Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 27, 2011

GUESS WHO 'STOLE THE SHOW' IN IOWA?.... Iowa will host dozens of "cattle call" events for 2012 Republican presidential candidates over the next several months, and the latest was yesterday's gathering in Des Moines, hosted by far-right Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Five likely aspirants showed up, and the receptions they received matter.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, and pizza-company owner Herman Cain were all on hand, and by all accounts, each delivered remarks that generated polite applause. But the Washington Post noted it was Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) who "lit up the gathering."

NBC's First Read had a similar assessment, noting that of the five, only Bachmann was able to "fire up" attendees with "criticisms of the administration, an artful weaving of audience response, and backing up her points with a litany of 'statistics.'" (The scare quotes were NBC's, not mine, and a reminder that the congresswoman is prone to making stuff up.)

Politico's report from the event said Bachmann "stole the show" in Iowa.

Michele Bachmann served up red meat to the crowd at the Iowa conservative principles conference Saturday, slamming President Barack Obama as a Jimmy Carter retread, dissing the Mitch Daniels "truce" call for social issues, and saying she wants a "waiver" from the last two years of White House leadership.

Talking loudly and waving her hands, a pumped Bachmann used a slide presentation of various numbers -- the national debt, the cost of a gallon of gas two years ago the day before Obama took office, the corporate tax rate -- to make her points and pull the crowd in.

Suggesting that Iowa caucus voters had the power to halt Obama, Bachmann wrapped up her speech by asking, "Are you in? Are you in for 2012?"

"I agree with you!" she said as the crowd cheered, and added, "I'm in!"

You can watch the video -- though I don't recommend doing so on a full stomach -- and you'll notice that the Iowa crowd loved Bachmann's nonsense, practically hanging on her every word.

In the context of the 2012 race, the next question is what kind of love we're dealing with here. Are those right-wing activists enamored with Bachmann thinking, "I can't wait to support her campaign" or are they thinking, "She's terrific, but there's no chance I'll ever vote for her"?

Don't assume the latter. Extremely conservative social activists tend to dominate the Iowa caucuses -- radical televangelist Pat Robertson came in second in 1988, well ahead of Reagan's sitting vice president -- and may very well make Bachmann viable, at least in the first nominating contest.

Also note, the more the ridiculous congresswoman excites the base and makes bizarre remarks -- yesterday Bachmann called the federal tax code a "weapon of mass destruction" -- the more media attention she'll take from other candidates who may find themselves struggling to stay in the spotlight.

If this isn't making the GOP establishment -- plus candidates like Pawlenty, Daniels, and Barbour -- nervous, they're not paying close enough attention.

Steve Benen 8:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Lorne Michaels' project, Kids in the Hall, had a character a lot like Michelle Bachmann. Without prejudicing those who may not know of the character, it was known for entertaining people standing in long queues by shouting "Look at me, look at me" as it incredulously flew by!

I know never to say never in politics, but really, Michelle Bachmann for President? Can pigs really fly? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 27, 2011 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican establishment may have to run quite a few "false flag" operations if it wants to clear the field of 2012 candidates who are flat-out ridiculous.
Personally, I'd love to see Bachmann win the presidential nomination, and watch scores of other Republicans ride her coat-tails straight to hell.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 27, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

The military is where much of the technology from which our increasingly ill advised "progress" is innovated . A maxim I have understood about military thinking is that you use a weapon until it loses its advantage . How precious is it that we now adopt our increasingly portably packaged "events" from this idea . Until the use of noise and distraction is replaced with information and actual events , not the fantasies of politicians , the content of political speech for the nonce shall be enduring and unchanging . How much poop in the bed before the residents notice the poisonous gas ? Ha ! The emotional maturity of our "dedicated" fellow beings is that if they wish something , Tinkerbellitus , it evolves into substance . The only difference is the substance fouls the bed .

Posted by: FRP on March 27, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho doesn't seem like such a stretch anymore.

That's the problem with satire; it never really goes far enough to surpass within-a-decade reality

Posted by: Steve P on March 27, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Those Onion editorials about super duper all time great decider Booschie solving the budget surplus and life expectancy increase in our soldiery still have a poignancy to them .

Posted by: FRP on March 27, 2011 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

......you'll notice that the Iowa crowd loved Bachmann's nonsense, practically hanging on her every word.

When you have a crowd full of Limbots, the "nonsense" Bachmann was speaking is the only thing that makes any sense whatsoever to them.

