Michelle Bachman the Unseen Dark Horse of 2012?
One name often floated but never taken too seriously as a Presidential contender is Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachman. She has long been a strong mouthpiece in favor of the Tea Party agenda and a strong speaker for fiscal discipline, right to life issues and free market principles.
The New Republic concludes that Bachman has the backing and the national profile to make a strong case for her candidacy:
As the 2012 Republican presidential field finally takes shape over the next few months, one thing is fairly certain: An intensely ideological female politician closely identified with the Christian Right and with the Tea Party movement, someone liberals love to hate, will define the race. But surprisingly, it’s increasingly likely that person will be Michele Bachmann rather than Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor has been deliberately opaque about her plans, but she looks ever less interested in running for president — and even if she is quietly hankering for a White House bid, her approval ratings have been sliding steadily among Republicans as well as the public at large (worse, a vast majority of Americans think she is unqualified to be president). That leaves an opening for Congresswoman Bachmann, the Tea Party firebrand from Minnesota, who is almost an improved version of Sarah Palin: even more right-wing, which appeals to the base, but also lacking many of Palin’s fatal political flaws.
Bachman could step into the role as America’s preeminent female conservative voice if she continues on this upward trajectory.
Moreover, Bachmann is in excellent political position. She could certainly do well in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus, particularly if Mike Huckabee also stays on the sidelines as expected, creating a hunger for a new Christian Right champion in a state where the Christian Right still walks tall. It also helps that she is actually an Iowa native living in next door Minnesota — and it’s hugely important that her very closest associate in Congress is influential Iowa Congressman Steve King. As Craig Robinson, an Iowa GOP insider, says about the Bachmann-King combo:
A Bachmann run would create a perfect storm in Iowa. Bachmann is already the darling of the Tea Party. Combine that with King’s statewide network of conservative in a caucus election and its bound to befuddle everyone in the beltway as well as her caucus opponents.
She could pull the caucus and primary debate to the right since Romney and others would be attempting to appeal to the same Tea Party voters who would be prone to support Bachman out of the gate.
The only strong negative I see for Bachman right now is her current position in office. Republicans will be, in my opinion, much more prone to lean toward a Governor at this time in history. Someone who has fought the federal government and has a more familiar grasp of governing locally. I don’t think this is insurmountable for Bachmen but it is something to consider.
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