Michele Bachmann Running
All signs are that Michele Bachmann is running for president. What impact will she have on the race?
Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, a family friend, argues convincingly that Michele Bachmann is primed to be the candidate of the hard right.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite and something of a surrogate for Sarah Palin, is getting ready to jump into the presidential contest. Her advisers put out the word on Monday that a run was “very likely” and a D.C.-based consultant tells Power Play that Bachmann associates have been shopping for services. “This is now beyond speculation. They are doing this,” the consultant said.
While Bachmann is a polarizing figure in the party, her candidacy is quite logical. With Mike Huckabee bowing out of the race, Palin showing no outward signs of launching a campaign and Newt Gingrich seeming to burn up on entry into the race, that leaves former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with an almost unobstructed view of the social conservative voters who dominate Iowa’s caucuses.
Bachmann’s candidacy is also helped by the fact that Donald Trump has renewed his contract with NBC and ended the most successful publicity stunt of his career. His appeal had been based on blunt, pungent attacks on President Obama, stock in trade for Bachmann. Plus, she gets similar attention from establishment media outlets that like to bring her on for bearbaiting sessions and then mock her afterwards.
As Bachmann has expanded her national profile and become more outspoken, her chances for reelection to her congressional seat have somewhat dimmed. Redistricting, a prospective romp by President Obama at the top of the ticket and the aversion to confrontation inherent in Minnesotans leaves Bachmann vulnerable to what would surely be a serious effort by Democrats to unseat her.
With two lanes open and trouble brewing in her home district, there’s no reason for Bachmann not to take a run. Plus, she’s from a state neighboring Iowa and has been a longtime congressional ally of conservative hardliner Rep. Steve King from the key western part of the state. Why not give it a try?
Chris doesn’t handicap Bachmann’s chances of winning the nomination, which I consider infinitesimal. But I think he’s right that she’s more appealing than Santorum, hurting him most. He’s right, too, that she makes things a little harder for fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty, who would otherwise be the regional favorite son in Iowa.
But having her in the race might well be helpful to Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, and other comparatively mainstream Republicans. If they can resist the lure of moving right to compete for her base, which would backfire, she’ll serve as a lightning rod and make them more appealing to general election voters.