Image via Wikimedia Commons/(CC) Gage Skidmore

It was really just a matter of time until Michele Bachmann’s presidential race was over.  I had a sense that things were close when her children showed up with her on interviews right before the Iowa Caucuses.  When a candidate starts appearing with their extended family mid-campaign, it’s almost never a good sign.  Remember what happened when we started seeing Hillary Clinton’s mom and daughter Chelsea at election rallies in 2008?

Bachmann finished next to last in the Iowa Republican Caucuses last night.  And even though she said she was going to stay in the race for the South Carolina primary, no one was really surprised on the morning after that she announced she was dropping out.

Iowa-born Bachmann kicked butt in the Iowa Straw Poll last summer, coming in first ahead of all the men candidates.  But that was the high point of her campaign, even though many people thought those conservative “mama grizzlies” left over from Sarah Palin’s heydey would turn out for her.  But when the Congresswoman from Minnesota only ended up with a sixth-place finish and just five percent of the vote, barely ahead of Jon Huntsman who didn’t even campaign in the state, it was clear that her presidential dreams were at an end.

Whether you’re a fan of Bachmann or not, it’s hard to see the last woman in the race go.  One has to wonder whether Bachmann’s withdrawal from the campaign will cause women voters to feel less invested in the 2012 race now that the remaining events and debates will feature only men in suits.

Odds are that Bachmann knew the writing was on the wall for some time – she lost her advisor and political kingmaker Ed Rollins back in September, and then just after Christmas her Iowa Chairman defected for the Ron Paul campaign.  As the woman who created the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, when she didn’t convince Iowa tea partiers that she could win a race against President Obama there really was nowhere for her to go.  And one Iowa mom who caucused says ultimately Bachmann contributed to her own undoing because she was reluctant to take questions at campaign events and had little to say on the agricultural issues important to so many Iowans.

Bachmann spent most of her farewell speech waxing lyrical about the Founding Fathers, but she made sure to get in some jabs against President Obama and what she called his “socialist” ideas, saying that she would continue working to help repeal the Affordable Care Act, which she proclaimed had been the impetus for her to run for president.

So what’s next for the “Iron Lady” with the “titanium spine?”  Has anyone noticed she’s been going after the other Republican candidates except for Mitt Romney?  Don’t be surprised if you see her step up some lobbying efforts for some Romney/Bachmann 2012 bumper stickers.

A version of this was originally posted at iVillage, where I’ll be heading up their 2012 election coverage.