Michele Bachmann: 2012 Frontrunner?
Bachmann has talents and attributes that Romney simply never will. She is charismatic, dynamic, and appealing to the Tea Party and Social Conservatives across the country. Bachmann’s credentials with Conservatives are unquestioned. She has no baggage like Romney does with his Obama-esque healthcare plan while he was governor. Bachmann has the ability to electrify a crowd, such as when she declared to thundering applause during a recent New Hampshire debate that Barack Obama would be a one-term President. Romney has no electrifying moments. He is simply trying to avoid any major blunders in order to remain the safe choice for Republicans, the best bet to beat Obama.
Michele Bachmann has often been compared to another famous conservative woman, Sarah Palin. Yet this comparison does a great disservice to Rep. Bachmann. While both women are conservative firebrands with a penchant for getting many historical facts wrong, Michele Bachmann’s credentials far outstrip Sarah Palin’s. There is a reason that Sarah Palin is not running for President. She does not have the gravitas or ability to be Commander-in-Chief. Palin’s sole executive experience is serving a half-term as governor of Alaska, one of the country’s smallest states by population. Following the 2008 election, Palin decided to quit as governor and instead make money and increase her own celebrity image. While Bachmann was actually serving her country in the United States Congress, Palin spent her time signing book deals, making a television series, and providing an endless stream of vacuous commentary on Fox News. While Palin failed to answer simple interview questions such as “What newspapers do you read?”, Bachmann actually welcomed the tough questions.
While Michele Bachmann may come off as unintelligent at times, such as when she mistakenly identified New Hampshire instead of Massachusetts as the birthplace of the American Revolution, this is likely untrue. She earned a law degree and worked as a tax attorney. Bachmann also genuinely seems to believe what she says, no matter how zany some of her positions might be. This issue of authenticity is what ultimately might hand the Republican nomination to Bachmann instead of Romney. The American people always gravitate to genuine candidates, those who stick to their positions no matter how popular those positions might be.
Bachmann’s path to the nomination is a simple one. First, she must win the Iowa caucus, the first event in the Republican nominating calendar. Bachmann plays very favorably here. The Republican caucus-goers in Iowa are extremely conservative and will identify strongly with Bachmann. She is definitely the current favorite to win in Iowa. While winning the Iowa caucus is no guarantee of winning the Republican nomination, an early win there would solidify Bachmann’s place as a frontrunner.
Bachmann’s next task would be a decent finish in the New Hampshire primary, where Mitt Romney’s more moderate stances will probably garner him more votes. Yet Bachmann simply needs to finish well enough to carry enough momentum into the South Carolina primary, the third event of the nominating calendar. Bachmann’s conservative views make her a favorite in South Carolina as well. Should she win two of the first three contests, Bachmann would be considered the favorite to win the nomination and would receive the majority of the media’s attention.
However, many Republicans are well aware that nominating Michele Bachmann for President would be one of the best things that could happen to President Obama’s re-election chances. Mitt Romney is much more likely than Michele Bachmann to be successful in the general election. Many of Bachmann’s views are far more conservative than those of the average American. She will also have to answer for many controversial statements that she has made in the past. An Obama-Bachmann match up is definitely not what establishment Republicans are looking for. Yet the nominating process does not always produce the best candidate.
In the current state of the Republican Party, it is likely that the more conservative Bachmann will be nominated instead of the moderate Romney.