Posted by: SWENXOF on March 27, 2011 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

They yelled "I agree with you"??? Now there is serious battle cry..

Posted by: martin on March 27, 2011 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

You aint seen nothin yet, baby baby you you aint seen nothing yet

Posted by: Live Free or Die on March 27, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

The part that scares me is that if somebody like Bachmann was elected, you'd see a repeat of the Bush years. That is, regardless of what happened to the country, her supporters LITERALLY wouldn't give a damn.

If she ended taxes on anybody in the top 1% and corporations and it caused a collapse of government - they'd cheer for her.

If she rounded up Muslims and shot them - they'd cheer for her.

If she outlawed any religion but hers - they'd cheer for her.

If she ended Social Security and Medicare and kept taking money out of paychecks to give to corporations for tax credits - they'd STILL cheer for her.

That's the SICK and SCARY part.

Posted by: Mark-NC on March 27, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Oh oh. Layoffs coming for the writers at Saturday Night Live. Writers not needed, just the transcripts from candidate appearances.

Posted by: Diane Rodriguez on March 27, 2011 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

She scares me much more than Palin ever did. Given the right circumstance, I could see her winning.

Posted by: Kevin on March 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

You are right, of course, Bachmann will just bounce off walls providing amusement to the general population and shewing what terrible things some people believe. To sum up, here's my toon of the trajectory of her campaign http://twitgoo.com/21ueyp.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on March 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Out Pailined Palin ... who wouda thunk it possible. This country has indeed gone effing nuts.

Posted by: John R on March 27, 2011 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Can we stop with this ridiculous discussion of Bachmann's chances of winning the nomination? Let's have a serious political discussion on these pages. To wit: who do you think Bachmann will pick as her running mate?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 27, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

First, let me express my annoyance that CSPAN broadcast this silly conference. Steve King has never shown the slightest ability to influence election outcomes other than his own. More important, by showing the buffoons in the audience asking questions, it made my home state look bad.

Second, as I said at the tail end of a thread earlier this week, if Bachmann runs it actually helps Romney. Because she was born in Iowa and lives next door, it will give other top-tier candidates an excuse to skip Iowa, making Iowa much less relevant. So the first "real" contest is New Hampshire, which Romney wins, then Nevada, where being Mormon actually helps, then South Carolina which will be split by a bunch of southerners not named Bachmann. After 4 primaries, the only person with multiple wins will be Mitt, and most everyone else will be out of cash while Mitt has both money and what will pass for momentum compared to the rest of the field.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Mmm - Bachman, sounds like a German name to me, if that is so she should not talk so much about her founding fathers, they were all English, Irish Welsh, Scottish and a few from British colonies
(Like Kenya!!!!!!!!)
Come to think of it Obama's father had a British Commonwealth passport.

Posted by: j on March 27, 2011 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Iowa is fast becoming irrelevant in the primary process. Keep it up guys and MAYBE the state will step in. They are a joke....and I don't think they will want to out Arizona, Arizona...

Posted by: SYSPROG on March 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

j, her father was named Amble. Her mother's maiden name was Johnson. Little closer to Scandinavian ties.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't all the attention and fascination with Bachmann's craziness lead to making boring T-Paw, racist Barbour, and animal-rights activist Romney look more acceptable? Afterall, none of them is as BAD as she is.....the new bar of acceptability.

Posted by: withay on March 27, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine Sarah Palin gracefully fading away into the woodwork. At what point doe we see a King Kong vs Godzilla battle royal between those two?

If, by the strangest of chances, Bachmann did get the nomination we'd see the Republican Party split in two. She was deliberately shut out when the new congress was sworn in, so there's no real love between her and the "establishment" GOP. She would be the biggest disaster the the Republican Party's greatest disaster. Imagine her in a debate with the President. It might be the first time a presidential candidate from one of the two major parties only got a single digit percentage of the vote.

She'll lock up the lunatic base support, and she'll get big cash from Koch bros who will treat her like an organ grinder's monkey...or like Ned Beaty treated Peter Finch in Network. But nationally, she'll be a disgrace that will take the Republican Party years and years to recover from.

Posted by: SaintZak on March 27, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'd worry about Bachmann, if I thought this was a country that could elect a complete idiot as President, as long as that idiot was backed by a well-funded ideological organization with media saavy that wanted complete access to the power and treasure of the Federal government and thought using a idiot figurehead would be the way to do that.

But how, after George W. Bush, could I possibly believe that?

