Is it a last-ditch effort to revive a sagging presidential bid that’s been floundering ever since Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the field and pizza magnate Herman Cain stole the show? A desperate plea for attention seven weeks before the Iowa Caucuses? The surest way to take charge of her campaign message and relay her story to voters on her own terms?
“Biographical books from presidential candidates typically come out early in a campaign, not seven weeks before the Iowa Caucuses,” writes USNews. “But Bachmann, who writes that she was late to the election, feels that it can help to begin her campaign anew in part by explaining what inspired her to run and what in her past gives her the confidence she'll win.”
Early reviews suggest the memoir, which is published by Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Group, paints a picture of a resilient Midwestern IRS tax attorney-turned-politician who was spiritually called to bring her conservative values to America’s highest office.
“As Proverbs tell us, we can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer,” Bachmann writes. “Some politicos, of course, said that it was too late for me to announce, that other candidates had been running for months, even years, and were too far ahead in organization and fund-raising. Then I sensed an answer. I knew what I was being directed to do.”
According to reviews, the “Core of Conviction” relays new stories about Bachmann with warmth and sincerity, a rare surprise in the genre we once called “god-awful, ghostwritten, self-aggrandizing publicity contraptions masquerading as books.”
For example, it reveals the impact of her parents' divorce when Bachmann was in ninth grade. To make ends meet, she helped her mother by working extra jobs.
“I took every babysitting job I could get, because by ninth grade, I was growing conscious of my appearance,” she writes. “…If I wanted pretty dresses, I had to buy them, because mom couldn't afford them for me; she couldn't afford lunch money.”
She also shared details about a “devastating” miscarriage she had decades ago that took an emotional toll on the young Bachmann and shaped her anti-abortion convictions. In the book, she says she was distraught for weeks over losing the three-month-old fetus. “We were completely unprepared for this news, it was devastating,” she writes.
Of course, Bachmann spends plenty of time on politics, starting with how her own political convictions were formed. “It was in the perilous fires of the Carter administration that my ideology was forged,” she writes, taking a Republican-pleasing swipe at President Jimmy Carter followed with even more Republican-pleasing praise for President Ronald Reagan. “In the seventies, Carter taught me what I was against, and then in the eighties, Reagan taught me what I was for,” Bachmann writes. (She mentions Reagan by name 37 times in the book, reports Politico, compared with 49 for President Barack Obama, topped only with “Obamacare,” which received 51 mentions.)
Perhaps most of all, the book explains why Bachmann is running. She accuses Obama’s “gangster government” of ignoring public opinion and the Constitution and says she plans to build a coalition of soccer moms, Hispanics, blacks, and Asians to win in the primaries, as USNews reports.
She pledges to champion a fiscally- and socially-conservative agenda and to stay true to her Tea Party roots.
"I will drive a freedom and prosperity train from all parts of the nation to Washington," she declares.
With this book, she’s hoping you heard her honk.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.