The long knives already out for Bachmann
I was listening to CNN on my car’s satellite radio yesterday afternoon (during an ad break on Fox News) and caught Wolf Blitzer along with a couple of the DNC’s other useful idiots talking about Congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. Were they talking about policy? Nope. Politics? Nope. They were talking about the two or three “gaffes” she’s made, such as thinking that Lexington and Concord were in New Hampshire, and stating that John Wayne lived in Waterloo, Iowa, when he lived in another “W” town.
The left’s strategy regarding Bachmann is already clear: act as if she’s not a serious candidate, indeed not a serious person.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace didn’t help matters on Sunday when he asked Rep. Bachmann if she is a flake. Bachmann gave an aggressive response. Wallace apologized, as he should have, but when even the closest thing conservatives have to an ally in the media (Fox, not Wallace) is posing such questions, the candidate has a real problem.
Bachmann is a charismatic speaker, a good “retail politician", though her persona somehow doesn’t reflect what I believe is her true brain power. And her gaffes don’t help, but she’s absolutely right that media bias is causing the focus on her errors in a way which Joe Biden, for example, routinely escapes.
I’ve met Michele Bachmann. I like her, though she’s far more conservative on social issues than I am. I still wonder about the “gravitas” and particularly about her inexperience. Yes, I understand that in 2008 the nation elected someone even less experienced than she is. Nevertheless, these are serious times and I don’t yet know whether Bachmann’s self-characterization as a serious person will be accepted by the electorate. It’s already clear that it won’t be by the media.
The other side of the coin: Someone can be very smart in his or her field (tax law in Bachmann’s case) but still be less solid in other areas. While Politifact’s judgments of Bachmann show the site’s somewhat liberal bias, they also show that the congresswoman’s rhetorical record is likely to continue to offer a target-rich environment for her opponents (perhaps Republican as well as Democrat.) And to be clear, it’s not a bogus argument. It’s one thing to make one or two mistakes on either irrelevant or complicated issues, but if she continues to leave a trail of error crumbs to follow, it will be Chris Wallace who ends up looking prescient.
My other question is whether Bachmann can beat Barack Obama. I don’t know. Maybe she can, maybe she can’t. I think Romney is more likely to beat Obama, but can I support a guy who believes in an individual mandate and ethanol subsidies? In 2008 I couldn’t support a RINO, but I don’t think our republic can or should tolerate another four years. Atlas is shrugging and its time to recover our nation from the abyss that is Progressivism.
Is Bachmann ready to lead the way? The jury is still out. My guess is that she’ll never get a fair shake in the media, which will make it that much harder for her to convince the nation that she’s ready for prime time. And it remains unclear to me, separate from any media bias, whether Michele Bachmann is ready to be president.
Finally, I have not been able to verify this, but I and others have been told that Bachmann has been through eight Chiefs of Staff in her 5 1/2 years in Congress. In July, 2010, Politico reported that her fifth chief of staff had quit, so the current number is believable. To be clear, the most recent resignation appears to be in order for the chief of staff to take a campaign position with Bachmann, s0 perhaps seven is a more fair number than eight.
Following the resignation of another chief of staff in 2009, Politico quoted an anonymous Republican (I understand that Politico is probably using any source it can to make Bachmann look bad) who said “When your captain’s crazy, it’s time to find a new ship." If someone can’t even run a congressional office without chaos, can she be expected to manage the Oval Office?
Again, some of this is basically hearsay and might sound like I’m against Bachmann. I’m not, and I don’t want to sound down on Bachmann, but perception is frequently reality in politics. I could imagine voting for her or supporting her in the primary if she could deal with these issues. And even if I couldn’t end up supporting her, I do like the presence of a fiery Tea Party conservative in the race, perhaps forcing Mitt Romney to make statements of policy which are less liberal than what he’s been saying so far.
If no new people enter the race, it’s likely to be basically a two-person fight between Romney and Bachmann for the nomination. If Texas Governor Rick Perry enters the race, that’s very bad news for the Minnesota Congresswoman, but that’s a story for another time.
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