Fresh off surging Iowa poll numbers, Michele Bachmann is barnstorming across South Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday. She will be in Myrtle Beach Wednesday night and in the critical GOP counties of Lexington and Greenville on Thursday. I received an email from Rich Bolen, the county GOP chair in Lexington with Bachmann’s schedule. It had the odd note: “I realize that Huntsmen and Santorum were here last week but they did not ask me to send out their announcements so I did not. I will be happy to do so in the future for all of the candidates as they arrive as long as they contact me somehow.” It is difficult to imagine why they neglected to ask the GOP chairs to advertise their appearances among party faithful.
Speaking of Jon Huntsman (and one should always be reluctant to waste time by doing so), some former Bush administration officials have criticized Bachmann to me, one calling her “bi-polar,” and that she is difficult to work for. Andrew Card called her a “cheerleader” after the New Hampshire GOP debate. This is dangerous stuff considering the leading role Tea Party women will play in the selection of the next GOP nominee. Dismissing a strong woman as “bi polar” sounds similar to the Southern misogynist complaints that a woman suffered from “the vapors” and passed out in tough situations. Hard to work for? An age old gripe of employees with bosses who expect performance.
Republicans should be very wary about stoking a stereotype that might betray their aversion toward a woman at the helm of the Republican Party. As lesser candidates with Tea Party support fall away, Bachmann is poised to scoop up their supporters. If the race comes down to Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in places like South Carolina, the party will suffer long term harm if Bachmann is wounded by attacks that would not happen to similarly situated men.