Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Joanne Bamberger Headshot

Michele Bachmann: Upping the Political Motherhood Paradigm

Posted: Updated:
BACHMANNCART

If you thought Michele Bachmann was a conservative mom political superstar before the last GOP debate, then you're probably standing in line to get her autograph this week as she officially announces her 2012 presidential bid, as well as her special beauty secrets of how she still looks so young and fresh after 28 kids. I certainly don't look that put together on most days and I only have one child!

I'm no fan of Bachmann's political views or the fact that even though she's a lawyer, her understanding of the Constitution leaves a little something to be desired. But I have to hand it to her -- she pretty much hit it out of the ballpark with her debate performance alongside all those GOP guys.

Bachmann was prepared, poised and made sure her answers incorporated two things that are crucial to her campaign -- her Congressional experience and her motherhood. Plus, she lucked out that she didn't have any camera malfunctions or have to answer any questions about geography.

I have no doubt that she's going to use the mom thing to her advantage wherever she can, because it worked pretty well for Sarah Palin when she was trying to whip GOP women into a political frenzy. Being a mom isn't a political qualification, but it is a lens through which more issues should be viewed on the political stage (did I mention I just wrote a book about that that's for sale now?) And now that this high profile political mom is officially a GOP presidential candidate, she's making sure to mention her five biological children and 23 foster children as much as she can so no one forgets her work/life balance story. (Sarah, I'm afraid her 28 trump your five on that front).

As Bachmann enters the 2012 presidential race, I have to wonder, though, if she'll be able to maintain her cool, steely exterior once the sexists attack her resume. They're bound to come from all sides. Remember when former Republican Senator Arlen Specter told her she should be more ladylike as she was trying to discuss tax policy with him? Or when MSNBC's Chris Matthews called her a "balloon head?" I'm sure the 'she's a mom so she can't run for high political office' train will be pulling into the station any time now.

While having to watch Bachmann move into the White House is pretty unlikely, what would we get with a President Bachmann? Taking a look back at her speech earlier this year at CPAC, she's not just going with the usual Republican agenda -- she wants to see extreme conservatism in America. At the time that I covered the speech for Politics Daily, I wrote:

In an emotional moment, Bachmann told the crowd that her mission to turn the country into a more conservative one is something she thinks about from the moment she awakes in the morning until she goes to bed at night. And I believed her, as she declared that America is an "indispensable nation" fighting against socialism and "egregious moral wrongs."

So watch out, Sarah Palin. Michele Bachmann is honing in on your mama grizzly territory, as well as your conservative themes, and she doesn't care if your vanity movie is opening in Iowa this week or that you're the one who blazed a trail for uber-conservative women in the Republican Party. She's found that path and I think she's paving it for her own personal clear sailing. She's working on it 24/7.

Will Bachmann become president? Probably not, though current numbers have her polling neck and neck with rival Mitt Romney. Will she become the GOP candidate? Not so long ago, I would have said no, but as none of the Republican men-folk seem to be sparking any Barack Obama-like devotion, she may stand a chance. No matter what, will she shake up the GOP and show them that even for Republicans, things just aren't the same as they used to be? You betcha'.

Joanne Bamberger is the author of the just-released book, Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Joanne is the founder of the political site, PunditMom, and will soon launch The Broad Side, a website to feature women's political commentary from around the web.