Posted by: biggerbox on March 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

She was born in Iowa, and got her law degree from Oral Roberts University, so she's clued into the deep thought stuff.

Posted by: cld on March 27, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine Sarah Palin gracefully fading away into the woodwork. At what point doe we see a King Kong vs Godzilla battle royal between those two?

Nope. It's too much work for Palin. She's already out, I'm thinking. You don't get paid $100,000 for each speech when you campaign, plus you have to give up that sweet, sweet Fox News money.

Posted by: g on March 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Oral Roberts Law"

She was part of the study body which made the transistion to ORL becoming part of Regent U. (Pat Robertsonville)

Posted by: berttheclock on March 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK
...regardless of what happened to the country, her supporters LITERALLY wouldn't give a damn.

Shut up. My team is winning. Why do I want food or medical care or a roof over my head?

Go, big Red!

Forget your Hayek and your von Mises. Sell your Oakeshott and your Nozick to some unsuspecting AP US Government student and buy a big foam 'We're #1" finger with the proceeds.

That's all you need to understand modern American conservatism.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "She scares me much more than Palin ever did. Given the right circumstance, I could see her winning."


I agree. No one should underestimate Bachmann. She is delusional but she makes crap up and argues with such conviction that she seems like the Real Deal; yes, yes, her base shout, all the problems in America today are due to legal abortions and birth control, liberals, homosexuals, immigration, African Americans, taxes, unions, oppressive government, deficits, health care and Muslims. They know that all we need a strong leader to stamp out the rot that is threatening America.

The light of crazy in her eyes inspires them. I imagine a debate between candidates Obama and Bachmann, where the black man, speaking eloquently about reality, threatens to beat the white woman speaking from inflexible crazy and paranoia, and I wonder how it will play well in Cedar Rapids.

Posted by: PTate in MN on March 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Any Republican, as long as he/she/it is consitently against everything Obama, Democrats, and especially Liberals are for.

That is the definition of modern Conservatism.

And that is why Mitt is screwed - health care.

Can the "Minnesota TimberMILF" win?
Sure, why not?

All of the candidates are either stupid, insane, xenophobic, or ignorant.

The more of those you have in your portfolio, the better your chances.
And she looks to me to be a 4 for 4 batter.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"She scares me much more than Palin ever did. Given the right circumstance, I could see her winning."

No chance. She pulls 40% tops in a two-way race, I'd say closer to 30%. General elections are won on the margins, and the GOP need another 10% minimum on top of the true believers. Bachmann doesn’t get you there. Palin doesn’t get you there. It has to be Some Guy in a Suit. Just has to.

You'd need a set-up like what delivered their new governor "Mr. 38%" LePage to Maine -- a third party that splits the Democratic and independent vote, for anything like President Bachmann to happen.

If I were the GOP, I'd create two third party candidates -- a super-liberal independent, and a traditional, non-government white moderate independent -- a Nader 2.0, and a non-partisan Wes Clark type -- and get them on every ballot humanly possible. It's probably too late for that now, though.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I love it that the Iowa GOP is dominated by the sort that will make Bachmann viable; I hope the same is true in NH and SC. Couldn't wish for better. The danger lies not in a nutcase like her, but in a cautious, presentable personality with the same essential beliefs, aka GWB.

Posted by: Jon on March 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

...you'll notice that the Iowa crowd loved Bachmann's nonsense, practically hanging on her every word.

Go look at "Triumph of the Will." You will see a very similar crowd response to a similar speech full of "nonsense."

It is definitely time to repeal "Godwin's Law" and remember what Upton Sinclair said 80 years ago:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.:

Posted by: TCinLA on March 27, 2011 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a religious man, I'd get down on my knees every day and pray that Bachmann gets the nomination. The 2012 presidential election would be a repeat of 1964 - Bachmann would win the south (and Idaho, Utah and Alaska) and nowhere else. Even Minnesotans wouldn't vote for her.

Posted by: Death Panel Truck on March 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

My dad always said "They'll have you looking east when you're supposed to be looking west."

While the the media is focused on the shiney objects that are Bachmann and Palin, no one is paying attention to the glaring problems the more likely nominees have.

Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich, Trump, and Cain are fools and liars.

Huckabee, Romney, and Pawlenty must to pretend to be fools and liars or become functionaly irrelevant.

By the time the glare of stupidity of BPGTC fades, we'll all be so blinded that we won't be able to see the relative dimnees of HRP.

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 27, 2011 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Bachmann doesn't scare me. Could she win the nomination....I don't think so. But, even if she did, she's just flat out batshyt crazy. Stupid and crazy.

