One of the arguments for skepticism of the Michelle Bachmann campaign is that the party establishment opposes her. That isn't totally wrong, but I don't think that frames the issue quite right, either. It certainly doesn't help Bachmann if Washington Republicans fervently hope for her defeat in the primaries. But if that worrying is confined to quiet hand-wringing, that doesn't doom her. What matters is the message conveyed to Republican voters. Do the news outlets they trust portray Bachmann as a plausible nominee or as a dangerously unqualified sure loser?
Right now, we don't know. Bachmann has enjoyed laudatory cover stories in National Review and the Weekly Standard. Rush Limbaugh has fiercely defended her against establishment criticism. Even George Will is edging away from his previous dismissal of her.
But of course, the biggest player here is Fox News. It's noteworthy to see Brit Hume portray Bachmann as unelectable:
More commentary like this would hurt Bachmann. But I don't take it for granted that such a systematic messaging campaign will develop.