To continue our series on Republican White House hopefuls I decided it only made sense to focus on Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota who announced her candidacy yesterday in Waterloo, IA. While she announced that she was running for President in the debate earlier this month, I guess this was her “official” announcement…or something. This is something that is becoming commonplace in the WH2012 race though, so I am not fault her at all for making as big a splash – especially when it takes place in the city of her birth (Waterloo) which just happens to be in home to our nation’s first test for White House viability.
Rep. Bachmann is the darling of the Tea Party wing of the GOP thanks to her outspoken views on taxes and government spending. Since the economic collapse of 2008 and the rise of the Tea Party shortly following that, there has been a renewed focus on government spending, especially within the Republican Party who hope to keep the Tea Party in the fold rather than losing those voters to a 3rd party. While Bachmann is the founder and head of the Tea Party Caucus within the US House, she is not the only candidate who is Tea Party friendly. She really is a stark contrast to the candidate we first profiled, Jon Huntsman as he is rather soft-spoken and unassuming while she is one who often seeks the spotlight and is very outspoken about her views. She is often compared to former AK Gov and 2008 GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin. While the parallels are obvious to see in that both are outspoken and strong-willed women, they differ in style and substance.
I may draw some flack for this, but I actually see some similarities between Rep. Bachmann’s run for President and that of President Obama in 2008. Both worked their way up from their respective State Houses to national office and announced their Presidential intentions while not having leadership positions in Congress. Both capture the attention of their base while also serving as anti-establishment (remember, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was the “establishment” candidate for the Democratic Party leading up to the 2008 primaries). While I am not sure there is an “establishment” candidate within the GOP at this point, it is very safe to say that Rep. Bachmann will not hold that mantel unless she is the ONLY candidate.
While I am not personally a fan of Michele Bachmann (as you can see if you follow me on Twitter or have read this on the blog) I can certainly understand the appeal she has for those within the Tea Party and Social Conservatives. She is a powerful fundraiser for not only herself but for the candidates and colleagues she support (much like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, another Tea Party favorite). However, even with all of those positives, I don’t see her winning the GOP nomination in the end. She currently enjoys high favorable ratings among Republicans because, in part, she has only been attacked by Democrats. Once the primary battles truly begin and comparisons and contrasts are drawn, the fact that she has never been “the one, only one of”, along with her outspoken ways, will keep some voters from supporting her. In a weird way, I think the Presidency of Barack Obama, something she is trying to end, will keep her from accomplishing that. I do see her as a logical Vice Presidential choice (depending on the campaign rhetoric) as she has a national profile right now that would aid a more centrist candidate in retaining those who count themselves as members of the Tea Party. On the other hand, if she does not get the Republican nod, I could also see her being encouraged to split off from the Republican Party and helping to establish the Tea Party as a true 3rd party and running as their nominee. This race will be interesting to follow as I think there are more questions attached to Michele Bachmann than to any other person currently seeking the Republican nomination