Kossack Jed Lewison thinks it's an unsubstantiated smear by Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller. The story the Caller is running names no sources. The story they're running is that presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is dependent on a host of pills, ostensibly to fight debilitating migraines.

The links are below. Here's my take.

The wording of the piece suggests (to me) that the unnamed sources for the allegations may include former Bachmann press secretary David Dziok or another former staff members. Yes, that's speculation, but that's all we are allowed to do with the Bachmann camp--they simply do not address negative press. (And this piece I'm writing here is not "a report," it's discussion.)

Scenario one: The Caller piece qualifies as a smear, because it ties the language of pills and debilitating migraines to Bachmann's "mood," suggesting she's erratic and thus unqualified to hold office. But--we must weigh the fact of the smear against the fact that--wait for it...

...we must weigh the fact of the smear against the fact that Bachmann is erratic. She's undeniably erratic, she's got a career long history of lying, exaggerating, unapologetic hypocrisy, conspiracy theory allegations. Thus, you can't dismiss this particular smear as another "attack on women in political leadership roles."  At the end of the day, Bachmann's erratic statements, outright denial of established reality (I'm thinking, for example of her televised denial to Alan Colmes that she ever said the things she was televised saying on Chris Matthews' Hardball.) These segregate her particular case from that of other women in politics.

One of the implications of the smear: Bachmann is surrounded by family members with medical and therapy degrees. Her husband's a therapist and counsellor, her son's an M.D., her brother's a psychiatrist. If she's taking something besides over the counter relief for migraines--what is it, and who's providing it to her?

Thus: If the press decides to pursue the story, if more people decide to talk, and the public gets a list of her current and past medications for these migraines or mood problems or whatever they are: this could be the story that stops this candidacy, prevents her from getting on a White House ticket somewhere, and saves us all from the down ticket effect of Bachmann's presence on the ticket. That effect is the impact of a mobilized army of conservative evangelical volunteers, donors, media, and voters on the Senate, Congressional, state and local contests next: brought to the polls by their almost cultic fervor for Michele.

Scenario Two:
It's another Bachmann "mind-fuck." There's an inquiry into the medications she takes for migraine relief, and they turn out to be entirely innocuous. The smear was leaked to the establishment GOP on purpose, so it would backfire, creating tremendous sympathy for Michele not only among the base who accept her as a martyr, but among independent voters she needs to win broad support. If this is the byzantine case, it would qualify as "another" Bachmann mind-fuck because an essential feature of her career had been presenting herself as the victim of conspiracies against her to stop her personal crusade to champion true Christianity and political freedom.

If it's a smear plain and simple ("no truth to the smear-y suggestions of lots of pills, not just Advils and standard treatments for migraines"), then it could be the stupidest thing that Bachmann opponents within the GOP establishment ever pulled. Bachmann has her own national media (the national conservative evangelical media.) If it's revealed as a groundless smear, Bachmann will come out of it smelling like a rose, fast-tracked past the establishment suits for the WH ticket, and the people who own that conservative evangelical media are going to go head-hunting in the GOP establishment.

Jed Lewison's piece on Kos, right now:


Daily Caller piece:


This is the "unintentionally funniest sentence" so far on this story. The author is Alex Pareene of Salon, this is the final sentence in Pareene's critical piece on the Caller story:

"Michele Bachmann is unfit to be president because she's a demented religious nutcase and a far-right extremist. But she seems to have managed her migraines well enough to make it this far."

Uh...okay... interesting commentary about Bachmann's "mind" there, on "her skill at managing migraines with medications" as related to "her demented religious nutcase and far-right extremist mindset," there... How much does a writer at Salon get, to turn out these kinds of perceptions?

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