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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Michele Bachmann: Strong campaigner, weak manager, Big Government Republican

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is getting a lot of new attention since she announced Monday that she is running for president. I think there's a 30% chance that she'll win the Republican presidential nomination.

She performed as well as

 

 the other six candidates at the CNN New Hampshire forum for GOP presidential candidates. That none of the candidates made a huge, commanding impression at the CNN forum shows that Bachmann is a member of a strong field of Republican candidates for president. The number of candidates  may grow if Texas Gov. Rick Perry or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin decides to run. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is scheduled to announce his candidacy next week.

While Bachmann performed relatively well Monday and has been a social issues darling for years, her overall records in Congress and on the stump have been very mixed. Until Monday, she has been seen as a bomb thrower on the stump. Like President Obama, she doesn't have executive experience. She has one of the highest and worst staff turnover records in Congress, but her senior advisors seem to stick around. She's been in the U.S. House less than six years and seems to have spent most of that time campaigning, not legislating.

As a member of the Minnesota Senate and in the House, she has a record of seeking earmarks for her district and voting for farm subsidies that benefit her family's farm.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's camp apparently has put out the word that he couldn't work with State Sen. Bachmann because she is "difficult." House GOP leaders apparently agree, because they refused to make her a member of the House GOP leadership earlier this year.

In a recent op-ed page interview in The Wall Street Journal, Bachmann impressed Small Government Republicans with her views on economic policy.

But when it comes to social issues like abortion, a woman's right to have a decent life instead of raising her rapist's kid and gay marriage, Bachmann is a hugely Big Government Republican. 

Like Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and failed U.S. Senate candidates like Colorado's Ken Buck, Bachmann is trying to leverage and exploit her religious beliefs and use them to increase her political power. 

Bachmann is not a Small Government Republican. In fact, while she generously contributes to other Big Government Republican Congressional candidates, she reportedly doesn't contribute to moderate Republicans. If she can't support Small Government Republicans, how can she win the votes of independents who might otherwise support her against Obama?

Fundraising may be a challenge for Bachmann. She has been very successful in raising money for her Congressional campaigns. Her fundraising staff looks pretty good, she has a good following among social issues and Tea Party Republicans and she should do well when it comes to raising money online. But it takes more than online fundraising to finance a $750 million to $1 billion-plus presidential campaign. Big donors are key, and, to date, most big donors have been gravitating toward the front runner in the campaign, Mitt Romney. They also appear to be urging Perry to run.

How many big money donors will support an unpredictable, anti-establishment candidate from the House like Bachmann. I'm guessing that not many will, and certainly not enough to make her a strong candidate in the primaries or in a general election.

Yes, Bachmann has strong support from the Tea Party, whatever that is. But in 2008, tea partiers showed that they were political rookies who don't believe in working for or giving money to their candidates. So the Tea Party can't be expected to elect Bachmann, Palin or any of their other favorite candidates without strong support from establishment Big Government Republicans as well as Small Government Republicans and independents.

What Bachmann has going for her is the same thing that elected Obama. A lot of women will vote for her. A lot of conservative men seem to go gaga over Bachmann and Palin because they're smart, beautiful women. In other words, Bachmann will win the gullibles' votes. Others will vote for her because they think she can beat Obama, which I doubt. Bachmann is a Small Government Republican on economic issues. She has no foreign policy experience nor credentials. She will be demonized by the Left on social issues and because she's a conservative woman, which drives them crazy.

Most important for Bachmann is that she's not Obama. And that should favor any Republican in 2012.

LINKS:

First Thoughts: Five reasons to take Bachmann seriously.

Michele Bachman's record: Earmarks, farm subsidies and pardons? By Matt Lewis.

Bachmann Brain Trust Looks to 2012. By David M. Drucker.

Bachmann on abortion, budgets, foreign policy, etc.. Ontheissues.org.

Search the web for:

Bachmann fund raising

Bachmann Tea Party

Bachmann staff turnover

Bachmann abortion

Bachmann gay marriage

Bachmann earmarks

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 06/15/2011 at 09:36 AM

'12 President

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