Monday, February 28, 2005

Star power and a tough out 

The NARN fellows are fairly gushing after our visit Saturday with state senator Michele Bachmann. (One 'l' and two 'n's she says. I understand explaining how to spell one's name better than most, Mr. "Every-other-letter's-an-A".) A picture of us with her is up on Captain's Quarters, and related coverage is also on Shot in the Dark and Fraters Libertas.

There's no doubt she has charisma, and she is an easy interviewee that made the hour with her quite a pleasure to do. But I think the one thing she will have going for her is that, like the person she's replacing, she's been tested under fire. She knocked off a 28-year incumbent in the Republican primary in 2000, was redistricted and won re-election, and continues to attract more negative feedback from the left (as Mitch's post discussed) than even David Strom or Phil Krinkie, who are constantly knocked for the crime of not confiscating more of your money. I'm sure we'll have the dump Bachmann people post a link in our comments along with hit pieces in the major papers. I encourage you to visit their site and see what motivates her opponents. They give her, paradoxically, more credibility with the social conservative base of many suburban Republicans who were the backbone of Kennedy's election victories. On the show Saturday, she downplayed that part and emphasized her support for TABOR, the subject of a great editorial in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required, alas).

I am not proclaiming Bachmann the favorite, nor even my favorite just yet. She's definitely to the right of me on many social issues. But if you're going into a key battle for an open seat, it's hard to argue with choosing someone who has experience in battle, and someone who presents herself well in public. Bachmann has both those qualities; as we say in baseball, she's a tough out.