The good thing about being a politics junkie? Your brain is overstuffed with bits and pieces of information about important and standing-on-the-verge-of-becoming-important figures and organizations whom may be partly in the public eye, but have yet to fully emerge.
The bad thing about being a politics junkie? There’s no satisfaction in being ahead of the curve.
This week, Michelle Bachmann, a conservative Congressperson from Minnesota popped up in the public consciousness as the Republican who gave the second Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. The official response/rebuttal came from Rep. Paul Ryan, a rising star among economic conservatives for his detailed plans to cut, hack and slash Medicare into bloody ribbons and sell off the carcass to private investors to manage.
The unofficial and unsanctioned rebuttal came from Bachmann, the self-appointed queen of the House’s small, but noisy Tea Party caucus. Most responses by the opposition party to any president’s official address to a joint session of both houses of Congress are standard grocery lists of why the president’s ideas blow and why ours are so much better. Few of these scripted comebacks are memorable, but a few become so because the person contradicting the president screws it up.
Bachmann’s problem was while she touched on all the right-wing hot buttons of attacking the stimulus and repealing Obamacare, she did so while noticeably staring off to the right at a Webcast camera, and not the “pool” camera which broadcast her speech to the television networks. If you’ve ever been in a tv studio before they turn on the camera they will tell you which camera to look into. Bachmann kept her gaze locked to the right and apparently nobody bothered to whisper, “Pssst! Hey dumb ass, YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE WRONG CAMERA!”
Thus an You Tube moment is born. What she said will be quickly forgotten. The bumbling way she said it will never be. Bachmann did manage to work in a few exaggerations and misrepresentations (okay, lies) into her six minutes that were shot down by PolitiFact.com.
It was an embarrassing performance, but the damage was limited as only CNN bothered to carry it. Liberal bloggers (like me!) won’t let it go but it won’t be as damaging to Bachmann’s ambitions. Already her name is being floated as a possible GOP presidential contender. Unlike a certain ex-governor turned reality star, Bachmann actually likes governing and is a formidable fundraiser. She raised $13 million in her reelection bid and has two million remaining should she choose to challenge Democratic incumbent Senator Amy Kloubuchar in 2012.
Bachmann is not simply a Tea Party loyalist, but a true believer and a up-and-comer in the G.O.P. She’s probably better off trying to knock off Kloubuchar and bide her time for a presidential bid.
Bachmann is probably unelectable as a presidential contender, but she is a formidable figure and could play a role in deciding who represents the Republicans.
It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Michelle Bachmann is Sarah Palin with just as much crazy, but a much stronger work ethic. She’s as much of an attention seeking publicity whore as Palin, but unlike the ex-governor, Bachmann doesn’t mind diving under the hood of the political machinery and getting her hands dirty. She’s not much good at being a legislator and John Boehner and the GOP leadership tolerate her lone ranger act more than they support it. They were uber-pissed off by Bachmann undercutting Ryan and the Republican united front against the president, but they can’t control her or shut her up as the third-term representative is a darling of the anti-establishment Tea Party and a force on the fundraising circuit.
None of which changes the fact she’s still fucking batshit-crazy.
Michele Bachmann has no chance of being elected President of the United States in 2012.
But does she have a chance to be elected Vice-President of the United States? Hell to the yeah.
Bachmann, and whomever it is that’s whispering in her ear know she’s too far out on the extreme Right to win on the top of a ticket. However, following the Palin template, she could make an effective attack dog for someone like Mitt Romney.
Romney is never going to be the darling of the GOP base since Obamacare looks suspiciously like Romneycare. He knows as much as he tries to evoke Ronald Reagan he doesn’t come across as a true believer. Bachmann is a Tea Party pin-up girl. Nobody can question her conservative credentials, her ability to raise tons of money, or her affinity with the Tea Party.
Bachmann can raise enough money to play in the Republican primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and probably go to South Carolina and dazzle ’em down there as well. Bachmann could be everything Republicans dream Palin might be and then some. She has the experience Palin doesn’t have. She has proven she can both raise wads of cash and elect more Republicans. She’s photogenic. She’s charismatic.
I could be totally wrong. I could be totally right. Either way I wouldn’t be surprised if within a year we see her tramping through the snows of Iowa while Palin is left wondering how she blindsided by the equally conservative, but far more electable Bachmann.
Yes, she’s batshit-fucking-crazy, but some folks find that a minor, but endearing character flaw.