This Week in 2012

HOWARD MEGDAL: Today’s editorial in the Des Moines Register highlights a real problem for Michele Bachmann, who officially kicked off her presidential campaign this week. She’s not, as Ed Rollins would want you to believe, Sarah Palin, but qualified. She’s Sarah Palin, also unqualified, far less able to generate free media and the adoration of her supporters.

This reality means the Bachmann path to winning the GOP nomination, should Palin run, doesn’t really exist. She won’t best Palin on legitimacy, and those supporting Palin weren’t looking for government experience anyhow, obviously. Better still, the (lamestream?) media still doesn’t get why Palin is such a powerful brand in politics. It isn’t because she succeeds despite working the refs and portraying herself as a victim of bias. It’s because of it.

Read that link. Put one way, Bachmann made a mistake like Palin so often does, then took the high road. Presidential, right? Not in this contest. In this contest, Bachmann made a mistake that will raise doubts in the minds of those who aren’t yet in her camp, and likely won’t be (the competence voters). Unlike Palin, however, she didn’t highlight her victimhood, reinforcing the need of her would-be supporters to close ranks around her.

I continue to believe that Sarah Palin is as good at doing this as any American politician since Richard Nixon. And in a field as weak as the 2012 GOP group, that will be enough to carry the day. After all, Mitt Romney has a very limited ceiling… and Palin has a very high floor. The media will focus on how high her negatives go, which is missing the point entirely. Watch to see how constant her positives, especially her high positives, remain. Those are the people who will carry Palin to victory in Iowa.

Bachmann’s camp clearly realizes that there ain’t room in this state for the both of them. I don’t think they have much recourse if Palin jumps in, however. This week’s rollout didn’t change it, that’s for sure.

CHRIS PUMMER: Ok everyone, get your shots in at Jon Huntsman.

I won’t disagree with the fundamental premise that people with Huntsman’s views are marginalized in the Republican Party. They have been for more than a decade now.

Trying to prove that premise by painting a picture of a sparsely attended rally? This is probably meaningless.

I do remember reading stories from the last primary season about a guy going around giving stump speeches to only a handful of people sometimes.

He’d go on about foreign policy stuff, sometimes one of his old political buddies would join him. The campaign was scuffling a little financially, too. And everyone was talking about how it was over, the poor old guy should just pack it in. A guy with his appeal to moderates was doomed to lose anyway, and probably had zero chance with Rudy Giuliani in this race.

Obviously, I’m talking about John McCain here.

To be sure, Huntsman’s problems are bigger. He doesn’t have the same core of supporters from an earlier run. And as much as we like to rip Mitt Romney, he really looks like a lion compared to the paper tiger Giuliani turned out to be. Romney is effectively stealing any air Huntsman could desperately use.

Still I think there’s a disconnect between the number of people you can get to show up to clap and hold stupid signs, and how elections are won.

Maybe as a control for some kind of experiment, we could draft Fred Thompson again.

Instead we’ll have to settle for Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Ron Paul each carving out their only little group of enthusiastic nutballs. If any one of them weren’t flawed in some way, we might have a Goldwater-style movement nominee.

I wouldn’t really bet on that, especially with the not-so-serious field so divided.

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  1. Pingback: Michele Bachmann, hell’s Barbie – San Francisco Chronicle | The Black Belt Connection

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