Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Michele Bachmann went out and raised prodigious amounts of money in this past election cycle, despite being a Republican incumbent in a Republican district in a Republican year. Unlike, well, the vast majority of dark-horse candidates for the GOP presidential nomination who are actually taken seriously by the Great Mentioners in the mainstream press (Pawlenty, Barbour, Thune, Huntsman, etc.), she actually has a significant fan base, and some of those fans have been imploring her to run for president for a couple of years now (in 2009, she responded to one such fan with the classic "no intention of running" non-denial denial). And she's allied with the tea party movement, which believes in running longshots, and often gets those longshots elected, or at least nominated.

So why should this be a surprise?

Forget the fervent chatter speculating that Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann is considering launching a campaign to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat in the next national election cycle. Think bigger.

ABC News has learned that Bachmann, R-Minn., also is seriously weighing whether to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

A source close to the three-term congresswoman said Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run. Bachmann, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, also is set to deliver a keynote speech at an Iowans for Tax Relief PAC fundraiser Jan. 21 in Des Moines, Iowa....

I didn't realize until now that she was born in Iowa. That makes her bid not completely crazy -- that and the fact that she, like a disproportionately large share of Iowa GOP caucus voters, is a fervent Bible-thumper.

Can she win? Probably not -- but I think it'll take a redoubling of Karl Rove and the GOP establishment's "Don't vote for extremely crazy Republicans!" campaign to stop her. And she doesn't seem to get into petty score-settling, which, I think, is what's dragging Palin down. I think, to a certain group of voters, she'll seem like Palin with gravitas. (No, I'm serious.)

Maybe I'm crazy, but I actually don't think she'll run if Palin does, and vice versa -- they seem quite fond of each other, to judge from the coverage of a joint appearance they made last spring. I half-suspect that a Bachmann candidacy might motivate Palin to step aside -- for all the ego and ambition involved in both women's planning, I think they both actually believe some of the nonsense they spew about Mama Grizzlitude and divine callings and the need for someone, not necessarily themselves, to take up the mantle of common-sense constitutional yadda yadda yadda. I think Sarah would happily go off and take more cable-TV money if she thought someone almost exactly like her was in the trenches slogging it out for the nomination; I think she'd get ego gratification watching her near-clone do this, because she created the template.

I'll just be delighted to have Bachmann in there pushing the party's rhetoric further toward the rightward edge, as the Beltway tearfully watches Haley and Thuney and other establishmentarians crash and burn.

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