Ryan Lizza’s profile of Bachmann is designed to produce guffaws from the New Yorker’s readership, but I was impressed by the discipline and focus of Bachmann’s campaign. They know that the public cares more about the economy and government spending than which Founder fought how hard against slavery, and that most of the people who wanted to continue the argument didn’t wish her well. Bachmann also showed class by refusing to engage with Tina Brown’s attempt to turn Newsweek into the Keith Olbermann of glossy newsweeklies. She isn’t running to sell books or earn valuable victim points. She is running to win votes for the office of President of the United States.
I don’t think she should be President (she is at best my fourth choice among Republicans either running or looking likely to run), but critics like Lizza are doing more to scarify upper middle-class liberals than undermine or even explain Bachmann’s appeal. That means spending less time on what she did or didn’t do at Oral Roberts University and more time looking at the combination of rhetorical vagueness and rhetorical radicalism that characterizes some of her comments on economic issues.