With the announcement of her top aides leaving, it seems as if Michele Bachmann’s campaign has fallen down, and has no real opportunity to get back up.
Less than one month ago Bachmann was glowing from her win of the all but meaningless Ames Iowa Straw Poll. But, while the first line was about her winning the straw poll, the second was about her vulnerability. The Bachmann campaign faced a great deal of negative flack from pundits, whom were all (rightly) claiming that Perry’s entering the race would be disastrous for Bachmann. Both candidates share a base of supporters and Perry is a much better option for those voters. Sure enough, when Perry entered the race it quickly became apparent that the pundits were right, and Perry moved to the top of the pack. The Tea Party/ Religious Right had found its candidate.
Bachmann’s campaign manager, Ed Rollins, is a very savvy political operative and I am sure he knew that this race was over for Bachmann. He publicly cited his age and lack of energy to run a presidential race, but it became abundantly clear that the crew was abandoning the sinking ship when Deputy Manager David Polyansky also ran for the lifeboats.
The replacing of top aides has been a defining characteristic of the bottom tier of GOP primary candidates. Newt Gingrich was the first to lose people. He had virtually his entire staff resign at once, an event marking a the end of his viability as a candidate. Jon Huntsman replaced his campaign manager, Susan Wiles, in July. Earlier this month he replaced his New Hampshire Campaign Manager, Ethan Eilon. Each of these candidates now live in the lifeless dust bowl that is receiving less than 10% in polls. Everyone who has found themselves in this dire position loses credibility daily, as they generally try anything to breathe life back into their numbers. Huntsman in particular did this by claiming, without qualification, that he would win NH. This is despite the fact that polls have shown clear signs that Romney is set to take the state easily. In fact, all of them (including Bachmann) all find themselves below that of the GOP’s infamously unelectable black sheep, Ron Paul.
I never took the Bachmann campaign seriously. Her abilities and vital characteristics are not that of a president. In many ways, Bachman is only a couple steps away from Sarah Palin. She is attractive, good at riling up a crowd, and has a couple of good lines that ring true about herself. Her experience as a business owner, and her ability to genuinely personify that “modern Christian woman” that people seem to love, gives her a soapbox to stand on. But like Sarah Palin, she has unforgiving weaknesses. She lacks the substance that even George W. Bush had and Rick Perry certainly has. Her real legislative/ political victories are virtually non-existent. Furthermore, like Palin, she is infamous for making indefensible statements that demonstrate a lack of real knowledge of basic facts. For instance, her recent claim concerning brining down gas prices down to $2 a gallon made her appear either completely dishonest or naive. Her candidacy only really makes sense when you consider the effect that running for president had on Sarah Palin. Why would Bachmann not take advantage of the extra spotlight?
Bachmann may never be president, but should have a significant impact on the race by giving a strong endorsement.