Michele Bachmann officially kicked off her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa this morning. (I know that Waterloo is where Bachmann was born, but it still strikes me as really bad messaging.) Her speech was nothing special—she didn't want to run for president, but history has called her and blah-blah-blah—but the bar is set pretty low for Bachmann. If she can keep from acting crazy, her poll numbers will rise, which is bad news for Mitt Romney.

And the media is falling right into her trap: On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Bachmann, "Are you a flake?" It's a stupid question, let's say that immediately. Ignoring the fact that Wallace would never ask a male candidate if he was a flake, it's hardly good journalism. Who's going to say yes to that? But because the question was sexist and dumb, the media now celebrates the launch of Bachmann's campaign by defending Michele Bachmann. It works out perfectly for her; why, an unserious observer might even say it appears orchestrated. But that would mean that Fox News had worked in concert with a Republican candidate, and they'd certainly never do that, being all fair and balanced and such.

Kos this morning has practically called the Republican nomination for Bachmann. That feels a little fast to me—I still stand by my prediction that Romney is going to win the nomination—but Bachmann is certainly the one to watch right now, and she could wind up in a solid second place. If the Republican primaries were run like the Democratic primaries, Bachmann would have more of a chance, but I'm thinking the centuries-old Republican money machine is going to intervene and bestow upon Romney his appointed title. (But of course if Romney has some kind of weird, unforeseeable blowout, that would put Bachmann in the lead.)

Anyway: If you want to learn more about Bachmann, I'd like to direct you to Matt Taibbi's recent Rolling Stone piece on her, but you should bear in mind that a lot of that piece was lifted (uncredited, in print) from the Twin Cities City Pages. (It has not been a good week for the media.)