Should We Take 'Michele Bachmann 2012' Seriously?

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We're almost an entire week into the year before the year of a presidential election, only 22 short months away, which means it's time for Washington's favorite game: speculating about presidential campaigns. Often the way it begins is that a would-be candidate has a staffer anonymously tell a reporter about the potential run. The reporter then writes it up, dozens of other reporters and bloggers jump on the story, and the possible candidate evaluates the reaction to the story as a way to gauge whether he or she should run.

That's what looked to be happening this morning with ABC News' story citing a lone, anonymous source as saying Rep. Michele Bachmann might run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Bachmann's office responded by refusing to deny the rumor, both to ABC and other publications. How seriously should we take a possible Bachmann campaign or even a Bachman presidency? Read the blog scrum and decide for yourself.

  • Darling of the Tea Party Right   "Bachmann," The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta writes, "is the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, which she chairs, and was a leading opponent of President Obama's health-care overhaul, which she protested at rallies in Washington and St. Paul. Her outspoken manner and slick personal style have made her an icon on the right and especially among its new generation of conservative women, but also a figure of fun and derision on the left."
  • Not As Crazy As It Might Sound  Salon's Steve Kornacki doesn't think she'll win, but concedes that "Bachmann's apparent interest isn't that surprising in light of the Tea Party-fueled upheaval we saw in multiple Republican primaries last year. ... Add in the seeming weakness of the '12 GOP field, Bachmann's built-in national fundraising network, her Iowa roots, and the narrowness of the Iowa caucus electorate (and the fact that it may only take 30 percent to win), and it sort of makes sense that she'd think about taking a shot, doesn't it?"
  • Wouldn't Be 'Serious Candidate'  Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis shrugs, saying she "would be, at best, a gadfly who got press attention for her outrageous statements. Good for entertainment value, not a serious candidate."
  • GOP Unlikely to Support Bachmann Bid  "Shortly after the midterm elections, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) launched a campaign to become the new House Republican Conference Chair," The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen recalls. "GOP leaders, who tend to find Bachmann rather embarrassing, quietly crushed her bid, and ensured she wouldn't join the congressional leadership. One wonders, then, how they'd feel about a much bigger promotion for the deranged Minnesota Republican."
  • If Sincere, Bad News for Palin 2012  "This would seem to be a serious change of pace from Bachmann's previous ties to Sarah Palin," Talking Points Memo's Eric Kleefeld points out, "who campaigned with her at a high-profile rally this past April. Indeed, the event seemed something like a sneak preview of a Palin-Bachmann ticket. Really, if both Palin and Bachmann ran, it would seem like they would be fishing from the same pool of voters." Kleefeld wonders if this might "be a sign that maybe Palin might not run after all, and a similar politician is looking at just such a contingency."
  • 'Conservatives 4 Palin' Not Enthusiastic  The blog's Ian Lazaran writes, "I think most of us like Michele Bachmann a lot but it's tough to see a good reason for why she would run for the presidency. The only thing her candidacy would accomplish would be potentially splitting votes with Governor Palin and it’s extremely doubtful that she would be able to take enough votes for it to make a difference."
  • Reminder: She Says Batty Stuff  New York Magazine's Dan Amira runs down the highlights:
You may know her as the woman who warned that filling out the Census could get you thrown in an internment camp, or who claimed that homosexuality is a 'dysfunction' and that gay people are 'specifically targeting our children,' or who accused President Obama of turning America into a 'nation of slaves,' or who called on the media to investigate which congressmen were 'anti-America.' Not surprisingly, given the aforementioned career highlights, she's also a revered figure among tea partiers.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.