Romney, the national front-runner and a familiar face in Iowa after his 2008 presidential run, attracts support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers. Bachmann, who will officially kick off her campaign in Iowa on Monday, nearly matches him, with 22 percent.Iowa Poll: Romney, Bachmann lead Republican pack

Michele Bachmann’s politics are not mine. But hard work doesn’t scare her into quitting Congress for the sake of political opportunism. Sarah Palin even got bored with her bus ride when she quit getting press, deciding instead that attending her movie premiere in Iowa this coming week was her kind of perfect celebrity event. Meanwhile, the reigning queen of Tea Party conservatives is making waves in Iowa in a way that’s challenging the establishment where it counts, through 2012 politics.

Now, I don’t think Bachmann has a chance at winning the nomination, but she is starting this summer on a path to amassing the kind of power to be a player at the Republican convention, maybe even influence who’s vice president, even if Sarah Palin’s implosion example hurts Bachmann’s chances to snag it for herself.

Tim Pawlenty’s hoping for a miracle on that front, too, after an abysmal effort to snag the top spot for himself.

But it seems Republicans are so averse to women in presidential politics that when Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared on Fox News Sunday today Chris Wallace gave her the good old Republican boys’ club treatment. Sam Stein provides the transcript:

“Are you a flake?” he asked.

Bachmann seemed offended by the line of inquiry. “I think that would be insulting to say something like that because I’m a serious person,” she explained. She then went on to tout all the ways in which she was, indeed, serious.

“I’m 55 years old. I’ve been married 33 years,” she said. “I’m not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I’ve worked in serious scholarship “¦ my husband and I have raised five kids, we’ve raised 23 foster children. We’ve applied ourselves to education reform. We started a charter school for at-risk kids. I’ve also been a state senator and member of the United States Congress for five years.”

It took Sarah Palin multiple colleges to land an education she hides, so I’m not quite sure what it would take for a woman to get taken seriously if a “post-doctorate degree in federal tax law” isn’t good enough. Bachmann may be heavy on gaffes, but if that makes her a “flake” then Wallace better ready that question for all the GOP wannabes.

Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace is a member in good standing in the Republicans boys’ club, of which Roger Ailes is the “chairman.” But no one ever posed this type of question to George W. Bush.

After his abysmal bitch-slapping by Jon Stewart, you’d think Wallace would be trying to redeem himself. Instead, today he made a fool of himself while revealing the sexist double-standard that floats for “fair and balanced” at Fox.

…and holy raccoon eyes, did anyone catch the make-up on Kirsten Powers today? Note to Fox femme Dems: take your own make-up artist. They’re out to sabotage you over there.