Monday, August 08, 2011

The Michele Bachmann Phenomenon -- crazy, extreme, formidable

I'm still on vacation, and enjoying it immensely (and trying not to pay too much attention to the news, even as the world economy crumbles yet further, day after disastrous day), but I can't resist posting on yet another fantastic political profile by Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker, this one on Michele Bachmann.

It's long but deserving of your time and attention.

We all need to understand better the phenomenon that is Bachmann, not least because she may win the Republican presidential nomination.

Mitt Romney remains the fairly clear frontrunner, but he may very well have a low ceiling of potential support, and, if Rick Perry isn't included (and he may or may not run), Bachmann is currently running a strong second. What's more, given Tim Pawlenty's weakness, she'll likely win this Saturday's Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, an influential barometer (at least for the media, but also for donors and, generally, for party undecideds), particularly if she does well, which she likely will (she is, after all, charismatic and engaging), in Thursday's GOP debate.

If Perry runs, she'll have a hard time securing the right-wing vote, assuming that Perry actually runs an effective campaign. Indeed, if she and Perry end up competing for that vote, Romney's path is made so much easier -- the nomination could then be his by default, with the right-wing vote split.

But if he doesn't, and if Sarah Palin stays out as well (as expected), and if the race turns into a Romney vs. Bachmann slugfest (as opposed to, say, a Pawlenty vs. Bachmann spat, which she crushes), who's to say that Bachmann wouldn't win? (She's got the right-wing bona fides, he doesn't. It might just be as simple as that.)

Anyway, enough horse-race speculation. Read Lizza's piece.

Here are the two high-level takeaways:

1. Bachmann is a crazy conservative ideologue and conspiracy theorist.

2. Bachmann has formidable political skills, has an impressive campaign operation, and is a serious contender for the nomination.

Crazy, extreme, and formidable.

Formidable because she's crazy and extreme.

Because being crazy and extreme is what makes you formidable on the right.

Which says all you need to know about today's Republican Party.

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  • Will you be supporting Obama and the Democrats next fall or urging a vote for a minor party progressive, if one is available?

    Or for a minor party candidate to Obama's left in any case?

    By Blogger Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, at 6:09 AM  

  • .

    Yes but ... There is always a but.

    As oft stated, the Batsh!t Crazy wing of the right has to eventually pivot to sanity to get the rest of the voters to follow them. (This mud-fight in the Fox Network 2012 Presidential primaries is a joy to watch.) But when it comes finally to getting the pig on the lipstick, the wallowing winner of the Murdoch Media pig-sty will face Mr Obama.

    The Republicant Party money bags in Washington, NY, and LA (and they have the boodles of moola) are not going to spend freely on any one but Romney.

    Ema Nymton

    By Blogger Ema Nymton, at 7:52 AM  

  • The image of Palin or Bachmann or Perry dressed up in a costume of sanity reminds me of the movie Beetle Juice.

    Do they really know what sane looks like, and can an idiot successfully pass for smart? I'm truly afraid that the answer will turn out to be yes.

    Of course the Creator of "Obamacare" pretending it's socialism and the gateway to communism and financial ruin would have to be seen to believed -- and even then.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:37 AM  

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