Why Michele Bachmann Should Go Hard Against Rick Perry

What Women Really Think
Sept. 7 2011 1:25 PM

Bachmann Up Against the Wall

Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images

"Is Michele Bachmann Still a Top-Tier Candidate?” U.S. News & World Report asks, as if she ever truly was, as if a brief perch atop fickle polls this far out from an election counts for much. Last month’s victory at the Ames straw poll, as Amanda ably pointed out, didn’t mean a lot, a fact underscored by Ron Paul’s second-place finish. Bachmann’s heat this summer seemed less a vote of public confidence and more a bubble: the press's love of a counterintuitive storyline expanding in a low-information atmosphere.

So another debate tonight, and instead of earlier ones, in which low expectations were Bachmann’s friend, now the candidate faces another kind of negative assumption -- that’s she’s peaked. Tonight in Simi Valley, Calif., she’ll try to stop a slide that builds momentum with each passing day, exacerbated most recently by the departure of her campaign chief, Ed Rollins, and another top aide.


Politico reports that a source says Bachmann won’t go on the attack unless “someone is going to tell lies about her record,” in which case, “she will tell the truth about theirs.” Which sounds an awful lot like saying's she'll go on the attack. It’s hard to imagine how she doesn’t. As the Washington Post points out, this is her make-or-break moment. And if she goes at Rick Perry, who many credit with stealing her momentum, will he hit her back, risking the charges of sexism that can follow a co-ed debate squabble? Or has she become so diminished that he can simply ignore her?


Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at libbycopeland@gmail.com.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Sometimes Women Do Make Fake Rape Allegations

And we need to treat that as a serious problem.


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.