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On Iowa Caucus Day, Bachmann's gender appeal


Today in Bachmannia: Though she says otherwise, Our Favorite Congresswoman may be enjoying her final day on the campaign trail. One telling sign of her, uh, limited appeal has been the lack of an endorsement from her buddy, Iowa Congressman Steve King. But, says Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register: “The popular, conservative representative from western Iowa has repeatedly declined to endorse his colleague from Minnesota — or any other candidate — but has stood by her twice now in the final days of the caucus race. On this morning, they held a joint press conference outside Valley High School, where Bachmann signed King’s ‘Repeal ObamaCare’ pledge, a massive poster written all-over with signatures from voters across the state.”

At Slate, Jessica Grouse doubts Our Gal reminding voters that she is … a gal … will do that much for her: “Using her gender at all is a major strategy shift for Bachmann, who deliberately dodged any questions of sexism until the past week or so. She basically refused to comment on the allegedly sexist Newsweek cover depicting her as a wild-eyed "Queen of Rage" that ran over the summer. When Jimmy Fallon's house band furtively called Bachmann a bitch, she didn't call it sexist — she called it liberal media bias. It's a strange move for Bachmann to be making with her campaign essentially dead in the water. It's certainly not a move that's going to endear her to Iowa's conservative Republican base, and it's not a strategy that helped her ideological opposite Hillary Clinton, either. The most successful conservative women lately dodge the gender question entirely, a la South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley who avoids talk of barrier breaking with either her gender or her race. I guess at this point Bachmann's just throwing anything against the wall and seeing if it will stick.” After the past year, those walls have quite a few layers of stuff sticking to them.

Christina Wilkie of the Huffington Post blogs about the appearance of a few of the Bachmann kids on the campaign trail today: “On Tuesday morning, Lucas, Harrison, Elisa and Caroline Bachmann all participated in an interview with their parents on CNN. Until now, Bachmann's children have been largely absent from the campaign trail. Elisa Bachmann said on camera that if more people knew how ‘normal’ her mother is, ‘maybe they would change their view on her.’ Reporters were also surprised to see Marcus Bachmann, whom media outlets noted in December was far less visible on the campaign trail this winter than he had been this summer and fall. As far as families on the campaign trail are concerned, Bachmann is late to the party. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have all conducted multiple campaign appearances with their children, and Romney's sons have even filled in for the former Massachusetts governor at fundraisers and rallies.”

MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar reports from Iowa: “The Minnesota congresswoman said ‘it's anyone's guess’ who will come out on top. Polls are showing that even caucus goers who have committed to a candidate say they could change their mind. Bachmann says she has a lot of support from voters ages 18-29. ‘They're beyond the issue of gender, they're beyond the issue of race. They look at the candidate,’ she told MPR's Morning Edition. Bachmann says she expects many caucus goers will make their decisions on the spot. She said she's putting her hopes into the people who have told her they will stand up and speak for her at the caucus. ‘People will say 'gee, I didn't know that about Michele. I didn't know she was a tax lawyer. I didn't know that she started a successful company. I didn't know she raised 23 foster kids. I didn't know that she sits on the intelligence committee, [that] of all the candidates in the race she's the only one with national security experience,’ Bachmann said.”

The North Dakota oil boom gets another look, this time from MPR’s Dan Gunderson: “North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness did not anticipate the level of spending by oil companies. ‘The investment we have seen over the past 18 months has just completely been staggering,’ Ness said. Ness said that investment includes $3 billion in natural gas pipelines, $1 billion in oil pipelines, and more than $1 billion a month drilling new oil wells. About 200 rigs are drilling new oil wells in North Dakota. The state is producing 500,000 barrels of oil a day. This year, North Dakota will likely move into second place among oil-producing states, behind Texas.Rapid growth in oil drilling brought calls for stronger regulation of the industry. This year the state of North Dakota plans to implement about two dozen new regulations which Ness said will cost the oil industry $400 million a year.”

Here’s a highly transferable skill. Richard Chin of the PiPress writes: “The new year arrived with Levi LaVallee still in one piece and holder of a new world's record. The Longville, Minn., snowmobile racer and stunt rider soared 412 feet in the air on a snowmobile that flew off a ramp and over a channel of water in the San Diego harbor on New Year's Eve. LaVallee's feat makes him the first person to jump more than 400 feet on either a dirt bike or a snowmobile. The jump, part of the ‘2011 Red Bull. New Year. Not Limits’ event, broke LaVallee's previous record of 361 feet set in a practice jump in December 2010. That was just before LaVallee crashed on another practice jump that left him with a cracked pelvis, broken ribs, collapsed lungs and three fractured vertebrae.”

