What a different election cycle this is going to be.

This news item about GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann percolated to the top tier over the past 24 hours, and I glanced over it, ready to move on to other stories I really wanted to cover. But then I noticed some remarks toward the end…

Her fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty went after Bachmann hard on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, saying the congresswoman’s record of accomplishment was “nonexistent.”

Pawlenty bashed Bachmann again Monday on Fox News, saying that being president was more than “just giving speeches at rallies” — a clear shot at Bachmann’s ability to play to conservative crowds.

Now this is getting interesting. Here’s a thought exercise:

In the Atlantic, writer Conor Friedersdorf says Pawlenty is right.

“In many ways, Bachmann is exceptionally qualified to run a good campaign. She is telegenic, charismatic, manages to be quick-witted at times, is wily in her attacks and counterattacks, raises a lot of money, and has mastered the dog-whistle. She rose to prominence by adeptly leveraging media appearances. That she did so despite having accomplished nothing of significance in public life is impressive,” he writes. “But it doesn’t make her qualified to be president. She is manifestly unqualified to be president, as Republicans would quickly point out were someone with her resume running as a Democrat.”

Um….remember the 2008 campaign? Quite frankly, one can plug in the pronoun ‘he’ for ‘she’ in the above paragraph and it just happens to apply, explicitly, to the candidate Barack Obama at that time. In all honesty. Which must have struck a chord…

Friedersdorf goes on to note that he believes that Bachmann’s supporters, who, he says, claimed a few years ago that then-Sen. Barack Obama was too inexperienced to be president, are being hypocritical.

“Is the partisan mind so powerful that they’re now prepared to elevate someone based on the strength of her TV interviews and floor speeches?” he asks.

Seriously? Is the partisan mind so powerful that they’re now prepared to put down and demean someone based on ‘only’ the strength of her TV interviews and floor speeches?! I have no particular opinion of Bachmann at this point, but…really?! This is remarkable. What an exercise in critical thinking.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....