For journalists looking for new angles on the campaign trail, Bachmann was a gift that kept on giving, especially during her abbreviated run for president in the 2012 campaign.
For instance, she once stated the HPV vaccine led to mental retardation. Did she have, you know, scientific evidence to back up her claim? Of course not, but that didn’t stop her from boldly charging forward.
Such characters are political gold for reporters stuck covering the button-downed , blow-dried candidates carefully tiptoeing through the issues.
Her outlandish, unproven or otherwise foolish sayings served her Republican colleagues, as well. She was a GOP GPS, a marker on the extreme by which they could define themselves.
Other Republican politicians could lay claim to a conservatism defined by low taxes/light regulation/smaller government that did not follow Bachmann’s lead in calling for official harassment of citizens considered un-American or suggesting the federal government was hampering the drive to cure Alzheimer’s or hinting the IRS would deny health coverage to conservatives.
A politician could subtly suggest he was just this side of the Bachmann scale and communicate deep meaning to the voters. Conservatism is one thing, a flaky loose cannon is another.