Rep. Michele Bachmann: How to Tell if You Were Chosen.

I don't know what Phoebe is talking about with her missing-prominent-women post: We had a prominent woman: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann! Wasn't she great? If you're like me, she gave her speech while looking just over your left shoulder, like she's trying to make sure that confused-looking dude in the fourth row feels extra included. (If you were lucky enough to have her looking directly at you, congratulations on making it to the next level.)

Bachmann's speech was an instant Tea Party classic. She threw out a bunch of scary-sounding numbers, she brought up the IRS, and she even had charts illustrating what a bad, bad man President Obama is. To round it off, she tossed around some vague symbols of patriotism, like the statue depicting the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. This is how things get expressed in Tea Party land: vaguely evocative but mostly mediated and devoid of any real context.

I'm of two minds about Bachmann and her forebear, Sarah Palin. They posses none of the toughness I admire in ladies like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, or, more recently, Gabrielle Giffords, and I vehemently disagree with their politics.

I've always imagined a future in which there are so many women running for political office that I'm happily voting against some. And the presence of Bachmann meant there was a woman speaking at SOTU. What's happened, though, is that the ones I would vote for are gone, and the women I'd want to vote against are, well, looking into the wrong camera.

-- Monica Potts

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