If you thought Michele Bachmann was a conservative mom political superstar before the last GOP debate, then you're probably standing in line to get her autograph this week as she officially announces her 2012 presidential bid, as well as her special beauty secrets of how she still looks so young and fresh after 28 kids. I certainly don't look that put together on most days and I only have one child!
I'm no fan of Bachmann's political views or the fact that even though she's a lawyer, her understanding of the Constitution leaves a little something to be desired. But I have to hand it to her -- she pretty much hit it out of the ballpark with her debate performance alongside all those GOP guys.
Bachmann was prepared, poised and made sure her answers incorporated two things that are crucial to her campaign -- her Congressional experience and her motherhood. Plus, she lucked out that she didn't have any camera malfunctions or have to answer any questions about geography. I have no doubt that she's going to use the mom thing to her advantage wherever she can, because it worked pretty well for Sarah Palin when she was trying to whip GOP women into a political frenzy.
As Bachmann enters the 2012 presidential race, I have to wonder, though, if she'll be able to maintain her cool, steely exterior once the sexist attacks on her resume? They're bound to come from all sides. Remember when former Republican Senator Arlen Specter told her she should be more ladylike as she was trying to discuss tax policy with him? Or when MSNBC's Chris Matthews called her a "balloon head?" I'm sure the 'she's a mom so she can't run for high political office' train will be pulling into the station any time now.
While having to watch Bachmann move into the White House is pretty unlikely, what would we get with a President Bachmann? Taking a look back at her speech earlier this year at CPAC, she's not just going with the usual Republican agenda -- she wants to see extreme conservatism in America. At the time that I covered the speech for Politics Daily, I wote:
In an emotional moment, Bachmann told the crowd that her mission to turn the country into a more conservative one is something she thinks about from the moment she awakes in the morning until she goes to bed at night. And I believed her, as she declared that America is an "indispensable nation" fighting against socialism and "egregious moral wrongs."
So watch out, Sarah Palin. Bachmann is horning in on your mama grizzly territory, as well as your conservative themes, and she doesn't care if your vanity movie is opening in Iowa this week or that you're the one who blazed a trail for uber-conservative women in the Republican Party. She's found that path and I think she's paving for her own personal clear sailing, and she's working on it 24/7.
Will Bachmann become president? Probably not, though current numbers have her polling neck and neck with rival Mitt Romney. Will she become the GOP candidate? Not so long ago, I would have said no, but as none of the Republican men-folk seem to be sparking any Barack Obama-like devotion, she may stand a chance. No matter what, will she shake up the GOP and show them that even for Republicans, things just aren't the same as they used to be? You betcha'.
When she's not hanging out here with her fellow MOMocrats, you can find more of Joanne's political commentary at her place, PunditMom. You can also now buy her book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.