For a while, the Republican presidential nominating contest was between Mitt Romney and a bunch of underperforming candidates. Then Michele Bachmann entered the race, offering a shiny new object for everyone to look at for a couple of weeks. She was charismatic, novel, and extremist enough to appeal to the large portion of the Republican primary electorate for whom there is no such thing as being too conservative. But then a new shiny object popped up, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is also charismatic, novel, and extremist. So Bachmann is sinking, and Perry is on top for the moment.