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 24, 2011 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

This is going to be a laugh riot! Go Palin/Bachman! The first retarded tw@ts ever elected to President and Vice President of the Ew-S-Aaeee!

Even religious "literature" isn't this funny!

Posted by: Trollop on March 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

This does not have a downside! Come on Michele!

Posted by: ComradeAnon on March 24, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

With a little emendation, the late Senator Roman Hruska's remarks about Supreme Court nominee G. Harrold Carswell's alleged mediocrity seem relevant here: "Even if [she] were [crazy], there are a lot of [crazy] judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all [Washingtons], [Lincolns] and [Roosevelts]."

Posted by: navamske on March 24, 2011 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

@Stetson Kennedy

Bachmann/Palin in 2012!

It's a no-brainer.

Posted by: navamske on March 24, 2011 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

man, i hate to rain on this parade, in large part because i hope you;re all right and I am wrong, but here is where I see the wheels falling off of this clown car fantasy:

what really happens if Bachmann runs is Iowa becomes irrelevant and most candidates skip it, denying her the high-visibility signature win she'd need.

Romney then trounces the field in New Hampshire and Barbour, Huck and everyone else carves up South Carolina leaving no good firewall to stop Mittens from using money and momentum run the table (probably with the dog tied ot the top of the car.)

Bachmann likely is not, in fact, a stalking horse for Romney, but the net effect will be the same as if she was.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 24, 2011 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

zeit, the Religious Wrong will never show up to vote for a Moron.. I mean Mormon. Too bad too because he is really the only candidate with "chops". Sucks to have magic underwear.

Maybe I missed your point, here's hoping I didn't.

Posted by: Trollop on March 24, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Trollop, i tend to agree with you (although recent polling appears more favorable for Mitt with tea partiers than one would expect), but that is why Mitt benefits so much if Iowa becomes irrelevant. The first "real" contest becomes New Hampshire, which fundies have much less pull than in Iowa, allowing Mitt to win there (unless the libertarians find his health care reform inexcusable). Then there will be no clear winner in S Carolina, and on to Nevada where his Mormonism is actually a plus. By that point, most of the other candidates will be running out of cash, he'll have 2 wins out of 4 states and it will be all but over.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 24, 2011 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

With Bachmann sucking up the media oxygen for awhile (along with "who's ahead" since that's so much more important than what they advocate, every single day after day for 18 months), the other Repugs will receive less scrutiny, and then they will look that much better when she finally goes splat. Is there a way to stealthily infuse tv sitcoms and reality shows with facts? How else can we get through to the public? The usual media aren't going to do it.

Posted by: PEA on March 24, 2011 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK



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