It has been said many times that Bachmann's insane behavior as a Congresswoman will make her an easy target for defeat in 2008. Along with Christopher Truscott, I have held a line that regardless of what she does in Washington, the Congresswoman will be very difficult to beat in the 6th CD.
In the comments to Eric Blacks Big Question yesterday, Bill Pendergast lays out the best argument for why the Congresswoman will be tough to beat.
Mark’s analysis, as far as it goes, is right–and I never say that about Mark’s analysis of anything.
Bachmann is positioned to be a major factor in future elections, if they play down the reality (she’s a nut and an habitual liar.)
How can it be that a person who’s a nut and an habitual liar (and a sincere bigot, to boot) could be a major factor in federal and state politics?
There are a number of reasons.
1) Michele is a creature of the evangelical political movement. Her political strength is national, not local–evangelical political players like Dr. James Dobson pick out proteges like Michele to run as state and local candidates, grooming them for success at the federal level. This is a long-range strategy of the EPM–they get there “own people” in Congress to do their bidding.
2) The way this is done is to pass off EPM candidates as conservatives in the tradition of Reagan, invoking the Reagan legacy of conservativism. From a Reagan conservative’s point of view, Michele’s political positions in the state legislature were impeccable. So now she’s got: 1) the evangelicals/”Christian Right”, who have a demonstrated power to put in a candidate like Michele into the nomination process, in preference to “secular” right wing Republicans like Krinkie 2) the Reagan guys who listen to Garage Logic, Jason Lewis, Rush Limbaugh, all of that cr@p–these have been successfully groomed to think of Michele as a conservative in the tradition of Reagan, rather than as a fundamentalist Christian candidate. That, in a district that trends Republican anyway, is enough to put her over.
3)There are fewer choices available to conservative Republicans after the last round of elections. In the face of a Dem tsunami in the federal and state elections, Bachmann sailed to victory. She’s begun her rise on the national stage too. She was invited to speak at the most prominent convention of conservatives in the country this year, to speak at the same event as Dick Cheney, Sen. McConnell, etc etc–Michele was scheduled as a featured speaker. (She did not get to speak though–she was apparently “disinvited” after the national story broke about her fantasy account of an existing agreement with Iran to divide Iraq (”Bachmannistan”.)
4) So, as Mark points out, she’s electable–if they can muzzle her; keep her on the message and conceal the fact that she is a certifiable, grade A, USDA inspected Macadmamia nut. And bigot. And theocrat.
5) Other reasons she’s electable. She presents herself very well. She’s attractive and comes off as a “mom” –rather than as a evangelical political extremist who believes in conspiracy theories (which she is.) It’s only when you start looking at statements that Bachmann makes out of the media limelight, before “friendly” audiences, that you realize that she’s a nut. The real thing. You’d never know just to look at her, if you only knew her through her campaign commercials or met her in person. It’s only when she’s “being herself”, speaking off the top of her head, telling lies about what she’s said and done, or seizing the President of the US after the State of the Union speech, that you realize–this woman’s out of control; she hasn’t got an honest bone in her body. But she has no shame and guilt about the lies and bigotry–because in a conversation between you and Michele, Michele believes that she is the one representing Jesus Christ. (He talks to her and tell her what to do, you know–sends her visions. No, I’m not kidding, that’s what she claims.)
6) There’s some very big, very wealthy special interests backing Michele, and they have an interest in seeing that her career takes off. Locally, it’s the Taxpayers’ League and other millionaires’ clubs. Nationally, it’s banking interests. This explains why she had so much interest in getting on Congress’ Financial Services Committee (her first choice for a committee assignment) and so little interest on getting on a committee directly affect farm policy in her Minnesota district (as a conservative, she would have been caught on the “wrong side” of many votes and issues on an agriculture committee, which would have made her loathsome to all the voters who care about those issues in her own district.)
7) The Bush White House campaigned vigorously for Michele. She did photo ops with Bush locally (she adores him and his endless war policy.) Karl Rove came down to Stillwater to speak for her. Cheney appeared with her a millionaires fundraising event out at the lakes. Those guys still have lots of credibility with the richest Republicans in Minnesota; they practically anointed Michele.
8) Finally–Michele’s most important ally on the road to Congress was the local Minnesota media. They stopped her candidacy cold at almost any time during the past six years, simply by reporting what she said and claimed, on the record. They could have simply reported the statements that she’s made over the past six years. If the Minnesota papers and broadcast news outlets in the Sixth District had done that–that alone, would have sunk her–even in the conservative Sixth district.
They didn’t. Not even the “liberal” news outlets, like the Strib or MPR. They received documented quotes by Bachmann herself, indicating that she was an extremist, a theocrat, a bigot, etc. They ignored these, wouldn’t print them, spiked them prior to the election.
So–with the compliance of the local media (which didn’t start covering her nutty behavior until the national press did), Michele’s career has been very well managed, and she’s positioned. Which doesn’t change the fact that she is indeed a nut and bigot posing as a Reagan Republican.
If 1) the media continues to play down the fact that we have a nut representing the 6th district of MN in Congress, and 2) if her advisers can, as Mark writes, muzzle the nut and bigot aspect of her–she will continue to rise in American politics. All the necessary pieces are there, except for the piece of her brain that’s missing, and she doesn’t really need that to keep getting elected.
Excellent work Bill!