By Ashley Stainton
A woman in a sea of men, a strong contender, a tea party activist, a devout Christian, a champion for small government and a supporter of the constitution, these attributes all make up the resume of Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. She has proven these past few months that she is a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 election and will not let up.
Who would have known 10 years ago when Bachmann was working as a federal tax litigation attorney that she would one day be drawing crowds in the thousands at the Iowa straw poll, which she would later win.
Bachmann built her resume from the ground up: first serving as a Minnesota state senator and later becoming elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as the first woman representative from her hometown state.
The road to presidential hopeful has not been easy however for this wife, mother of five and foster parent to 23 children. Many have questioned her strong tea party convictions, religious extremism and at times questionable statements.
To get to the heart of Bachmann and whether she truly stands a chance at winning not only her party’s nomination but also the general election, one must look at the foundation on which she built her campaign.
Like many of her fellow Republican nominees Bachmann is a supporter of tax reform, the constitution and limited government. She also opposes, like many fellow GOP leaders, Obamacare and wasteful spending. What is it then that makes her a more electable candidate than her counterparts? What will bring Bachmann into first place among voters rather than in sixth with only 5 percent of voter support, trailing behind frontrunner Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul?
Bachmann’s greatest assets coming into the race and what will set her apart are her devout tea party support, strong evangelical ties and the momentum that has carried her through an Iowa straw poll win. Though with the entrance of Gov. Perry, Bachmann is now challenged with overcoming his new lead and very similar political beliefs that appeal to her same core base.
Sometimes scrutinized for her faith, being called a “religious zealot,” Bachmann has made family values and religion a pivotal part in her campaign and in helping to secure her party’s nomination. She is a champion of pro-life supporters, opposed to gay marriage and in a nutshell the ideal extreme Christian-based candidate.
Some however are not as fond of her far right views. More moderate voters have not taken to her as quickly as the conservative base and this could pose a problem for her potential electability.
Criticized most recently for her comments claiming that God was punishing Americans, she stated:”I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
While some believe that Bachmann’s campaign is a laughing matter and her presidential bid is more of an entertaining and ignorant ploy than a true White House bid, those who support her tout her strong conservative beliefs and stable tie to the party’s evangelical base and tea party supporters.
Over the course of recent debates she has stood her ground, though her supporters have not been increasing as quickly as some of her male counterparts. Bachmann’s first test to prove herself ended with a victory, as she claimed first prize in the Iowa Straw Poll on Aug. 13. She now needs to transition from a carnival-like atmosphere into a true White House bid and find some way to keep her momentum going.