Newsflash (a few days after the fact, of course): over the weekend, Michele Bachmann won Iowa’s straw poll (a fundamentally unimportant win, of course, but one that must be recognised).
And while America’s political sphere is giddy with both the worship and disparagement of our current flash-in-the-pan, temporarily-favourite uneducated (creationism – really?), ill-informed media-star, Michele Bachmann is a provisional force to be reckoned with.
But not for the reasons we think.
Michele Bachmann is f#ckng the Republican Party. That’s right: bending it over and making it hers.
Here’s how. And why.
I am NOT, for my very proud record (and against my traditional family’s wishes), a Republican (my education and understanding of finance and economics precludes me from being so). But, if I were (hope-against-hope, reason-against-reason), I’d be PISSED at Michele Bachmann.
Super pissed. And not just because she’d rather live in a world in which my gay friends killed themselves and I followed my first boyfriend’s wishes and settled down at 18 to bear me some babies.
No…I’d be pissed at Bachmann because…honestly…what the f#ck is she doing?
Michele Bachmann is not going to win the Republican primary.
She simply isn’t. And as much as I’d like to credit the “average” Republican voter’s turning against her to educated reason, at the end of the day, she’s too crazy and, frankly, too much of a woman to win the nomination (finally, misogyny working to the world’s benefit!).
So…what does her failure mean for the G.O.P.?
Rick Perry is the de-facto, and inevitable, winner of the Republican primary. He’s just right-wing –and male – enough to win the vote of the woman/minority/immigrant-hating middle class that’s come to define the Republican Party.
Despite Perry’s inevitability, however, here’s the issue: Michele Bachmann is going to make this a tough fight. Much like what Steve Forbes did to Bob Dole in ’96, Bachmann’s going to financially and emotionally drain Perry on the way to the general election. She’ll ultimately lose, but she’s going to cost the G.O.P. faithful millions of dollars and untold hours of stress, debates, and bad press.
Obviously (and hopefully) too extreme for the party, Bachmann is going to drag Perry through the electoral mud. And while I think Perry may (and disastrously for any free-thinking, informed American) have a real shot at winning the general, he will be a shell of a candidate once he takes on the brilliant and eloquent Obama.
So…while I love the idea of a woman giving the political world a real shot in the arm at the podium, Michele Bachmann is going to isolate and divide the Republican Party and its shot at the Presidency. And…(but for my open-mindedness and informed-view-of-the-world) if I voted Republican…well…I’d be pretty angry at her. As angry as, well, the average Republican is at the concept of socio-economic globalization.
But never let it be said I don’t, however, love watching a good fight. Especially from this side of the aisle.
Margaret Bogenrief is a Partner with ACM Partners, a boutique crisis management and distressed investing firm serving companies and municipalities in financial distress. She can be reached at [email protected]