Michele Bachmann: A Dean or an Obama?

If you asked her, she’d probably turn white with fury, refuse to answer the question and storm off in a huff.  But I’m not talking about political similarities.  I’m talking about who she’s more like relative to the base of the Republican party and which comparison is more apt, to Howard Dean and the Democrats in 2004, or President Obama and the Democrats in 2008.  Both men captured the imagination of the liberal base of the Democratic party amidst highly contested primary struggles.  Dean, the supposed front-runner, collapsed to the tune of a gleeful screech after a disappointing second place finish in the Iowa primaries in 2004, and turned out to be a flash in the pan.  He did manage to move the dialogue to the left, but all in all, his presence in the race had no lasting effect on the political discourse.  Obama, on the other hand, managed to pull out a victory through what was the most drawn out and bloody internecine party struggle the Democrats have witnessed since the 1960s.  Both men were walking wet dreams to the Democratic base, only one managed to triumph and one had as much impact as a fart in the wind.

So why do I bring up Bachmann?  Well, what was looking like a summer phenomenon is now looking more and more like she has some staying power in the race.  A month back, I thought she was just a new fresh face in the race, looking for her 15 minutes and engaging in the usual bit of shameless political self promotion, par for the course for any competent politician.  But her poll numbers are starting to solidify (particularly in Iowa, where she’s polling in a commanding first place), something that I wouldn’t have expected, but with more consideration, her standing makes a hell of a lot of sense.  She’s more refined than Palin, a far better public speaker and…well…I wish there were a more erudite way to put it, but she’s basically the thinking man’s Palin, if such a person exists.  She’s smarter than Palin, and she’s throwing out the red meat to the base in a way that Romney or any of the other nominees (except for former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), his problem is that people just think he’s creepy) is constitutionally incapable of.  She’s not of the establishment, she’s the very embodiment of the tea party movement.  As a result, the angry white conservative base that is the modern GOP absolutely adores the nutjob Congresswoman.

So what’s going to happen?  No clue.  But what I once would have once dismissed as a blip on the national media radar is no longer so dismissable.  Pay attention to this woman.  I doubt she’ll ever be President, but then again, people were saying the exact same thing about Barack Obama at this point four years ago.


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