Bachmann 2012: Good for the Media, Bad for the GOP

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By Mike Murphy

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann is now threatening us with the idea of exploring a Presidential race, it was announced today. Well first, enough with the exploratory committees. They are a tired gimmick in Presidential races. Just admit you are running, or don’t run. As per a Michele Bachmann candidacy, this is good news for the media and bad news for the GOP. The press will be delighted, with a new gaff-prone carnival candidacy to snicker at. It is pure gold for the writers’ room at Saturday Night Live.

But for the Republican party? A headache, pure and simple. President Obama can be defeated in 2012, but it will not be easy and the election will not in any way be about the tiny sliver of voters that a Bachmann for President campaign would appeal to. Instead, the vital swing voters who will decide the 2012 election will look at Michele Bachmann on the campaign trail and howl like villagers getting their first torch-lit glimpse of Frankenstein’s monster. They will stampede quickly in the opposite direction, away from the GOP.

As I tweeted a few weeks ago, Michele Bachmann makes Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich. Luckily the Bachmann effect will be relatively small. Other more serious candidates will dominate the Republican primary process. But her candidacy will not be helpful to the larger Republican or conservative cause. I know it is a free country, Rep. Bachmann can certainly run for President if she wants to. But she is a sure-fire loser, both in the GOP nomination race and — should fearsome Martians invade the Earth and demand at ray-gun point that she be the Republican nominee — in a general election.

My guess is that she’ll get some real attention and potential a decent number of voters in the Iowa caucus, raise enough money through the mail and on the internet to have a basic campaign operation and steal some attention from the more serious candidates at the debates. The White House political staff will enjoy a few big belly laughs. That is about it. Her campaign, like Trump’s, is about ego and nothing else. There is no patriotism, of the Tea Party variety or any other, in that. There was a time in the Republican Party, before the chaos of the Internet, cable TV howlers and all the rest of the modern campaign circus when pragmatic political bosses would labor silently and effectively to prevent train wreck candidacies like Michele Bachmann from sprouting up and distracting attention from the very serious business of nominating the party’s Presidential candidate. No more, alas.

Murphy is a Republican political consultant.