Opening Act: The Perfect Candidate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 7 2012 8:27 AM

Opening Act: The Perfect Candidate

I think it was a function of yesterday's news drought that this Michele Bachmann comment got so far around.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

HUNT: You are remaining above the fray. But you sat in, in almost a dozen debates with these people. You have a feel for them. Let me ask you this. Who is the more conservative of these four candidates left?
BACHMANN: I was. I was the perfect candidate.
HUNT: Right, so who’s the second -
BACHMANN: When I - when I went out there, and so, you know -
HUNT: Who’s the second most conservative?
BACHMANN: America had their chance with the perfect candidate.
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But why is this so "crazy"? It would be strange if Bachmann ran thinking she was missing some of the qualities that a president needs. And she isn't wrong: The 2012 Republican field was flawed! The standard-bearer of the Tea Party movement will either be Newt Gingrich, who was ousted by a conservative revolt, or Rick Santorum, a classic compassionate conservative who justifies his votes for Medicare Part D et al by saying, hey, he favored a Balanced Budget Amendment. Flawed as she was, Bachmann actually was a perfect conservative candidate. And she came in last place in the state where she was born.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.