The Bachman Odds
May 17, 2011 Leave a comment
I honestly think the inside-the-beltway types spend too much time with various Republican elites to realize just how amazingly anti-intellectual much of the Republican party has become. Here’s Dee Dee Myers writing about Michelle Bachman (in a longer piece about women presidential candidates):
Should she decide to run, it’s easy to imagine scenarios in which she could seriously affect the outcome.
What’s impossible to imagine is that she could be a serious candidate. She knows shockingly little about history and public policy.
Honestly, I don’t think knowing “shockingly little” about history and policy is much of a disadvantage among the Republican primary electorate. Still, its fun to catalog Bachman’s idiocy:
This is the woman who claimed that the Founding Fathers ended slavery and said in not one but two speeches that the Revolutionary War’s “shot heard round the world” at Concord and Lexington happened in New Hampshire. She insists that judges encourage kids to try homosexuality, gay marriage is the most important issue of the past 30 years and the Serve America Act, an effort to increase volunteer service, is a sinister plot to create “re-education camps.”
Myers’ quotes Mark Halperin at putting the Bachman odds at 1000 to 1. So does Chait, who makes the case that Halperin is underestimating her odds by at least a power of 10. It all depends on Mitch Daniels:
If no other establishmentarian Republican enters the race, then the field is fairly clear for Pawlenty. If he wins in Iowa, he can coast the rest of the way. If Bachmann wins in Iowa, the terrified party elites will probably rally to the side of the next most viable candidate, which will probably be him, assuming a second-place showing there. I assume that Pawlenty’s establishment support would probably (but not certainly) allow him to defeat Bachmann.
But, if Daniels enters the race, it would create a very strong chance for Bachmann to capture the nomination. It could split the potential establishment alternative should she win Iowa. And if Daniels rather than Pawlenty emerges as the choice of the party elite, then Bachmann has an opponent she could beat. Pawlenty is perfectly acceptable to the most conservative factions of the party, and could hold his own with the extreme-crazy wing while dominating among the less-extreme-crazy wing. Daniels might simply face implacable opposition from the extreme-crazy wing.
Certainly sounds plausible. I’d put her odds at 100 to 1 or better. In many ways, I think a Bachman nomination would be great for both parties. For the Democrats– you guarantee Obama a second term. For Republicans– they follow the wingnuts right off the cliff, and presumably come back a healthier and more rational party less in the image of Michelle Bachman and more in the image of David Frum.