Posted by: rikyrah on March 27, 2011 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

> Nope. It's too much work for Palin. She's
> already out, I'm thinking. You don't get paid
> $100,000 for each speech when you campaign, plus
> you have to give up that sweet, sweet Fox News
> money.

The problem Palin faces is that her cred is leaking away day by day (faster than I expected to). Either she has enough loot to keep her satisfied for the rest of her life, or she has to do /something/ before those $100k gigs dry up and blow away. Running for Pres, and winning a few primaries (Iowa, South Carolina) would do that. The problem for the Republican Party is that if she does do that, and wins 1-2 primaries, they will have a runaway train that even the Koch/Scaife/Walton billions won't be able to stop.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag,

It's "Minnesota TimberMILF" vs. Mama Grisly in the final!

Posted by: cld on March 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip in a brassiere.

Posted by: Hart Williams on March 27, 2011 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

What I find fascinating about this posting and the ensuing comments, is that it's all professional left inside baseball. You all seem to know why Michelle Bachmann's statistics are 'nonsense' and why she not viable as a candidate, but anyone not part of the your 'cool kids' clique, won't have a clue what you are talking about. I guess I'm going to have to peruse a few more articles on this particular cattle call, to get some idea of what Bachmann said that was so appealing.

Nothing wrong with this of course, but it makes this column a weekly circle jerk rather than a forum for persuasion and insight.

Posted by: Mick Stockinger on March 27, 2011 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

@Mick: Seriously, you have no idea about what Michelle Bachmann's rhetoric has been for, say the past year or so?

You must be that guy in the GEICO commercial who's been living under a rock.

Seriously, dude.

Posted by: Hart Williams on March 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Extremely conservative social activists tend to dominate the Iowa caucuses -- radical televangelist Pat Robertson came in second in 1988, well ahead of Reagan's sitting vice president -- and may very well make Bachmann viable, at least in the first nominating contest.

You've mentioned this two or three times now in entries, but here's the thing:

Pat Robertson lost to Bob Dole in that caucus, a mainsteam candidate every bit Bush's equal, and Robertson's besting of Bush in Iowa made absolutely no difference in Bush ultimately getting the nomination. I don't see that example illustrating what you seem to think it illustrates.

If she somehow manages to achieve exactly what Robertson achieved in 1988, she would merely be a curious footnote.

Posted by: Charles on March 27, 2011 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

forgot to add,

if an imbecile like Bachmann wins the GOP nomination, then the GOP is in way worse shape than I ever thought.

Posted by: rikyrah on March 27, 2011 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

> Pat Robertson lost to Bob Dole in that
> caucus, a mainsteam candidate every bit
> Bush's equal, and Robertson's besting of
> Bush in Iowa made absolutely no difference
> in Bush ultimately getting the nomination.
> I don't see that example illustrating
> what you seem to think it illustrates.

There have been substantial changes in the Republican Party and the conservative temperament since 1988. If one thinks that a Teabagger-type candidate with good Beckian-populist cred can't win 4 or 5 of the first half-dozen Republican primaries (which are tilted to rural states by design) in 2012, then one is deluding oneself.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2011 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean was far more impressive than John Kerry personally, but Dean's ground game was amateurish. (He'd never run a large campaign having been Lt. Governor when Vermont's governor died suddenly.)

Perhaps similarly, Bachmann captures the masses imagination, but does she have any clue about the ground game or is Barbour grabbing the campaign vets and he'll run the table while she's sucking down ribs at every barbecue?

Will it be tough to convince Republicans they should vote for a safer choice whop has a shot at the independents? In an ELECTION Bachmann could win. Iowa has caucuses. Shell lose. I'd put money on it.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 27, 2011 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle may be a wingnut, but she is a well spoken wingnut. She can spin bullshit into gold. That is exactly what she's done and how she gone from a goofy woman hiding behind the bushes at a GLBT rally in Minnesota to the crowd pleasing speaker in Iowa.

She speaks in a way that appeals to a certain ignorant element in our society. Hopefully it isn't a large enough segment to get her elected to any office higher then she already holds.

The best part of this though is poor Timmy Pawlenty. He spend 8 years destroying our state in his quest for the Whitehouse and little Michelle, comes out of nowhere and blows him right out of the water.
She is dangerous and Dems would be wise to keep an close eye on her. T-Paw wishes he had.

Posted by: HENK on March 27, 2011 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly