Michele Bachmann is polling well, but can she win?....
Begin by reading this excellent MB profile from Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard. A Washington Times article lays out her political challenge, noting that the last House member to be elected President was James Garfield in 1880.
MB is, arguably, Sarah Palin on steroids, without certain minuses that make Palin no longer a plausible Presidential candidate.
Palin's liabilities seem irremediable. Her perpetual war with adversarial media is at odds with her idol Ronald Reagan's perpetual nice-guy attitude. The Gipper knew that American voters like sunny candidates. Palin's elder daughter is becoming a low-grade reality star, bound to make a family values campaign a very hard sell. And Palin apparently prefers to be adored by her fans, in celebrity fashion, than to woo those not already in her camp. She will remain a very influential political figure, but only in helping like-minded candidates and weighing in on selected public issues, as she did effectively with "death panels" during the health care debate.
But if Palin's Oprah-like celebrity deprives her of gravitas, Bachmann has gravitas in spades. Her family life includes raising five kids to adulthood, housing 23 foster children, working jobs while attending high school, college and post-graduate studies, working in a kibbutz in Israel in mine-infested areas, being a federal tax litigation attorney, with her husband running a mental health clinic and helping on the family farm. MB was born in Iowa, and has lived in Oklahoma, Virginia and Minnesota. She heads the House Tea Party Caucus, and has garnered extensive experience dealing with adversarial reporters and cable talk show hosts, a skill Palin did not have when she took center stage (and still lacks).
Having raised so many children, MB is immune to the "lacks compassion" attack liberals love to throw at conservatives. She has forensic debating skills as a lawyer accustomed to courtroom combat. And like Palin she can tap into a huge wellspring of grassroots support; MB raised nearly $14M for her 2010 re-election campaign, as she was a the top of the Democrat target list. Her kind of grassroots monetary access is what Tim Pawlenty can only envy.
Her major minus to date has been a penchant for over-the-top utterances, made when she was a cable TV fixture with no real thought of running for national office. But her poised performance in the recent GOP debate will help introduce her to the vast majority of Americans who do not cruise cable channels ISO politics 24/7. Also, she lacks managerial experience in running large organizations, which Palin, as a governor, did have. But running against a President manifestly over his head in trying to run the federal government makes this at worst a wash.
Bottom Line. Michele Bachmann is the real deal. Especially if she wins Iowa and Romney falters, she might win the nomination. If she runs well but loses, she is a serious prospect as VP candidate if everyone's favorite for the second slot, Florida's superstar freshman senator, Marco Rubio, passes.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics