Every four years, many people decide to run for president. You don't hear about most of them, because the news media decide, and reasonably so, to ignore folks like the immortal Charles Doty. Even among those who have held major political office, however, some are deemed serious and some are not. For instance, Buddy Roemer — a former member of Congress and governor of Louisiana — is considered not serious, as is Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Both are running for the Republican nomination, but neither gets invited to debates or has journalists reporting on their campaigns. Yet Michele Bachmann is considered one of the "real" candidates, even as she languishes in the mid-single-digits in polls.
Of course she won't be president, but I think it's worth pointing out that someone like Bachmann can still be treated as a real candidate. Since we've almost gotten used to her, at times one has to step back and marvel at just how incredibly nutty this person is, and the fact that she is not standing on a streetcorner wearing a tinfoil hat and sandwich board but actually has people come to listen to what she has to say. Here's what she told some folks at a town hall, speaking about another town hall she had held:
"One man stood up, he was over 7-feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said, 'I had a little lady in my office and because of Obamacare, I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her.'"
Repealing the Affordable Care Act is one of the centerpieces of Bachmann's campaign, yet the idea that she would have even the barest clue about what the ACA does and doesn't do is so ridiculous we don't even bother to expect it. When a presidential candidate gets up and tell an audience that a gigantic doctor told her that he has to call the IRS to get permission to treat patients —something no doctor has ever had to do, and no doctor will ever have to do, ACA or not—what is the appropriate response? The appropriate response is for the national press corps to say, "This person has officially gone nuts. We will therefore not waste any more of our audience's time on her." Or maybe, "We're going to take this opportunity to explain exactly why this candidate is a liar and a fool, so you will understand exactly why we won't be wasting any more of your time on her."
It would literally be only a bit more fanciful if Bachmann had said, "The other day I was at a town hall, and a space alien from the planet Gorgrax was there, and he said that because of Obamacare, Gorgraxian medical robots are going to need to travel through an intergalactic wormhole and get permission from Washington bureaucrats before they can treat patients with Flurznoop Syndrome! Is that what we want for America?"
And Republicans wonder why Americans have trouble seeing them as a responsible ruling party.