Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is rising in the GOP presidential polls, and interest in her fervent opposition to same-sex marriage is intensifying. Earlier this month, she signed a conservative group's controversial pledge, vowing to oppose gay marriage, among other things. Last week, ABC News featured undercover footage of therapy to supposedly "cure" homosexuality at the Christian counseling center she owns with her husband. While Bachmann's hardline stance against gay rights has outraged liberals and alienated moderate Republicans, it's endeared her to many conservative Christians. Indeed, even gay conservative group GOProud wants to meet with Bachmann. Will her polarizing views about homosexuality help her in 2012?
Yes. This will galvanize her base: "For every politician and pundit who shuns Bachmann's front for religious proselytizing, and every Republican who looks to distance themselves, there is a handful of powerful and unacknowledged voters that rejoice in it," says Oliver Duggan at Britain's Independent. Last week's ABC News expose actually validated these voters' feelings about homosexuality, and Bachmann's "ultra-conservative, ultra-Christian" base "will coagulate around her as her candidacy is bloodied from all directions" over her views on homosexuality.
"Michele Bachmann and the homophobia vote"
Yes. But only in Iowa: Bachmann's "combination of religion and staunch conservatism on social issues gives her strong appeal for the large blocs of evangelical voters in Iowa," says the International Business Times. But outside of Iowa, she risks alienating moderate voters who place more importance on the economy than they do gay nuptials. While Bachmann's "politics are also deeply intertwined with her Christian faith," she'll be in trouble if she has to spend too much time on the campaign trail defending her stance on gay rights.
"Michele Bachmann's gay rights views take center stage"
No. This is a political liability: By 2012, same-sex marriage will have been allowed in Iowa for three years, and only "the most hardened homophobes and bigots" in the state are likely to really care about it, says Bridgette P. LaVictoire at Lez Get Real. Still, even if Bachmann's views do help her win in Iowa, any advantage they give her will come to an abrupt end in the first-in-the-nation primary in more moderate New Hampshire. And things will only get tougher as the GOP primary season extends to other states. It's delusional to think "that opposition to marriage equality is, somehow, going to play well with the American audience."
"Self-deluding right think anti-gay will help Bachmann win"