CommunityThe Bullpen

Michele Bachmann is a Serious Contender for the Republican Nomination

Markos Moulitsas predicted that Michele Bachmann would be the Republican nominee, and it’s hard to argue with his logic. The Presidential nomination is a different animal than state and local elections for Congress, but based on the track record of 2010, the Tea Party is the greatest force in Republican primaries, and they prefer someone uncompromising to a warm pile of like Mitt Romney. In addition, Markos notes that the Republican primary calendar favors Bachmann, although that calendar is still in flux.

We do know that the races will begin with the Iowa caucus, and Bachmann is already tied for the lead with Romney (who’s probably not even competing in Iowa) in the first Des Moines Register poll. After that, New Hampshire is probably a gimme for Romney, though Jon Huntsman is putting most of his energies there, and a Huntsman upset would help Bachmann even more. A lot depends on whether South Carolina can get it together and actually hold a primary, since the Republicans who run the state can’t seem to figure out how to pay for it. If it does get held, Bachmann would be well-positioned to win it; if it just becomes a caucus, it’s less clear how much importance it holds, and it falls on the same day as Nevada, which will probably be a Romney/Ron Paul state (that’s how it went in 2008). If everyone heads into Super Tuesday with Romney and Bachmann having split the major primaries, it’s really anyone’s race, and Bachmann simply has a better profile with the activists who dominate primaries. Markos notes:

Will Bachmann have the juice to compete in this wide a field? Watch her early fundraising numbers. She’s likely to raise more than the rest of the field. I bet she laps it.

So with Bachmann we have perhaps the best-funded candidate, with an early map that favors her brand of culture-war conservatism, and genuine street credibility with the teabagger types that will enable her to quickly build a national grassroots network.

Minnesota Democrats describe Bachmann as a smarter, more focused Sarah Palin, and a force to be reckoned with. While Matt Taibbi’s profile of Bachmann was good for some laughs, he acknowledges early on that she is a very serious contender for the nomination, regardless of her beliefs. I would say, BECAUSE of them. She merely reflects the wingnut id, which has really not taken kindly to anyone less fortunate for a long time. Her remarks today about John Quincy Adams being a Founding Father got a lot of attention, but far more consequential was her claim that the minimum wage should be abolished. Those are the kind of “you’re on your own” policy ideas which are tailor-made for the Tea Party.

Stephanopoulos: Well let me move on to another one of your statements on the issue of jobs which is so central to this campaign. You said back in 2005 that taking away the minimum wage could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment. Where is the evidence for that?

Bachmann: You know I think what we need to do is, again George, focus on job creation. I’m a former federal tax litigation attorney. I worked for years in the federal tax court system and watched how devastating high taxes are on business and individuals and farmers. And I’m also a job creator. My husband and I started from scratch a successful small business. That’s really the focus that I’m hearing today in New Hampshire. People are very upset that the president has us at 9.1 percent unemployment. That is not acceptable. He promised us that we wouldn’t see unemployment go above 8 percent. We’ve lost millions of jobs, people are suffering, they are hurting and I feel their pain and I want to make sure that what we do going forward is actually to address this and turn the economy around and get it on the right track because that’s really what people care about – that’s what they’re talking to me about all across the country […]

Stephanopoulos: Let me try one more time, so you are saying that the minimum wage is one of those regulations you’d take a look at, you’d try to eliminate it?

Bachmann: Well what I’m saying is that I think we need to look at all regulations, whatever–whatever ones are inhibiting job growth that’s what we need to —

Stephanopoulos: And the minimum wage is one of them?

Bachmann: All regulations George. I think every department. We have just too much expansion of government and so what we need to do is tamp that down so that the American people can keep more of what they make.

The American people should be able to keep more of what they make, as long as what they make is, I don’t know, 10 cents an hour.

But this stuff has potency in a primary, if for no other reason than it pisses off liberals. And Chris Wallace’s “Are you a flake?” botch job is a sign of things to come, where Bachmann can capitalize on Republican piggishness to garner plenty of sympathy.

Bachmann is as well-positioned to win the nomination as anyone in the Republican field today.

Previous post

God Help Us

Next post

New Report on Detainee Abuses

David Dayen

David Dayen