The Ames poll is sound and fury signifying nothing.

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 15 2011 11:20 AM

Bachmann Is Still the Long Shot

121152267
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Ames poll victory was great for Michele Bachmann's eventual career as a right-wing figurehead who makes money through direct mail fundraising toward an ambiguous promise of future candidacies that never materialize, a la Newt Gingrich, but I'm unclear why any of the rest of us should give a hoot about it.  The relevance of the straw poll is easy to assess by remembering that Bachmann barely squeaked past Ron Paul, whose entire career is based on being the guy you support because you enjoy feeling too pure for dirty things like victories.  At the end of the day, too-pure-to-win isn't going to get anyone the Republican nomination.  It's fun to preen about how you're a bigger right-wing nut than your neighbors in a straw poll, but when the rubber hits the road, the majority of Republican primary voters are going to want Obama out of office too much to run someone who can't win a national election against him.

I'm as fond of creating an artificial news hook as anyone else, particularly when it comes to election coverage. The summer is winding down, and the election season is winding up, and we all need some kind of official opening ceremony so we can get into election coverage mode.  A little pomp and circumstance can get that done, for sure.  The problem isn't that the Ames poll or the Republican debate happened, and that everyone can get their electoral analysis on.  The problem is that anyone would think it actually means anything at all.  Sports journalists don't breathlessly cover how the mayor throwing the opening pitch at a game will impact the eventual outcome of the game, and political journalists would do well to emulate that level of dignity.  

Advertisement

With that in mind, I'm going to congratulate Michele Bachmann on her meaningless victory, wish her well in her eventual endeavors of mass mailing alarmist letters about Sharia law and the homosexuals taking over to people who will send her checks in the vain hopes she'll stop it all, and start looking forward to the actual primary battle between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.  May the man with the tallest hair win.  

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PM Smash and Grab Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 5:39 PM Whole Foods Desperately Wants Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 5:03 PM Marcel the Shell Is Back and as Endearing as Ever
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.