Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Chronicle of Michele Bachmann’s 2011-2012 presidential campaign.

Summary: Chris Cillizza, in his Washington Post blog, “The Fix,” writes that Michele Bachmann’s measured response to the controversial photo of her on the cover of Newsweek magazine “affirms a simple but important truth of this campaign: Michele Bachmann is no Sarah Palin.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 10, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Summary: Politico reports that Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s reelection campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early-stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee. However, the Obama campaign would be sorely misguided if it diverted inordinate resources to fending off Romney as Barack Obama’s likely opponent. Despite being the early front-runner in public opinion polls, Romney is unlikely to be the Republican presidential nominee, with the vastly underestimated Michele Bachmann potentially posing the greater reelection threat to Obama in terms of personal charisma. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 9, 2010, Aubrey Immelman appealed to Minnesota voters to support Independent Tom Horner for governor in the August 10, 2010 primary election.

Summary: As the Tea Party continues to reshape the Republican Party, the GOP establishment wonders if the Tea Party movement will power Republicans to new victories in 2012, or dash them on the rocks of unbending ideology. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 6, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that NBC Dateline devoted a full hour to the murder mystery of Chris Jenkins, the University of Minnesota student who went missing in downtown Minneapolis on Halloween night, 2002.

Jul 14th, 2011

Summary: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann (14%), Sarah Palin (12%), and Rick Perry (10%) are collectively running well ahead of Mitt Romney (25%) in the Republican presidential primary. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 14, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that eight American troops were killed in a series of attacks in the Kandahar offensive in southern Afghanistan.

Summary: In a July 9, 2011 Townhall column, Bill O’Reilly opined on former President Bill Clinton’s seemingly glowing assessment of Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann as a “compelling public figure” who comes across as “real,” concluding it was merely “gamesmanship” to diminish Sarah Palin, whose major distinction from Bachmann is “personality.” However, empirical studies indicate that Palin and Bachmann, in fact, have very similar personality types. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 10, 2010, Aubrey Immelman featured Part 4 of “The Rise of the New Right: A Hardball Documentary with Chris Matthews,” titled “Who Runs the Tea Party?”

Jun 9th, 2011

Summary: Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are fighting a proxy war of words fronted by Bachmann presidential campaign manager Ed Rollins and Palin chief of staff Michael Glassner. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 9, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Summary: With former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee bowing out of the 2012 presidential contest as a potential Republican contender, only two remotely viable candidates remain — former Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Much of the rest of the field has been characterized as reminiscent of the “Star Wars” bar scene: “passionate-about-his-country-and-worked-so-hard-that-he-felt-compelled-to-seek-God’s-forgiveness” Newt Gingrich; birther Donald Trump; and conspiracy nut Michele Bachmann, to name a few. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 15, 2010, Aubrey Immelman commented on the opening of Minnesota’s 2010 open-water fishing season.

May 12th, 2011

Summary: NBC’s Chuck Todd writes that if the object of 2012 Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s May 12 health-care speech was “to put the health issue behind him, then the address was an ‘un-Mitt-igated’ failure.” Research conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics under the direction of Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., suggests that Massachusetts’ health law, enacted during Romney’s tenure as governor, may be the least of his problems as he vies for the Republican nomination in a crowded GOP field. In short, Romney lacks the personal charisma to sway non-base voters, as measured by the Personal Electability Index for presidential contenders, developed at the Minnesota-based political psychology research unit. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 12, 2010, Aubrey Immelman announced that Independence Party-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner scheduled a press conference at Stop Light Bait in St. Cloud, ahead of the weekend’s Minnesota’s fishing opener.

Apr 12th, 2011

Summary: In a slow-starting 2012 Republican presidential field that lacks star power, Michele Bachmann is carving out a role as the polarizing Tea Party favorite with a dynamic, take-no-prisoners style. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 12, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. troops opened fire on a bus carrying Afghan civilians, killing five people and setting off anti-American protests in Kandahar, where coalition forces hope to rally the public for a coming offensive against the Taliban.