Remember that moment in the movie
Scanners right before the dude's head explodes, where he totally
knows he's about to die but he's kind of enjoying it? I'm practicing
that face for next week's Republican Primary Debates in New Hampshire
because, as of today, Michele Bachmann, who is not running for
President but is running to run for President until she's forced to
declare for the Iowa Caucus, is participating.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker Newt Gingrich
(Ga.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) will be there, which will be
their first debate of the 2012 cycle.
Bachmann hasn't officially announced a White House bid, but is expected to do so in Iowa sometime this month.
The debate, hosted by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester, N.H., Union Leader,
will also feature former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, businessman
Herman Cain, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.).
The debate would be Bachmann's first,
and if the field remains stable, will pit her against fellow
Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty, who's campaign has been far more heavily
involved in reality of late, releasing a brand new tax structure and
jobs plan. Mitt Romney will also be in attendance but no significant
material has wafted out of his campaign on the short draft of
hairspray, which seems to be a winning strategy, particularly given
that the news today sees Mitt Romney as the Republicans last, best
hope to defeat a gradually weakening Obama.
Unfortunately, both men are going to
have to survive this first debate, which with Bachmann in attendance
may be less of a discussion of issues and more of a complete history
textbook revision. Bachmann is suffering through a spate of
conflicting polls, which have her hanging on to her House seat either
by a small margin or not at all (possibly because the winning
strategy for House seats - bringing home noticeable money for local
improvements - is not on Bachmann's core agenda as the leader of
the House Tea Party Caucus). She could fare better in a Senate
competition, particularly considering she would be angling for an
open seat, but Senate races can focus more heavily on national issues
than House races, and Bachmann has, thus far, had only minimal
experience in that arena.
Bachmann doesn't seem particularly
naïve about her chances, either. An exploratory Presidential
campaign is a great way to take the national temperature and build a
national profile while commenting on national issues without fully
abandoning state voters who can't help but be influenced by her media
presence. She's getting a lot of free publicity for any lower office
- without, say, having to lead the national media on a chase down
national byways in a bus with her face on the side.
And if all else fails, she can take the
presumptive nominee's place as a Fox News contributor like every
other failed Republican nominee of the last decade. It's a no-lose
Unless you're the hairspray.