Michele Bachmann has risen to the #2 in the Republican presidential field, behind Mitt Romney. Can she actually win the nomination? Yes, particularly if it comes down to a one-on-one against Romney and she manages to secure both Tea Party and "social conservative support" from the grassroots base.
But the question is how she gets there.
While she's certainly crazy, in terms of advocating extremist positions on a wide variety of issues and advancing ridiculous conspiracy theories, the only way she can defeat Romney and whoever else might challenge seriously for the nomination (e.g., Rick Perry, who would eat into her support from social conservatives) is to appear to be not crazy, or at least much less crazy than she really is. This is why she's recently been in walk-back mode, distancing herself from her own views and assertions in order to present herself as a viable presidential possibility, that is, as sane.
But she can only walk back so much. She's still a Tea Party darling and, lest we forget, a rampaging social conservative, and while she needs to appear to be less crazy she also needs to continues to stress her right-wing bona fides in order not to lose her core support, particularly if someone like Perry gets in the race. And, of course, she is what she is. It's as simple as that. She can't run away from herself altogether.
And stress her bona fides she did:
Michele Bachmann became the first presidential candidate to sign a pledge, vowing to support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage between a man and a woman, and which calls for a ban on all pornography.
"The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family," sponsored by the Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative organization, equates same-sex marriage with bigamy and polygamy and calls on candidates to promise to be faithful to their spouses.
Etc., etc. In other words, right-wing evangelical theocracy, just the sort of thing you'd expect from her, along with her anti-government Tea Party views. There is undeniable inconsistency here, of course. How is it possible to combine theocracy with the sort of libertarianism that prevails among Teabaggers? Well, it doesn't matter, and it needn't make all any sense, not as she aggressively courts multiple Republican constituencies. She can talk about small government and the Tenth Amendment while also pushing for an activist, bigoted government regulating morality, a government that leaves our money alone while closely monitoring what we do in our bedrooms or in front of our computers or televisions. Maybe that makes some sort of distorted sense way out on the right. It probably does. Republicans are full of inconsistencies. Bachmann is hardly alone there.
But how would this sort of thing play out in a general election. Not well. While Bachmann may win much of the extremist GOP base, there's no way independents or even many establishment-minded Republicans would ever support her, and this ridiculous pledge just makes matters worse for her in that regard. Which is why she'll need to keep walking back and walking back so much of what she has stood for in the past. Who knows, she might even have to walk this back in the not-so-distant future. Anti-gay bigotry plays well in the GOP, after all, but are Americans really prepared to give up their porn?
Oh, by the way, the pledge also states that black children were better off under slavery than they are now:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.
This is appallingly ignorant even by conservative standards.
But Bachmann signed the pledge, so she must believe it. One hopes that the media question her about it and refuse to let her brush it aside.