Michele Bachmann had to know the Republican Party wouldn't nominate her to be President of the United States. She's a woman. That's all she needed to know.
The Republican Party is looking for another Ronald Reagan, with broad shoulders, thick dark hair, and an adoring woman on his formally-dressed arm. They are still trying to get his image carved into stone at Mount Rushmore. They still want his image struck into metal on our coins. Today's Republicans are in love with the image of Reagan, and they will nominate the candidate who does the best job of impersonating him.
Prove it for yourself. Find an old photo of Ron and petite Nancy walking into a state dinner. Black out their faces with a marker. Look at the photo of the tuxedo and red dress and ask yourself which of the people in the picture today's Republicans would nominate for President, even knowing, as they do now, that while Ron had Alzheimer's, Nancy was calling the shots.
Want more proof? Take a look at a photo of the eight Republican candidates who were on stage at the debate (which was held at the Reagan library). Pick the two with the broadest shoulders and most rugged features and you will find a guy from the manly state of Texas and another from the original Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Bachmann got as far as she did by running as a conservative Christian who believes that women should submit to their husbands. She ran as a leader of the Tea Party, which has had absolutely nothing to say about women's rights, because all they want to talk about is money. She could hardly be surprised that Ed Rollins, who ran Ronald Reagan's political operation, would abandon her on the eve of an important debate because he thought the contest had narrowed down to Romney vs. Perry.
It was useful to have Michele in the race, so that Republicans who want to eliminate women's rights to have abortions could claim that they were not against women. It was handy to have Michele take up space in the news that might otherwise have gone to Sarah Palin, who is seen by Republican regular power brokers as a dangerous maverick and by many more as just a kook.
But alas, today's Republican voters, like beauty contest judges, and like today's Democrats, have a hard time looking deeper than the appearance of their candidates. Which is why the people who really control the Republican party have to make sure they give the voters a candidate who looks the part they will be called upon to play, but who is also at his core philosophically aligned with their plutocratic vision and entirely controllable. The Republican voters may have a woman candidate for Vice-President, but in 2012 they are not likely to get a woman as a presidential candidate. That job will go to a man. A tall, white, muscular, virile-looking, tough-talking, man. With nice teeth.