An aide for Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann told the media yesterday that Bachmann is mulling a 2012 presidential bid and is headed to Iowa to talk about the possibility with activists. Bachmann is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for the Iowans for Tax Relief PAC on January 21st in Des Moines.
For the most part, the national media isn’t taking the news seriously. LA Times politics columnist, Andrew Malcolm, blew off the idea by suggesting she is just raising her profile to in order to run for the U.S. Senate.
Another opinion writer, Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, wrote, “The Tea Party princess (Mama Grizzly is the Tea Party queen) must be off her rocker if she thinks she’s presidential timber.” He bases his opinion on Bachmann’s performance on Hardball with Chris Matthews of all places.
I’m sure these two paid “thinkers” got a kick out of blowing off the idea of Bachmann running for president. While their friends and cohorts surely slapped them on the back for a job well done, one thing is obvious, they don’t know a damn thing about Iowa or the Iowa caucuses.
While others scoff at the idea of Bachmann running for president, I take it very seriously. I do so not because I think she’s actually going to run, but because if she does run, I think she could actually win the Iowa caucuses.
I’m sure national pundits will roll their eyes and proclaim that the caucuses would be a joke if that were to happen. However, these people need to ask themselves if the caucuses were a joke in 2008 when Mike Huckabee won them? I know one thing, Mitt Romney wasn’t laughing and neither was Fred Thompson.
The reason why Bachmann should be taken seriously is because, unlike Huckabee in 2008, there is a clear path to victory for her in Iowa if she chooses to go down it. Bachmann has a lot going for her as a presidential candidate. She was born in Waterloo, Iowa. In no way will that seal the deal with caucus goers, but Iowans always like those who have roots here.
Bachmann’s also attractive, articulate, smart, dynamic, and undoubtedly conservative. If people think that Palin is the only woman that Republican voters have their eyes on, they would be mistaken. In fact, Bachmann might be the one to ascend through the glass ceiling that Palin cracked in 2008.
I’m sure that coastal columnists like Malcolm and Capehart have already used hundreds of column inches dismissing Palin, but Bachmann is, or will be, much more difficult to discredit that Palin ever was. To be honest, Palin created most of the problems that she would have to overcome if she wants to run for President. Bachmann, on the other-hand, is a serious thinker who can discuss policy just as well as someone like Mitt Romney can, maybe even better.
The other factor that political pundits from the coasts need to realize is that if Bachmann does run, she will have one thing that no other presidential candidate will have when campaigning in Iowa – the support of Iowa’s conservative standard-bearer, Congressman Steve King.
King was on the sidelines for most of the 2008 caucuses. He didn’t get involved in a campaign until he endorsed Fred Thompson in December. Once King had selected his candidate, he immediately hit the road to campaign for Thompson. King didn’t just do what the Thompson people wanted if to, he basically willed the campaign to it’s third place finish. Had King not involved himself, Thompson wouldn’t have even had a chance to get one of the three tickets out of Iowa.
It’s easy to write off the value of endorsement in modern-day politics, but King’s endorsement matters in Iowa. Many have speculated as to why the Tea Party movement didn’t seem to make as big of waves in Iowa as it did in other parts of the nation. A major factor in this situation was the fact that Iowa’s conservative icon, King, didn’t seek higher office. Had he done so, the political environment would have been much different in 2010 here in Iowa.
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.
Another point to ponder is, what if Palin backs Bachmann’s campaign? Palin has already headlined a fundraising event for Bachmann last year. The event was a huge success, and Bachmann has proven herself to be an astute fundraiser. She raised $13.2 million in 2010. That’s as much as Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter raised for their 2008 presidential campaigns combined. It’s also almost as much as Huckabee raised for his campaign.
While the national media makes Bachmann’s potential presidential ambitions the butt of their jokes, this Iowan will keep a watchful eye on the conservative Congresswoman for Minnesota.
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