Hey! How about some love for Rep. Michele Bachmann?

A while back TIME magazine listed the 10 top Republican candidates for president without so much as mentioning Bachmann, the madcap Minnesota Republican.

Besides the usual suspects, the magazine named duds like Rep. Mike Pence–who isn’t even running anymore, if he ever was (no one’s ever seen him in the daytime)–and Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who isn’t a household name even in his own home. But no Bachmann.

Shame on Time. (I’m taking away its capital letters in protest.)

Michele Bachmann isn’t merely a legitimate candidate for the Republican nomination–she is the most legitimate. She is the quintessential modern Republican. Call her the 21st Century version of Robert Taft.

Consider her resume:

  • She voted to repeal President Obama’s health care plan, which she always refers to as “ObamaCare.”
  • She voted against the regulatory reforms intended to forestall another financial collapse like we suffered in 2007-08.
  • She supports the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, stating that evolution is merely an unproven theory.
  • She wants to cut off federal funds to Planned Parenthood and has referred to AmeriCorps programs, which direct bright college graduates into teaching and public service, as “re-education camps.”
  • She has indicated a willingness to phase out Social Security and Medicare and has expressed a desire to opt out of the global economy.

She has also regaled supporters with the absurd claim that President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Asia cost $200 million-a-day, and she credited John Quincy Adams with being one of the “founding fathers” who fought against slavery–apparently confusing him with his father. John Adams was the second U.S. president. John Quincy Adams was the sixth.

In short, she is the very embodiment of Republican truth, virtue, and intelligence.

Her professional resume is a little light–she’s been in Congress four years. Before that, she was a tax attorney–but that doesn’t seem to matter much these days.

She has not yet declared her candidacy (unless you count saying “I’m in, I’m in” to a crowd in Iowa), but it seems only a matter of time. She has Big Mo, if not Time, on her side.

If I were one of her advisers, I’d suggest this bumper sticker: “More conservative than Mitt Romney, better looking than Newt Gingrich.” I think it would be a winner.

I know I’m not supposed to say that. Nice columnists are not supposed to take note of the appearance of female candidates. It’s sexist. But there’s no denying that Sarah Palin’s good looks are an important part of her appeal. And good looks help men win campaigns too—why do you think John Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in 1960?

I’m not counting out anyboody yet for the Republican nomination. Why, just the other day a governor of New Mexico (which they tell me is an actual state) walked into the contest, and Donald Trump keeps showing up on TV in his clown suit.

But neither would I count out Bachmann. Republican primary voters like weird, and when it comes to weird, she tops the list.

Particularly if you don’t count Trump.

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.otherwords.org

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