Eagan may add its name to the list of cities offering domestic partner registries. Says Jessica Fleming at the PiPress: “The voluntary registry would allow unmarried, committed couples, including same-sex partners, to document their relationship with the city. The city would be the 17th in the state to institute such a registry, which advocates say helps partners acquire benefits like family memberships to gyms, greater access to community services and, in some cases, health insurance and other benefits from employers. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and a smattering of suburbs currently allow domestic partners to register.”

Post Amy Koch, the GOP Senate is putting its new team together. Says Baird Helgeson in the Strib: “Newly-elected Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said Tuesday he has finalized his leadership team. The Rochester Republican selected Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, to serve as deputy majority leader and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, to serve as an assistant majority leader.”

The state Court of Appeals has decided that a doctor can be sued for not diagnosing cancer in a child. Abby Simons of the Strib reports: “A Minnesota doctor who failed to diagnose a potentially fatal cancer in an infant while it was still treatable may be sued for malpractice, the state Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The unanimous opinion reverses a Kandiyohi County judge's earlier order, which tossed out the lawsuit filed by Kayla and Joseph Dickhoff against Dr. Rachel Tollefsrud at Family Practice Medical Center of Willmar because it was a ‘reduced-chance’ medical malpractice claim, which is not recognized in Minnesota. The appeals court disagreed, reasoning that the child would have been more likely to survive if not for the doctor's negligence. The case will now return to Kandiyohi County District Court.”

Vikings fans — who aren’t ashamed to admit it — will be intrigued with the news that the team has an actual general manager for the first time in the Zygi Wilf era. At ESPN, Kevin Seifert writes: “The significance of the Vikings' announcement on [Rick] Spielman rests in the details. Namely: Does Spielman truly have ultimate authority over all football-related aspects in the organization? Or is this just bureaucratic window dressing? Spielman has spent nearly five years as the Vikings' vice president of player personnel, part of a three-man leadership committee we've sometimes referred to as the ‘Triangle of Authority.’ Spielman ran the personnel department and had final say over the draft. The coach — Brad Childress and later Leslie Frazier — presided over on-field operations. Rob Brzezinski, the longtime vice president of football operations, negotiated contracts and managed the salary cap. All three corners of the Triangle reported directly to owner Zygi Wilf, meaning big-picture and long-term decisions were required to be made as a group. The checks-and-balance theory sounds good in principle but doesn't always work in practice. In football franchises stocked with Type A personalities, it helps to know who is in charge. During Wilf's ownership tenure, that basic question has always been unanswerable. The title change implies that Spielman is now in charge, and the Vikings issued a press release that seems to confirm it.”

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Comments (3)

Brian, I'm a little confused and wonder if I might get some guidance.

According to MinnPost's new civility policy:

"In our experience, they are almost always used to dismiss, denigrate or taunt others. So, we’re saying farewell to the likes of “Bri,” “Swiftee,” “Ronnie Raygun,”
“ALGORE” and others that regularly show up."

But "Our Gal" is OK for a candidate for US President?

Or, is it that MinnPost staff are exempt from the rules?

Don't get me wrong, the editors can set whatever policies they want, and enforce them, or not, at their discretion. It's just that I had a comment sent to binary heaven today for reasons I can't figure out and I'd like a fighting chance to make everyone happy...'cause I'm a happiness maker.

With that out of the way, I'd like to extend congratulations on the discovery by the left that conservatives eschew judging candidates by gender, and would like to point out that we don't do it by race either...either you're qualified, or you're not.

So you're right; playing the gender card isn't going to work for Rep. Bachmann.

"Polls are showing that even caucus goers who have committed to a candidate say they could change their mind."

Uh… that's a contradiction of logic. The definition of 'committed' is that you have made your choice and that you aren't going to change your mind. So it's impossible for caucus-goers to be 'committed' but still able to change their mind.

I'm surprised you didn't catch that obvious flaw, Brian.

“…conservatives eschew judging candidates by gender, and would like to point out that we don't do it by race either...either you're qualified, or you're not.”

Sigh. If only that were the case… Mr. Swift may not have noticed, but it’s a mighty pale and male crew running the U.S.S. Republican, a lone pizza-maker notwithstanding, and the ethical record of those up on the bridge is not the sort of thing to show proudly to one’s mother.

As for the use of “Our Gal,” I always thought of it as both a combination of minor snark – far less than the usual comment from Mr. Swift, but point taken – and cheerleading for the local politico in the national race, despite Mrs. Bachmann’s laughable claim on the campaign trail that she’s “…not a politician.” My own view is that she’s getting the level of respect she merits. Her children and husband love her, and are willing to work on her behalf, which is all to the good, but it appears that many people in Iowa do not think Mrs. Bachmann is worthy of reverence.

Instead, they appear – at the moment – to be leaning toward Mr. Santorum, a choice that’s equally perverse…