Every four years, many people decide to run for president. You don't hear about most of them, because the news media decide, and reasonably so, to ignore folks like the immortal Charles Doty. Even among those who have held major political office, however, some are deemed serious and some are not. For instance, Buddy Roemer – a former member of Congress and governor of Louisiana – is considered not serious, as is Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Both are running for the Republican nomination, but neither gets invited to debates or has journalists reporting on their campaigns. Yet Michele Bachmann is considered one of the "real" candidates, even as she languishes in the mid-single-digits in polls.
Of course she won't be president, but I think it's worth pointing out that someone like Bachmann can still be treated as a real candidate. Since we've almost gotten used to her, at times one has to step back and marvel at just how incredibly nutty this person is, and the fact that she is not standing on a streetcorner wearing a tinfoil hat and sandwich board but actually has people come to listen to what she has to say.
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